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July 21, 2022

Dean Koontz, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Big Dark Sky


Today, marks a milestone in the history of this podcast; actually, it's two fold. First, I'm proud to introduce you to Year #2, aka Season 3, and Episode #78 of The Thriller Zone. Second, I am honored to welcome one of the genuine legends in the literary world, Mr. Dean Koontz.

I, like you, have been following him for decades, and have been amazed at his prolific output of one terrific suspense thriller after another. For nearly 6 decades, Dean has been crafting suspense novels that incorporate horror, fantasy, science fiction, and mystery, making him one of the most well-known, most prolific, and most highly regarded writers of this generation.

And the amazing thing? At 77, he shows absolutely no signs of slowing down. In fact, with a work ethic that plants him in a chair and behind a keyboard for 8 to 10 hours a day, six, and often seven days a week, Koontz is the quintessential example of the "hardest working writer" today.

This podcast not only marks our Second Year on the charts, but this episode marks one of the highlights of my interviewing career. And as you'll see in the show, I find myself "geeking out" just a little bit. But then, having admired his body of work from afar for as long as I've been alive, it's not a hard thing to imagine.

Please join me as we talk about Dean's "Magic Sauce" to crafting thrillers; listen as he shares stories that date back decades ago, to a time when writing thrillers was just beginning to gain particular traction; and take away some sage advice from a master who has spent his entire career perfecting his craft.

As he says early on, he was suffering a bit of laryngitis, so it may be a wee bit hard to hear him from time to time, but trust me when I say I've done pretty much everything in my power to craft and tweak the audio to the best of my ability. Special thanks to: Auphonics.com for their assistance.

Don't forget to stay until the end. Why? You get a chance to WIN a FREE copy of his latest thriller: The Big Dark Sky. Just follow the three easy steps, and we'll announce the winner shortly.

For more information visit: DeanKoontz.com and follow him on Twitter @deankoontz and Instagram @deankoontzofficial.

As always, THANK YOU for listening and supporting this podcast, and BIG THANKS to our new sponsor, Warwick's Bookstores; for great gifts, books and more info, visit: Warwicks.com, and to AuthorBytes.com, the company behind our websites.

FOLLOW US: TheThrillerZone.com & YouTube.com/TheThrillerZone and on both Twitter & Instagram @thethrillerzone

* * * * * 

Thank you for listening to The Thriller Zone. If you enjoyed it, please consider leaving a "5-Star" review by CLICKING HERE to leave it on this website, or write a review wherever you get your podcasts. It helps more than you know! - David 

Transcript

00:00:19:21 - 00:00:46:11

David

Hello and welcome to the Thriller Zone. I'm your host, David Temple. We are now into the third season of the thriller zone and I could not be happier. Why? Well, we started this, as you know, just over a year ago. The very first guest was May Khan. We have grown incrementally over the weeks and months to becoming one of the faster growing podcast in the world.

 

00:00:46:15 - 00:01:04:20

David

And I am so pleased with that. I'm so excited. You know why? This is my absolute first love. I love to write books. I love to read books. But boy, there is nothing like podcasting to me because it brings back the old feelings of being on the radio, which I wanted to do when I was probably ten years old.

 

00:01:04:20 - 00:01:27:00

David

And by the time I was 16, I had my very first radio show and went on to conquer quite a prolific career in radio. So coming back around 20 years later and starting a podcast, it is kind of a culmination of a dream come true. And on top of that, I get to interview some of the coolest, most talented people in the world.

 

00:01:27:00 - 00:01:58:13

David

And today is no different. Why? Dean Koontz is on the show today. Oh, yeah. I'm a little nervous. A guy who writes a prolific amount of work, and this particular book by Dean Koontz, The Big Dark Sky. This is a thriller. It's a suspense. It's intriguing. It's mystical. It's magical, scientific. Well, I'm not going to go into too much depth, but I'm going to tell you that big dark sky is amazing.

 

00:01:58:14 - 00:02:18:18

David

And guess what? You get a chance to win a copy. You see, you're over the shoulder. Yeah. Behind me. I got three copies that I would love to give to a loyal, faithful, happy listener. And at the end of the show, I'm going to tell you exactly how you can win a hard copy cover of a big dark.

 

00:02:19:18 - 00:02:37:18

David

You got to stick around for the end of the show. And I can tell you, this is among the top, top favorite shows that I've had yet. Okay, there there's my geek staple. Pretty amazing guy who's as delightful as they come. Please welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the thriller zone. Dean Koontz.

 

00:02:39:05 - 00:02:39:18

Dean

Hello.

 

00:02:40:00 - 00:02:41:01

David

Good morning.

 

00:02:42:03 - 00:02:43:01

Dean

How are you today?

 

00:02:43:08 - 00:02:46:00

David

I'm so good, Dean. How are you, sir?

 

00:02:46:11 - 00:02:51:18

Dean

Well, I have a little laryngitis, but I think I'll get through this.

 

00:02:52:03 - 00:03:09:10

David

Well, we're both suffering something. I 15 minutes ago, I got a phone call from my wife who was out taking an early morning run, and she took a wicked fall. So I'm like, I'll be right there. And I got her home, and she's all bandaged up, and I'm like, I got to get on a call.

 

00:03:10:22 - 00:03:15:00

Dean

Okay. Well, the wife comes first, certainly ahead of me.

 

00:03:15:09 - 00:03:24:12

David

That is that is true. And I'll tell you what that that makes me think. Is it 47, 48? How many years you've been with Gerda?

 

00:03:25:11 - 00:03:34:02

Dean

We've been married 56 years in October? Yeah, in California. That's unheard of.

 

00:03:34:15 - 00:03:37:06

David

That's. That's up in miracle territory, right?

 

00:03:37:17 - 00:03:44:22

Dean

Yes. Especially considering that she's married me. It's miraculous that she stayed connected, so.

 

00:03:45:22 - 00:03:57:11

David

Yeah, but if. If what I've read is true, you. You guys are young sweethearts. I think I saw a photograph or a video where you met in grade school.

 

00:03:58:05 - 00:04:23:12

Dean

Well, it was actually before that I was probably four and she was probably three. And I didn't know this when I asked her to marry me, which was when I was in college and she was a senior and my mother told me, Oh, you met many years ago for a very small and she had a picture from this birthday party.

 

00:04:23:12 - 00:04:43:14

Dean

And it just so happens that among the 20 some kids around this big table standing and sitting, Sharon and I are sitting directly across from each other. And I often say when I show that photo, we that's me sitting there with a big smile on my face because I see my future as her with a frown on their face.

 

00:04:43:18 - 00:04:46:16

Dean

She sees her.

 

00:04:48:03 - 00:05:07:02

David

That's funny. But listen, longevity, like you said, it's a miracle. It's a miracle anywhere these days. But, you know, California for some reason just. All right. Well, we are we're this is a sincere pleasure. Thank you so much for being on the Thriller Zone podcast. I appreciate it.

 

00:05:07:13 - 00:05:09:19

Dean

Well, I hope I'm coherent. Let's see.

 

00:05:11:10 - 00:05:22:18

David

We'll do our best. I do want to tell you front, first of all, I am going to try my best not to appear as a supreme geek, although I cannot promise you that's not going to happen.

 

00:05:23:12 - 00:05:26:00

Dean

Okay, well, I'll still myself.

 

00:05:27:21 - 00:05:47:24

David

Now. Quick quick note on the behind you that because I love again I think it was this saying I think it was a CBS Morning special and I got to see a stock. I mean, see your office where you have all your books lined up in your desk. And, you know, because I'm an author myself and I was geeking out on this.

 

00:05:48:09 - 00:05:51:12

David

This background looks like a different one than that.

 

00:05:51:21 - 00:06:18:24

Dean

Yes, we are. We we're building another house. And we weren't going to sell the one that was in that was an interview mentioning until we finished building. But then we had an offer we couldn't refuse. It involved no horses and we took it and then we needed an interim house. So here we are in the interim house. And this is my assistant's office, which it turns out to work pretty well.

 

00:06:19:11 - 00:06:28:17

Dean

The books are real, but they're not in a card book. Yeah, we actually don't have enough room for all books, so we never have to fake them with a fake background.

 

00:06:28:22 - 00:06:47:24

David

Yeah. Now, referring to that same house, that was a spectacular home and it's I want to say Newport, Newport Beach, Laguna area, up in just the most beautiful area of that whole town. Are you going to be able to stay in the same neighborhood? Are you?

 

00:06:48:18 - 00:07:17:22

Dean

We moved to the community right next door, which is Irvine. And to that little community that's it's more rustic. It's not out there all. It's a new community. It's about 50 years old, I guess something. But the houses are actually a pretty good rendition of Tuscan. That's the building standards, although the one we're working on has some art deco flair about it.

 

00:07:18:18 - 00:07:41:07

Dean

So it's it's a lot more out there. We have deer in the streets. We had coyotes and that that's kind of interesting. We're 10 to 15 minutes from the other house going from Newport Beach to here in the streets, which is very there's places in the world that California where these opposites collide. Everyone, look.

 

00:07:41:20 - 00:08:04:11

David

That is crazy. We were just wife and I were just up in Lake Tahoe this weekend and black bears were everywhere. And they were almost they were we'd spot them every once in a while. And it was almost as commonplace as tourists. And I was like, All right, how weird is this to go from San Diego to, you know, bears and beers and coyotes?

 

00:08:04:11 - 00:08:12:03

Dean

It'll get really weird point. You go into the casino, you see a player playing blackjack and, you know, it's gotten really.

 

00:08:12:21 - 00:08:15:13

David

And if he's singing Elvis songs, then I'm really going to be.

 

00:08:15:13 - 00:08:19:12

Dean

Perplexed. And he almost sure.

 

00:08:19:12 - 00:08:36:09

David

All right. Well, we're going to be talking about this beautiful book, The Big Dark Sky, with Dean Koontz here in just a couple of minutes. But I do want to for those who may have been living in a cave or under a rock somewhere, I want to talk a little bit about you if you'll bear with me. I do want to say it is wicked awesome.

 

00:08:36:09 - 00:08:55:18

David

But, you know, I can't imagine anyone not knowing who you are. But I'll say that in if some of these numbers are going to be a little bit off, and I'm sure about by the time we get through this podcast, it will have already changed again. But something like no less than 79 New York Times bestsellers, 14 of which were number one.

 

00:08:56:09 - 00:09:13:06

David

And when you get into 38 languages and approach more than half a million copies urine urine in echelon dean that I, I while I've never spoken to anyone in that category before. But what has that been like, this career of yours? Amazing.

 

00:09:14:00 - 00:09:15:15

Dean

Well, I've correct one error.

 

00:09:15:21 - 00:09:16:04

David

Okay?

 

00:09:16:05 - 00:09:21:05

Dean

It's not half of million copies. It's half a billion copies. It's 500 million.

 

00:09:21:12 - 00:09:23:09

David

I'm an idiot. Thank you so much. Yeah.

 

00:09:23:19 - 00:09:47:03

Dean

Well, we're all idiots, and that's what it's. So that's what's wrong with that. First of all, the diversity that's coming. No, no. When I was beginning and I've sold a couple of paperbacks and some shorts story, so my wife said, I know you want to be a writer of a t shirts, so I'll support your for five years if can never make it.

 

00:09:47:11 - 00:10:09:17

Dean

We sat down and discussed how much I have to earn to make this a viable career, and we decided if I could just give $25,000 a year. This was many years ago. It was more money than that now. It wasn't a lot then with her job in mind, we could we can do this. We never sell it. And then slowly we did.

 

00:10:10:17 - 00:10:42:17

Dean

Long before my publisher saw it coming. I saw it coming in the mail volume that started rising. I saw it coming and where we got reviewed and how much money tastic asked for. And it was interesting to me that so many publishers I had worked with never saw it coming even as it was happening, and I was able to buy back many of their books I wrote where acquire that back for no cost, just they said they are, you know, that has no value.

 

00:10:43:09 - 00:11:09:09

Dean

And later those books went on to sell it means of copy. It's in paperback. So yeah, it took us a while to figure out that this could never happen. I had it happen. It's. It's been amazing. I look back on it, so grateful for it, and I can't imagine how it grew to what it grew to. But I'm not going to second guess it right.

 

00:11:09:18 - 00:11:20:11

Dean

And I'm still doing it at my age, you know, 246 I feel. So I'm still still working at that. I don't make time to quit. I felt that.

 

00:11:21:05 - 00:11:39:00

David

Now I was going to bring this up later, but I'll bring it up now, since you brought it, you have one of the most intense work ethics of anyone that I've heard. And are you still doing? You were this story I was reading you clocked somewhere around 10 hours a day and I think I heard six days a week.

 

00:11:39:00 - 00:11:42:07

David

You certainly don't still go at it that hard, do you?

 

00:11:42:15 - 00:12:12:05

Dean

Absolutely. I did. And that there's right now at seven days a week, because I'm into a book that is really gripping me and it started out as being just a book I really wanted to write. And now I'm thinking maybe this is a trend trilogy. Somebody who's 246 years old should not be thinking about a trilogy. Clock is ticking, but it's now suddenly in my head that might happen.

 

00:12:12:24 - 00:12:39:09

Dean

People say, Well, you have no time to do anything else. Yes, I sleep about 6 hours a day and that leaves, you know, 8 hours a day for anything else I want to do. It's hard, right, writing where you are always setting a higher hour for yourself, but on the other side you love it. It's also like play and very few people get to earn a living doing something they consider to be play.

 

00:12:39:18 - 00:12:41:14

Dean

So you have to have some gratitude.

 

00:12:42:00 - 00:13:11:10

David

Sure. And that's what I find so fascinating, Dean, is you have never and I went back through the whole list and I'm like, you've never run out of ideas. You've never repeated yourself. And I was at an event a couple of weeks ago, a thriller fest up in New York City. And I was talking to a buddy of mine and I said, you know, people always a lot of interviewers will use that cliche line that I promised myself I would never use, and I'm not going to use it here.

 

00:13:11:10 - 00:13:34:14

David

But it's like, how where do you get your ideas? And I'm thinking, it's one of the most ridiculous questions ever, because we're we're we're writers. We we create things out of the out of the air. Of course, it's just news or watching life. But to be able to have this prolific of a career and not repeat yourself into always keep it fresh is just that's when you know two things.

 

00:13:34:22 - 00:13:41:02

David

It's true blue, amazing talent and it's pure true blue passion.

 

00:13:42:15 - 00:14:09:09

Dean

It is it's the it's the passion is the part that I often think that if you have the passion for it and the work ethic, the talent is there's got to be some. But it doesn't have to be overwhelming because persistence and passion make up for a lot of shortcoming. Otherwise, I used to say sometimes when I could get smartass answers to where you get your ideas.

 

00:14:09:18 - 00:14:34:00

Dean

For a while I said, There's this little shop in Paris. Want you to where you can buy a lot of ideas that are amazing. But then I sort of gave that up. And because nobody believes everyone, it is. It just doesn't seem like and this is true, the imagination, it's like a muscle. The more you use it, the more it delivers to you.

 

00:14:34:13 - 00:14:57:16

Dean

And that is what I think. It's because I never relented and I'm always moving on to something else. There are always new ideas. I've had moments free thought, especially as I got older and I thought, Hmm, I think I'm beginning to run out. And it's funny because that panic sets in and you're finishing a book and you don't know what you're going to do next.

 

00:14:57:16 - 00:15:19:14

Dean

And if then you see the book and there's the new mirror, or sometimes here's two or three and you've got to choose between it and your subconscious was holding it all in, I think, because you had to focus on what was vanishing. And then as soon as you do, oh, there's the new stuff, but you've always got to be filling your mind, have interest in the world and all everything that's going on.

 

00:15:20:07 - 00:15:32:16

Dean

And that's where the ideas come from that you're reading the paper and say, Oh, that would make a great novel. It doesn't quite work that way, right? Yes. Feed the subconscious and something down there starts putting bits together.

 

00:15:32:19 - 00:15:50:05

David

That's a really very to me, it's like a soup, you know, sometimes I was a bachelor a long time before I got married, which was late in life, and I was on many of those nights I would just throw, Oh, let's see what I've got. And I'd throw it in the in the pot and it would just simmer and eventually, amazingly, it would be delicious.

 

00:15:50:17 - 00:16:11:13

David

And it's kind of like that. I have to believe it's the same with you. I mean, you've you have an idea and you go, let me just put it on the back burner for a second or a week or a month. And then all of a sudden you're over here and to your point of the subconscious, your subconscious will do that work behind the behind the scenes wanted.

 

00:16:11:13 - 00:16:15:01

David

Then it'll just grab that thing and go, Oh, now I got a connection.

 

00:16:15:22 - 00:16:39:02

Dean

Yeah, it's, it's something you, you have to consciously manage it once you begin to cry. But by the time you've got the idea for what the book is likely to be about, which for me is a premise, not an entire plot, I don't plot ahead of time. It's a premise, an idea, a character or two that I think I'm going to enjoy writing.

 

00:16:40:02 - 00:17:04:02

Dean

One of them will be the lead. One will probably be the antagonist, where he'll be two great leads and obviously trapping antagonist. But that's all I need. Plus, what is the book about? Other story? What is it say about that? I don't like to put it this way. It sounds to what about the human condition? Is this book find interesting?

 

00:17:04:23 - 00:17:29:22

Dean

That's all I need to get going. And then you've put all this together in a way, in the subconscious, but then you start to write, you know, you've got to bring the conscious mind into it and you've got to figure out, okay, this go. And that is that. That's the scary part. The exhilarating part. Because it all often goes when you don't plot ahead, as I do, it often goes places you've never imagined.

 

00:17:29:22 - 00:17:40:15

Dean

And that's and that becomes very exciting because it means you fall on your face where you could succeed in a way you didn't anticipate. And that's interesting.

 

00:17:41:12 - 00:18:04:00

David

Okay. Now that that blows my mind, although I do have a note to mention later about the plot or pants or whether you like those terms or not. Some people love to do exhaustive outlines like Jeffrey Deaver. I think we've share that same insight and others like to just sit down and go with it. So are you telling me that you'd literally go, okay, it's a big, dark sky.

 

00:18:04:00 - 00:18:13:08

David

It's about this thing that's happening here. And there's this person here I really want to talk about. And then you just go from there, literally for those 400 plus pages.

 

00:18:14:03 - 00:18:44:07

Dean

Absolute. I think it's by the way, I'm I'm not I'm I'm not a plotter and I always wear pants. So I don't know if the term pants is. So I'm not sure that fits me. But yeah, the first book I ever did that with was the first book I had that became a hardcover bestseller. It's a novel called Strangers, and it had a large cast characters.

 

00:18:44:07 - 00:19:11:19

Dean

It was the manuscript was well over a quarter of the court's 900 and some manuscript packages. And I just began this concept and the first couple of characters and let it evolve. And I had more fun with that than I ever had previously. And as I said, it was the first hardcover bestseller. And after that I thought, Wow, this works.

 

00:19:11:20 - 00:19:32:03

Dean

Why go back to the other one of the problems I always ran into when I plot it and in those days, because I was a solid, minimalist writer at that time, I could sell a book based on that one. So I would do an outline of ten pages, send it, and they buy the book, they pay me half, I write the book, I get the other half.

 

00:19:33:09 - 00:19:59:24

Dean

And the problem that was driving me insane was I would never fully follow the outline and start. Then the novel would go somewhere better and I delivered it. And though it had gone somewhere better, the editor and publisher would say, This isn't the book, and it would get hung up on what it was rather than what. And finally, in frustration, that's why I stopped writing headlines.

 

00:20:00:00 - 00:20:15:13

Dean

Or you can see more of that. I can't even tell a publisher what books about in advance of delivering the manuscript. They just have confidence that it'll probably work. Right. And that's and so part of this.

 

00:20:16:09 - 00:20:41:19

David

Well and you have had the track record that lot that would allow that to happen. This would not have happened a dozen years before that. But the thing about strangers and I had this is a note later, what do you suppose was the magic about that part A and part B is if you had started out with that long of a book, we all know that a publisher would probably go, Okay, Dean, this is like way too long.

 

00:20:41:19 - 00:20:43:10

David

You've got to cut this thing down.

 

00:20:44:09 - 00:21:12:03

Dean

So that's exactly what that strangers had. That gave me the idea. The publisher came back. She was also a bunch and she said, I'm going to assign you a literary quality. The Prime Minister deserves it. Now, I knew this person. I think she was a very bright publisher, but she did one kind of thing and it was those writers who write pretty much the same book again.

 

00:21:12:06 - 00:21:40:19

Dean

Yeah, sometimes I love those writers. Dick Francis was one of them, but I knew as soon as she was going to bring in an editor, she was she was thinking, okay, I can't handle him. He won't listen to what I'm telling you. So somebody else has to edit. And she gave him the task of getting this 900, I think it was 940 page manuscript down to no more than 600 pages.

 

00:21:42:04 - 00:22:09:06

Dean

And I couldn't see how to how to do anything about it. And he was a wonderful editor is very sweet, man. It comes from fight. She had hired him as I think, to come and do certain books and he kept the manuscript script for six weeks. He told me he was going to show me how to cut 300 pages minimum, so he kept it for six weeks.

 

00:22:09:06 - 00:22:38:17

Dean

And when he sent it to me, it came with a note said, There, you'll see what I've read lines for cutting. I have read like that ten pages worth of cuts. Now you just apply my technique and find the other 200 and he was joking. But you didn't did never know. And so I called him and said, this is a joke, right?

 

00:22:38:17 - 00:23:04:12

Dean

You can't find that cut. And he said, no. He said, you know, we're very disappointed and he was serious about it, which itself is very funny. He says this book has so many characters with so many deep stories to each of them that what we were hoping is we could just cut out three of these characters and that would bring the book down 300 pages.

 

00:23:04:24 - 00:23:22:23

Dean

But we realized that if you cut any one of these characters, the entire novel falls apart. And I said, Well, in the future, I will always write three characters that we can rip out with no effect on. But it struck me as so strange that they would think that was even possible.

 

00:23:22:23 - 00:23:30:12

David

But yeah, yeah, yeah. Like Jenga. Like you could pull out this and this piece over here and it wouldn't affect the whole thing.

 

00:23:30:12 - 00:23:32:10

Dean

Full power would still say, Yeah.

 

00:23:33:04 - 00:23:56:13

David

That is crazy. It's on your website and it's a couple of other places that you won Atlantic Monthly fiction competition back as a senior in college, and that you've never stopped writing since, which in and of itself is pretty amazing. But my question is, did you did you say to yourself when you won that award, yep. You know what?

 

00:23:56:15 - 00:24:06:17

David

This right here is exactly what I'm going to do with my life. I mean, was it that in that much of resounding confidence in you at that moment?

 

00:24:06:21 - 00:24:42:01

Dean

I worked on the campus literary magazine, or so it was called, and I got this story it appeared in and had been written for another professor in short story class. I didn't submit it. The woman who was in charge of the literary magazine submitted it without my knowledge. So when it won, this was at a small college in Pennsylvania in the state college system and professors and submitting stuff to this competition.

 

00:24:42:01 - 00:25:06:21

Dean

For decades, nobody ever won anything. So all that mattered to me for a while was that when I got this award, which I had even submitted for, I suddenly went from the slacker nobody here in college to a guy who couldn't do wrong in any of his English classes. I got I got A's whether I worked or not.

 

00:25:06:21 - 00:25:30:13

Dean

And I thought, this is perfect because I was basically a slacker, the educational system. So being able to get is simply for some story. And that was fun. It struck me. I think it took me a little while to think from the first thing I thought was while you can do this and people would be fooled into thinking that has value.

 

00:25:30:24 - 00:26:02:13

Dean

And then there was no money associated with this award. It was a certificate and they published a little booklet, this story in it. And then it was a magazine, I think it was called Readers or Writers and that I submitted that to readers and writers on my own and they bought it. And all this paper to date, which doesn't sound much, but when you're a senior in college and paperbacks in those days were anywhere from 45 to $0.60, I could buy a smooth paper with $50.

 

00:26:02:13 - 00:26:31:02

Dean

So it was a big deal for me. Yeah. And it was then that I started to think, huh I, I was so slow about some things I hadn't realized. You could actually make a living as a writer. I thought it's something somebody did while they taught in college or or on some stipend that somebody was paying. And when I realized, you know, there's people who do this for a living, I think that then sort of retroactively to the award, it was, okay, maybe I'd like to do this.

 

00:26:31:02 - 00:26:33:02

Dean

And that's when I started to find stuff.

 

00:26:34:14 - 00:26:59:09

David

That's just I love that, you know, and I mentioned this a second ago, we were talking about your work ethic and the amount of hours that you write. And I was going to I'd love to know in your spare time if you have any, you have very little spare time. Is there someone that you read that you really enjoy, that you this may be completely different or even nonfiction from what you ordinarily or.

 

00:26:59:10 - 00:27:43:01

Dean

A lot of books I've been writing require a lot of research. So a lot of pleasure. Reading isn't nonfiction because it's also work research, but and lately I've been going back to read people that I loved when I was in my twenties and thirties, which is 210 years ago or so. And and I wanted to see whether it's those people who really inspired me still I still felt that way about the stuff about, you know, field or Jeopardy that that's because some writers like John McDonald, Norman said that's on me.

 

00:27:43:19 - 00:28:13:20

Dean

John McDonnell taught me that you could stop the action of for several pages and do character backgrounds. So interesting that the reader was compelled to move it just as it was in the next thing. And that I when I first discovered John MacDonald, I read 34, 33 novels in 32 days. I think it was I did nothing else but big John McDonnell in sleep and that had a profound effect on me.

 

00:28:13:20 - 00:28:37:23

Dean

And I went back to Ray Bradbury at a number of writers. So that had a lot of effect on the and I've been reading them and I have found two or one. They still resonate with me and that's very heartening. There's a few others I've looked at that sort of thing lately. I haven't gone on to a lot of new stuff.

 

00:28:38:05 - 00:28:41:09

Dean

I keep piling up on nightstand. I will get to it.

 

00:28:42:21 - 00:28:56:12

David

I bet it's quite a stack. And I was going to ask if you're too much of a gentleman to throw anybody under the bus. I have to know that about you. But have you read have you run across someone that you go, Oh, I used to read them, and then you go back and you read it and they're still writing in.

 

00:28:56:12 - 00:29:03:07

David

You go, Wow, you, you're phoning it in or you're, you know, you're repeating yourself or anything like that.

 

00:29:03:23 - 00:29:32:10

Dean

Yeah, there have been a couple of books. I again, I won't mention names even though one of us passed away who was a writer about is his name that I adored. I was buying these hardcovers when I couldn't afford hardcovers and one hardcover for 95, and he was just unique and he didn't hit big time until he was in his fifties.

 

00:29:32:16 - 00:29:59:19

Dean

And it must have been very frustrating as well that he wrote a lot of excellent novels and a couple of different genres, and suddenly all the literati found it and he began to get praise through word of mouth, and he was everybody's star. And I notice that first thing, and I was so happy for the second grade. Finally, people are noticing.

 

00:30:00:24 - 00:30:31:11

Dean

And then after a while I began to notice they weren't praising the complete panoply of qualities in his novels. They were focused on like two of five great things he did. And I'm just picking those numbers that I should write. And then I noticed as the years went by, his work began to change, and what he was doing was focusing on those things that got all the praise and letting those other qualities sort of against the background.

 

00:30:31:21 - 00:31:03:11

Dean

And ultimately I found the later work readable and that to me was quite a lesson. I thought, you always have to stay true to what you think you're doing and don't let anyone else tell you what you're doing or and certainly don't like praise overwhelming because it's I tell young writers who get upset when they get a really nasty review and they're in the doldrums thinking about a strict new line and that sort of thing.

 

00:31:03:11 - 00:31:25:01

Dean

And I just said, I got it. You can't pay attention to either praise or damnation because either one is likely to be wrongheaded. You have to think, well, fine quality and just say to the others, Oh yeah, every month deserves or and even a day gets like you have to tell.

 

00:31:27:18 - 00:31:48:15

David

You all day. And it also makes me think about people who have this idea about writing to market. Oh, hey, listen, this is really cool right now, so I'm going to write for that. Well, what happens when you spend six, nine, 12, 15 months writing to that and all of a sudden, like everyone's attention span, the tide shifts and you're left out on the other side.

 

00:31:49:05 - 00:32:12:00

Dean

That's the other mistake I've always said. Don't scope the muck that go out there and look around for what everybody wants and then write it. What is it that makes you want to be a writer? What is it as a reader that excites you? That's what you should be writing and even if the market for it's minuscule by the at some point you don't change.

 

00:32:12:07 - 00:32:33:23

Dean

And if you're doing the work at the highest level of the can, you might be one of those writers who changes the market. And it's your market that's the only one that's lasting. Going out, writing zombie novels work for some people for a while because there were hundreds of solving problems. But most of those writers, you can't find them for that.

 

00:32:33:24 - 00:32:38:16

Dean

And there's a parallel in writing to what the market thinks it wants. Yeah.

 

00:32:39:20 - 00:32:58:19

David

And here's another one of those questions. And if it is a cliche, I want you to reach through the camera and just slap me in the face. But I'm going to ask it anyway, because I'm curious. You're one of those few authors that I've followed that had a bevy of pen names, and I wanted to ask, what? Why did you choose that?

 

00:32:58:24 - 00:33:06:02

David

And what may be the pros and cons of that? So again, if it is one of those, where do you get your ideas? Feel free to just go bam.

 

00:33:07:00 - 00:33:38:07

Dean

No. Or I to of course I unless you're bigger than me, know you're sick. But I fear that that would happen only because I had agents early on that were they followed that idea that publishers sold to them. If a writer wrote this and plenty of it and yes, to keep writing that very much the same kind of thing over and over.

 

00:33:38:16 - 00:34:06:07

Dean

Well, even from the earliest age, once I left the science fiction film, I wasn't doing that. And it led to a lot of frustration with agents. My first thought was a crook. My second one is a great guy and an honest man, but I kept giving him outlines for novels. Can you sell this? And he kept bouncing back to he would sell some things, but he would say, You're trying to break out to the large objects.

 

00:34:06:18 - 00:34:29:24

Dean

You'll never do that. You're going to be for all your life, a very successful ghostwriter. But your vocabulary is too big, your ideas are too complex, blah, blah, blah. For you to be a best seller. And I finally had to say, I love you as a human being, but I'm 27 years old. I can't say this is the rest of my life.

 

00:34:29:24 - 00:34:54:01

Dean

So it's I. And then when I was writing, it's different. The idea was, well, you can't publishers, agents alike would say, okay, you can't publish something. Your name as this isn't what people expect from you. And I bought into that for a while. I would create a pen name for that kind of book. Sometimes it turned out to be one book, other times two or three anymore.

 

00:34:54:01 - 00:35:24:03

Dean

In the case of Nicholas, I think it was five. Finally, as my novels started to settle on, my wife and I've managed to buy back or otherwise require almost all of those novels and that. And as it turned out, when I republished many of them, number nine name that were just as popular with the readers and that was that editor gave me back five novels when I offered to pay to get them back, which I had done in that case.

 

00:35:24:06 - 00:35:50:09

Dean

So I said, No, no, you can just have these. They aren't worth anything anyway. It is sort of a smart complex and that took them back. And the very first one, two years later, that issue went to number one in our Times paper and in the first year or so to my paperback. So all of that IP intellectual property and that.

 

00:35:50:09 - 00:36:00:03

Dean

But it was being spread out through all these terms. Yes. Simply because nobody could conceive that one audience would like all these different approaches.

 

00:36:00:03 - 00:36:22:02

David

And that is such an excellent point. And I've always thought back to the same line of thinking, Oh, where do you get your ideas? But that's what it's what a writer does. So, you know, there's this thinking that, Oh, well, you can't write suspense and thriller and sci fi. I mean, you know, your your readers are going to get confused.

 

00:36:22:02 - 00:36:46:03

David

I'm like said who? Now I understand if you're writing a systematic series, it's John Smith and he's and you've got 12 books and those readers only want to read Dean Koontz. John Smith. Okay, I get that. However, your imagination is so broad and so monumental that you're it would be ridiculous to try to put you into a box.

 

00:36:46:03 - 00:36:49:14

David

I mean, that's to me, that's just bad thinking.

 

00:36:49:14 - 00:37:18:23

Dean

Well, it's it's bad thinking that dealt with for a long time. It's I yeah, I remember when I delivered the first Thomas, my publisher at that time, hated it so much he wouldn't talk to me about it and conveyed through my editor that this was a disaster that's going to ruin that career. And I'd heard this before, so I didn't take a thought too much.

 

00:37:18:23 - 00:37:50:06

Dean

And then when booksellers started responding to the book and ordering it in greater volume and the early reviews came out, and I think we had 120 or 30 revelations at that only they too were bad when all that started happening. It was he was so upset with me in that book and I had one more book and he said, All I want from you is really scary about I don't want this character like this.

 

00:37:50:06 - 00:38:22:05

Dean

I don't want this, you know? So I thought, okay, I'm going to have changed publishers. I want more novels. So I wrote a very scary novel just to conclude the contract. Meanwhile, Thomas was publishing very successfully and went through probably 18 printings or something and and then he came to me and said, Listen, if we do the new contract, I'll never again tell you what to write.

 

00:38:22:05 - 00:38:44:22

Dean

And I thought, okay, that's the mission for something. But there are all these other moments that right after where I wasn't told what to write, but I was it was conveyed something I had that there was a little bit of that disappointment and that you just have the role that I would have never had had I had stayed writing the same thing.

 

00:38:45:02 - 00:38:45:11

Dean

Yeah.

 

00:38:46:12 - 00:39:08:02

David

Wow. Good for you. I've watched this video over the weekend. For some reason. I went down as I was reading about you and I was and I just went down this rabbit hole and I ran across Donald Westlake, who I've always admired, and that he was talking about his character, Richard Stark. And then he said that Richard Stark ended up selling more books.

 

00:39:08:02 - 00:39:18:11

David

Then Tunnell was like. And he said, I was so angry at Richard Stark as he was selling more books than me. When I realized, Oh, I created that guy.

 

00:39:18:11 - 00:39:51:10

Dean

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. And a number of different pseudonyms. And yeah, I think he was guided by that same advice that Richard stark novels that were with Parker, his character, were just too hardboiled to satisfy Westlake readers. The larger they always expect that woman to be in the novel and that in the end, ultimately, everybody knew that Richard Stark was Donald Westlake and nobody cared.

 

00:39:51:10 - 00:40:05:14

Dean

But I read them both, although I'm not surprised that more people read the stark books that read Westlake. Yeah, but he was. He was a singular talent, a fascinating writer. Yeah.

 

00:40:05:24 - 00:40:19:16

David

Just few like him. Let's take a short break. And when we come back, we'll dig into the Big Dark Sky, a book Kirkus Reviews calls a nonstop actioner with cosmic overtones. Stay with us.

 

00:40:20:21 - 00:40:29:20

Dean

Hi, everyone. I'm Jim Pants, author of the book Dark Side. And you're listening to the thrillers of Nathan Temple.

 

00:40:29:20 - 00:40:36:13

Speaker 3

Your favorite authors, dark thrillers on.

 

00:40:38:03 - 00:41:01:15

David

Let's Get to the Big Dark Sky, which everyone who watches and listens to this show knows how much I love covers and I love this cover. It's one of those just it just grabs you at the beginning and it doesn't let go. And Dean, I don't always do this. I wonder, and I'm trying to be really respectful and get in and out because I know you're busy, man, but I can I read just one tiny little excerpt for my listeners.

 

00:41:01:19 - 00:41:04:15

Dean

Sure. And this great voice. So true.

 

00:41:04:22 - 00:41:39:23

David

But it's just I go through and I highlight things that I really, really like and then I'll go back and reread them and I'll just chew on them like a sandwich. And this is one of those after a week when the dreams failed to relent, animals began to populate them. Great flocks of rock doves winging through the conifers and the last orange light of day, a herd elk and circling her as she proceeded with them through a misty dusk, frequently a pack of lantern eyed coyotes swarmed around her, under a polished purple moon.

 

00:41:40:07 - 00:42:08:03

David

And though the mood was ominous, the threat she sense did not come from those creatures, but from something unknown. In the starlight currents of the deep cool night. That's one of those I mean, that is so friggin beautiful and scary and intriguing. And that's what this book does. It it pulls you in and it puts its arm around you.

 

00:42:08:03 - 00:42:18:04

David

Then it scares the hell out of you. And then it I loved it. Thank you so much for letting me read this.

 

00:42:18:04 - 00:42:44:03

Dean

It's in all the years ago, I fell in love with the English language. And part of what I love about writing is don't slow the story down necessarily, but give things a chance to breathe. Give us some description of the success of one of the most common things I get in reader mail is that they'll say, When I'm reading your books, it's like I'm watching a movie.

 

00:42:44:03 - 00:43:12:03

Dean

I see everything in my head and that only comes, you know, I love Ernest Hemingway, but Hemingway gave up all those writer's tools in order to pare it down to the essence of what basically the themes are. And I say, That's fine, that's good. I love that kind of writing. But you're also you're also spending most of the things in your toolbox, and there's no reason you should.

 

00:43:12:03 - 00:43:28:02

Dean

That isn't the only way to write. So it's what keeps me going. Those different figures of speech, those different descriptions. And the longer you write more books, your father used to come up with a unique voice. But it's also part of the challenge that makes the writing fun.

 

00:43:29:05 - 00:44:00:00

David

Well, and you mentioned this earlier in the conversation. You know, you can have the story moving forward at a pretty good clip. And if you stop and you give a little backstory as to a character or take a moment to describe the evening like this, I personally could have gone down that little rabbit hole for quite some time, but just because it was so eloquent and I got to admit, and I've got a pretty good education and me talk pretty sometimes, but I got to tell you, I had to pull out a dictionary on once or twice.

 

00:44:00:00 - 00:44:07:05

David

Okay. Five times, but seven. Okay. I'm only nine, but that's all I'm going to admit.

 

00:44:07:16 - 00:44:11:16

Dean

Well, tell me the truth. Have.

 

00:44:11:16 - 00:44:30:15

David

But it's just one of those books and and I'll admit that, you know, I have not read your entire library. I've read a couple through the years and frankly, I think the last time when I read, I'm going to be honest with it was 2012. And I want to say, I remember it was the bad. The bad place I think it was.

 

00:44:30:15 - 00:44:50:04

David

Yeah, 2010, 1213 anywhere in there. And, and so life got busy on me. Dane Sorry. And I came back around and this came in to my view, my spectrum, and I thought, wow, okay. And it's, you know, you can't I'm not going to use I'm going to use a cliche. You can't put it down. You can't put it down.

 

00:44:50:04 - 00:45:16:01

David

But I would advise you not to. But anyway, holy cow. And just when you think it's morphing into one thing, it kind of leads you down the other path. And it actually Dean, this is my favorite thing, and I'm not going to belabor this point, but you caused me to think about something that I literally, as God is my witness, never thought of, never considered before.

 

00:45:16:09 - 00:45:33:00

David

And it was an element of your sci fi. And again, I'm not I don't want to say it because I don't want to give anything away but it and I'll tell you off camera, I told my wife, I'm like, honey, listen to this. Have you ever had this idea, Dean, being caused my brain to do this? And I told her and she looked at me.

 

00:45:33:00 - 00:45:41:02

David

She goes, I've never had that thought in my life. I'm like, Yeah, I'm 63. That has never occurred to me. That's all I'm going to say.

 

00:45:41:06 - 00:46:15:06

Dean

Oh, see, that's what my extra 158 brings me instead is the insights. But it's and I'm always I look for different ways to tell stories. I have a next focus on called the House at the End of the World and that I found a kind of new way to structure a novel that is really compelling, that plunges you through it and yet allows, just like you were quoting there, to be unobtrusive and that and not deliver the second book.

 

00:46:15:06 - 00:46:48:24

Dean

Right? I did that thing called After Death. I got a new novel when it came up, something that it's all about. There's so many different ways to tell stories, and that's why I don't want to get locked into them. And I'm always looking for a way that grabs you, that propels you, and yet isn't just a thriller I would like to think there's more going on in the book and that and in fact I know is because I think about pretty duplex so thank you for reading that it sounded nice like.

 

00:46:49:24 - 00:47:12:21

David

Well thank you thank you for that. You know, it's interesting because you you do cause that shift in thought and I don't want to belabor it and I don't want to sound cheesy, but in I love thrillers, I love page ripping thrillers. I mean because I read so much and I've got so many plates in the air when I want to just escape, that's what I go for.

 

00:47:13:05 - 00:47:36:24

David

But when you can literally cause me to step outside myself and bend to my imagination and in a direction that it had not originally been, that you've accomplished something, but. And you just made me think of something. I found elements of faith and references to God and heaven in here, which was cool. And I grew up in a, I'm a k, a grip, a preacher's kid, which tells you some of my dementia.

 

00:47:36:24 - 00:47:51:21

David

But I'm kidding. There was there was an intriguing addition to this, you know, suspense, sci fi that I went, wow, there's a little there's spirituality in there, which I was not expecting. Where did that come from?

 

00:47:52:10 - 00:48:18:16

Dean

It's something that's been getting into my novels for a long time. It's I think one of the ones that became first became really obvious to people was a book called From the Corner of Desire. And I read a lot of science. It's almost a hobby and has been all my life. And I had particularly fascinated with quantum mechanics and modern physics.

 

00:48:19:08 - 00:48:52:05

Dean

And one day it occurred to me that quantum mechanics, which it presents to us, we're all so intricately connected in all its elements that, well, one thing that most people have heard about is the butterfly effect of lock up butterflies. Flying in Tokyo affects the weather in Chicago. Or if you do it, two experiments of the same nature and you do one thing when you're at the labs, those would be done together.

 

00:48:52:17 - 00:49:39:21

Dean

Events in one lab can affect the experiments in another. When you start getting into quantum mechanics, you see a world so strange and so deeply layered that you have to say, okay, there is, there is in the world a spiritual way and science is shown to this. And I've been exploring that for a long time, and I know many scientists and I got mail from that and they love element of they will tell you sometimes I dare not say this among some colleagues, but there's no question to me and these are very, very high position physicists or astrophysicists with biochemists.

 

00:49:40:08 - 00:50:03:24

Dean

And they'll say, and this is obvious to me, we're living in a creative time. It is not happenstance. Now, that's not saying that in a world of religion is the correct one or has it? All right. It's just saying this is a great mystery. And I began to let that mystery be there in the background books from the corner of Desire.

 

00:50:04:11 - 00:50:35:05

Dean

And it's been something that keeps insisting itself. And the older I get, I've had some strange experiences in my life and I've always been interested in synchronicity which the big dark sky involves, and synchronicity. There's some examples in the book that get Ganesh Patel, one of characters quotes to some of his other characters and their real world synchronicity.

 

00:50:35:06 - 00:50:59:10

Dean

So amazing that you think, okay, that's not coincidence. There's something else going on that come to the surface of things and, and I love exploring that. But I had the idea for a book about synchronicity 40 years ago, but I couldn't think how it would enter into the story, and I couldn't be. So the reader would say, Well, this is just coincidence.

 

00:50:59:19 - 00:51:33:15

Dean

No, that would be the point of the story with the point. But they said, Look around you, that your life and how many things could have happened so different and how many things had come together in a certain way to make this happen, you start to see life in a different way. That's why John Amos, who is the creator of the idea of synchronicity and the like, that's been an element books that I don't push it, but it's more just saying, look at the world in its depth of its wonder.

 

00:51:33:24 - 00:51:38:24

Dean

And that makes that happens so much more interesting. And so.

 

00:51:39:14 - 00:52:08:02

David

Yeah, I could talk about quantum mechanics and synchronicity and so many of those elements for hours. I am fascinated by it. I can't get enough of it. When we were at Tahoe this weekend and, you know, seven, 8000 feet and the air is pristine and God's beauties all around you, however you want to call it God, you can't look at that and go, okay, yeah, this this just happened out of nowhere.

 

00:52:08:04 - 00:52:29:15

David

Hey. And even this is a rabbit hole that I've traveled before, and you've certainly heard it. I'm sure. Yeah, but there's the big bang. Okay, well, who created the spark that created the bang is what I always want to say. And I'm not talking about religion. I'm about this higher manifestation of power that create has created what we see.

 

00:52:29:15 - 00:52:32:01

David

But you know, yet I digress.

 

00:52:32:15 - 00:53:05:16

Dean

Yeah, well, one thing that is interesting to consider is and this is a point of science that you've we're living in an anthropic universe, universe that allows life to exist. The chances that require all of Planck's minimums and all of these other conditions of physics to be exactly what they are. If they vary by 10,000%, the universe wouldn't support life.

 

00:53:06:13 - 00:53:39:11

Dean

And some people have come up with a number that represent the likelihood of this, and it's ten to the power of 120. If you were to write that out in normal notation, like 1000, you would need thousands of years to write it out. And then when you've written that on paper to fail about a third of the universe, that's how likely it is that life could be existent in the universe.

 

00:53:40:03 - 00:53:45:24

Dean

And so that that humbles you to be helpful. And it is kind of fascinating.

 

00:53:47:14 - 00:54:03:06

David

Well, I'm going to have to have you back on the show at another time to where we can drill down on those. Your voice will be rested. You'll be in your new house, and we'll have a little bit of time. I might even just drive up to your neighborhood and sit down and do it in person because I would do that in a heartbeat.

 

00:54:03:06 - 00:54:03:15

David

Because.

 

00:54:03:15 - 00:54:04:05

Dean

Where are you?

 

00:54:04:17 - 00:54:07:14

David

I'm in San Diego. Encinitas proper. Yeah.

 

00:54:07:24 - 00:54:10:23

Dean

Oh, that. We could get together for lunch.

 

00:54:11:11 - 00:54:32:05

David

I would love that because I have a feeling you and I could go down that rabbit hole because. And I'm going to tell you when we wrap here in a few minutes, that idea, just a little germ of an idea, because I'm curious to see if that was your intention or if I'm just hallucinating and or insane. So that's going to be one of those things.

 

00:54:32:06 - 00:55:01:23

David

All right. Before as we begin to wrap up, before we get to Rapidfire questions, which is a fun little quick, very quick game, I want to ask I always ask my visiting who offer their best piece of advice. And along that line, I found an article that lists your top seven tips for penning a masterpiece. So one of my favorite things I've read yet, and it's there's a few things that you covered in it that there is in this article, and I'm not actually going to go through it right now.

 

00:55:01:23 - 00:55:20:22

David

I'm going to offered in the notes on my show so that we can keep moving along. But I so I'm not going to do that. I want to share if you were to give a best piece of advice to aspiring writers and I know you probably got 50, what would that best you could be? It could be two or three.

 

00:55:21:01 - 00:55:22:21

David

What would that advice be?

 

00:55:23:22 - 00:55:49:09

Dean

Well, first of all, I hope that article wasn't I don't recognize that article. So if it was going back too many years, I might not agree with all that said. But if it's something more recent, probably yes. I would say it comes back to that thing that you're passionate about and and don't do a lot of thinking about what do they want.

 

00:55:49:15 - 00:56:17:08

Dean

Then another thing I would also say is if your passion is to write, I don't know, let's say Western. So Romance Springers or science fiction novels, whatever your passion is, don't read just that. And as a reader, broaden out and read all kinds of things because the broadening of your reading is liable to change what we're most passionate about.

 

00:56:17:24 - 00:56:45:24

Dean

But it's also, if it's awesome and you still say this is one that's passionate about all those other genres, read now, and I consider literary fiction another job. Once you've all that expansive reading, what you're going to find is new frontier techniques and all kind of interesting sort of tricks that writers have that you're not always going to find in that.

 

00:56:45:24 - 00:57:11:10

Dean

John Great. You're passionate about that once you've seen them, once you've learned them, you can bring and start to create something new with electronic. That's where you're going to succeed. So those are probably the two strongest pieces of advice I give and basically just be persistent. You're going to have naysayers your entire career and you just can't really follow based singers.

 

00:57:11:22 - 00:57:40:04

Dean

You have to listen to good advice. Listen. When a doctor said, Gee, I think you need another page to add this character because didn't quite get what it was trying to achieve there. And you look at it and say, That's right. I get that extra page or two because if you do a few things, the editor says that it's come across sometimes you sent those suits.

 

00:57:40:05 - 00:58:01:19

Dean

I guess if you take in various things in the book when it's published, it doesn't say, I think comes with excellent suggestions, but so you get all the credit, so why not do it? But I have done writers who get adamant about saying everything and I think that's a mistake. So that's probably my greatest map was.

 

00:58:03:04 - 00:58:32:09

David

Superb, superb. And it makes me think there's a who's the guy who wrote Steele like an artist. The point being this everyone thinks that, Oh, well, you can't write that because it's not completely original and or it's been done forever. However, you can read someone like you just said, there's a device I read by a gentleman named Chris Hardy that recently and I told him straight up, I'm like, Dude, that thing that you do right here, I'm going to steal it.

 

00:58:32:09 - 00:58:48:07

David

I'm just going to tell you straight up. I'm going to steal it. I'm not going to I'm not going to plagiarize your work, which would be copying it, but I'm going to steal the idea, the device. And he goes, Hey, wait a minute. I'm like, But isn't that what we do? And he goes, Yeah, you're right. So that's a great, great point.

 

00:58:49:00 - 00:59:11:01

Dean

And we stand on the shoulders of generations of other writers, so it's almost impossible to create something entirely new. And it comes back again. I've said this and I think it's true. What you really have to sell is not so much the story, not so much the characters, not so much all of that, those elements of the story.

 

00:59:11:01 - 00:59:25:18

Dean

It's your voice. It's the thing about you that is different and that the way you see the world and every one of us is unique. So it is your own personal passion story is not going to sound like anybody else. Yeah.

 

00:59:26:05 - 00:59:46:05

David

So good. So good. You know, and it's guys like me who were really just kind of getting started at a later age that look up to guys like you and go, Well, I want to learn from the master. So that's why they ask the questions like, where do you get your thoughts? And, and, you know, what is your technique and and what is your.

 

00:59:46:11 - 00:59:59:07

David

I was laughing with my wife this weekend and she said, Well, what are some of the questions you're going to ask Dean? I said, Well, I'm not going to ask about where you get your thoughts and I'm not going to ask him what his routine is. I'm like, I don't know what it is about us writers that want to go.

 

00:59:59:12 - 01:00:15:11

David

When do you start writing and when? How long do you go? But maybe it's that we think Dean is it that we think that your magic will rub off on us? Or if we copy your method that will we'll be able to create the same magic.

 

01:00:15:16 - 01:00:40:17

Dean

What is that? I was at one point, I think, probably always interested in that kind of thing. Not so much about. I get asked a lot, what is the office like? And I think I in fact, I just was answering the question and my publisher sends me social media posts saying that I write them because I'm not like other people writing stuff for me.

 

01:00:42:04 - 01:01:04:21

Dean

And then they also sent me your questions and what happens? What what is the office like? You, you're working, what does it look like? And so forth. And I don't know why that fascinates, but and so when I answered that, I said the previous house I worked in an office with a spectacular ocean view and I had the window shades down all day long.

 

01:01:05:05 - 01:01:35:04

Dean

I never saw that ocean for 20 years because if I had the shades, I stare at it and now I'm in that, not with an ocean view. I mean, a very large room office sits on the deck of furniture and at Art Deco sculpture and ancient Chinese ceramics. Actually, dogs, fire clay, art and. But what does it matter?

 

01:01:35:16 - 01:01:49:02

Dean

Because the same thing applies. I have windows all around this office garden and the blinds are always in me. And it's not about the furniture. It's. It's what goes on in here.

 

01:01:49:05 - 01:02:00:15

David

Right. And and before we do wrap it for our question, so I do have to ask you this. Are you still using and I'm going back to that CBS special. Are you still using the computer, that same one now?

 

01:02:00:19 - 01:02:31:14

Dean

Okay. I upgraded quite somewhat after that because that was an embarrassing night. The crew from CBS was at the house for three days to do that. And they never went in my office and the third day elsewhere doing it. Anthony Mason on but it's a very nice man. And we walked into my office for the first time with camera and he saw the computer and he said, What the hell is that?

 

01:02:31:14 - 01:02:51:15

Dean

And I told him, You're just looking at this gas powered getting brighter. And that because I just got locked into the thing that I didn't want to learn no software by changing computer because that would slow me down. I took the change that was okay. I had some fun.

 

01:02:52:16 - 01:03:05:01

David

I'm going to move very quickly here. Last three things and then we're on our way. Rapidfire questions. You're a prolific writer. You've been a school teacher, but if you could do it all over again, what would you do? Or B.

 

01:03:06:02 - 01:03:28:18

Dean

I wouldn't change anything. It's been an amazing life and it's had its ups and downs, its successes and failures, tragedies and all of that. But that's every life. It's that way. And there's, you know, a lot of successes here. Third, so I'm just grateful I would go through all again.

 

01:03:28:18 - 01:03:51:02

David

It's awesome. I can't think of a better answer. All right. No question number two. My wife, Cammie, and I had invited you and Gerda to join us for dinner. And all that we ask is you bring two extra guests to round out our party for a very delightful evening of conversation. And that's not to say you wouldn't be riveting in and of yourself, but we're just it's part of the contest, the game here.

 

01:03:51:12 - 01:03:56:01

David

So you're going to bring two people. Who would those two people be living or dead and why?

 

01:03:57:00 - 01:04:35:03

Dean

Well, first of all, I would have to bring our dog. She she's a golden retriever and she has a she's a wonderful dog, but she is uber affectionate and she doesn't like to be left alone to dinner. So we only go out to dinner at restaurants where we can take her with us. So would be obliged. And then I would probably bring up Flannery O'Connor because she wrote some of the best short stories I've ever read and the scariest short story I think ever written, which is a good man, is hard to find at the end of that story.

 

01:04:35:03 - 01:04:48:19

Dean

I've read that 20 times. It's chosen me at the right time. So who else? Let's say probably the comedian Stephen, right? I don't know. Nothing, but.

 

01:04:49:12 - 01:04:51:04

David

I love him. Yeah.

 

01:04:51:16 - 01:05:12:24

Dean

I have never. He is the most amazing comic mind because his jokes are unlike anybody else's. And the moment you hear these things, how obvious a thought was and how hilarious it is. So it would be interesting to bring those people together. What do you like? Your wife and my dog would throw into the conversation some comments to.

 

01:05:13:02 - 01:05:13:10

Dean

Sure.

 

01:05:13:17 - 01:05:35:22

David

I'm sure. And I would love that. And my my Carolina dog Dexter would get along fine to great guests that that would be an exceptional evening. All right. And number three, final question. This resembles something we said earlier, but it's slightly different. You've been asked to return to Shippensburg State College to speak to your alma maters, graduating class, slightly different, again, writing advice.

 

01:05:35:22 - 01:05:45:05

David

What's the best piece of life advice? Is there a different piece of life advice that you'd give those young minds before they went out to face the world?

 

01:05:45:21 - 01:06:16:20

Dean

I you may know this by best, but many years ago, oh, 25, 30 years ago, maybe more, I was invited to go back to my alma mater and receive an honorary doctorate degree. And it so happened my wife and I were going back to Pennsylvania for other reasons around that same time. So I accepted and that I, I speak extemporaneously, I write notes and stuff and all that.

 

01:06:16:20 - 01:06:38:06

Dean

And we drove across country and my wife kept saying, Oh, why are you working on that speech? And she was afraid she was going to be mortified about that. And I said, No, it's fine, you'll be fine. And we got there. And then the strangest thing happened. I had in my head, I think it was probably a half hour, and before we got up the stage, I said, No, it's a ten minute speech.

 

01:06:38:06 - 01:07:06:15

Dean

And I thought, Wow, that's quite a short speech for a graduation. And it was completely extemporaneous. But there was one bit of advice I gave them that I think is one of the best piece of advice I gave him. I told this class, I think a couple thousand kids in this place, and I warned them that the most important thing in life is never pick a fight with a man.

 

01:07:06:15 - 01:07:34:24

Dean

That's the words born and die tattooed on his forehead. And that that that I still think it's probably the best piece of advice I can get. And one of the things that was great about that, I came home and a professor of mine from college sent me a picture of Taken as I made that remark and there are all these kids in the caps and gowns have their heads back like this in my class.

 

01:07:35:14 - 01:07:40:20

Dean

And I thought, that's not the kind of woman they were expecting, and neither was the rest of the speech.

 

01:07:40:20 - 01:07:43:02

David

So that's perfect.

 

01:07:43:15 - 01:08:02:14

Dean

I also thought that every graduating commencement speaker will tell the audience, The world needs to want you, and they're eager for you to be there. I'm telling you that they don't want you. They're not eager to fight like hell to make anything of your life. And that was my other advice.

 

01:08:03:06 - 01:08:21:18

David

Reality sometimes hurts right? Yeah. Well, folks, to learn more, visit Dean Koontz dot com and follow him on Twitter at Dean Koontz. And like I do at Instagram at Dean Koontz official. Dean, this has been beyond delightful. I thank you so much for your time.

 

01:08:22:06 - 01:08:31:23

Dean

Well, you've been great, so I have to do that. Sam has to get lunch, but I do have my email. If not on this activity.

 

01:08:32:09 - 01:08:43:24

David

I will do that. And this has just been superlatively delightful and we say goodbye. I'm going to jump off and tell you what that idea was. So give me thank you again for your time.

 

01:08:44:12 - 01:08:46:09

Dean

Okay? Thank you. It was great.

 

01:08:47:06 - 01:09:11:06

David

Oh, yeah. Dean Koontz on the Thriller Zone. Did you enjoy that? As much as I did. Pinch me. Pinch me. Yeah. This was a highlight of the year. And what a way to kick off, not literally kick off the part of season three of the Thriller zone. Now, I mentioned at the beginning of the show where you could win a copy of The Big Dark Sky.

 

01:09:11:09 - 01:09:38:10

David

I have two hard copies of the big dark sky behind me on shelf, and I want to award them to a lucky listener. So here's all you have to do. Go to the thriller zone dot com or drop us an email at the Thriller Zone at Gmail. Now, the reason I give you two different opportunities is you can to the website and see what we're all about in case you have never been to our website.

 

01:09:38:10 - 01:10:02:09

David

I mean, you're listening to us on some podcast chatting with either Apple or Spotify or Stitcher or iHeartRadio or Google or Amazon. Right. But you can also get all of that same beauty right there on the thriller zone scum. So come see us, meet us YouTube.com. Slash the thriller zone. Of course, that's where our videos live soon. Videos coming to Apple Podcasts.

 

01:10:02:09 - 01:10:28:06

David

Check that out. So here's what you do. Let's let's make it easy go to the thriller zone at Gmail dot com in the subject line say I want Dean Koontz's book then in the body of the email. Tell me where you're listening. Chicago could be Los Angeles. It could be Boise. It could be Australia. Just tell me where you are listening to the thriller zone.

 

01:10:28:07 - 01:10:48:01

David

Here's why I would like that book Easy. Write it in. I'll add all the names. I'll put them on a little piece of paper. I'll stick them in a fishbowl and pull out a name. Boom. Easy peasy. Now, if you were to ask my wife what David's favorite movie is the either going to be anything James Bond or anything Jason Bourne?

 

01:10:48:13 - 01:11:21:11

David

Pretty much now, yeah, I do. Godfather among my favorites, Heat. I'm not going to go down that road because there are too many to list. But Jason Bourne. All right. So next week, Brian Freeman, he has written a book called The Bourne Sacrifice, part of the Robert Ludlum series. Right. Brian Freeman. Jason Bourne. Bourne Sacrifice. I can tell you right now easily on my top ten books of the summer, I kid you not.

 

01:11:22:02 - 01:11:40:07

David

He's on the show next week being Koontz and now Brian Freeman. It makes you say, who's going to be next, folks? I got to get on out of here. Thank you again. I'm your host, David Temple. Thank you so much for listening and thank you for subscribing to our YouTube channel. Thank you for those five star reviews that you've been writing for us.

 

01:11:40:07 - 01:11:57:05

David

You can do it on our website or you can see it. Do it on any one of your podcast channels. Thank you so much. It's it's people like you that make my job so easy and so much fun. Thank you to my sponsors who have believed in the show from the beginning. You know who you are. Thank you so much.

 

01:11:57:12 - 01:12:18:11

David

I'll see you next time for another edition of the thriller.