.Anyone who knows me, knows that Dean Koontz had to show up in this list.
I read my first Koontz book when I was 12. I happened to pick up Watchers off the rack in some store, probably K-mart or the grocery store. The book amazed me. It had everything I could have imagined wanting in a book: romance, a dog who could communicate with people, science-fiction, and horror, with undercurrents of philosophy.
From then on, I was hooked. I read everything I could by him, and bought his hardbacks when they were released every November. I praised them and recommended them to anyone who’d listen.
Koontz was the first author I’d read who blended genres. He was considered a horror author, but he really wasn’t. His stories did evoke fear and dread at times, but there was almost always some sort of happy ending.
Koontz usually has multiple “parts” to his books, and starts them with a quote or a short poem. While I loved all those quotes, my favorite was when he’d quote The Book of Counted Sorrows. In the pre-internet days, I drove myself crazy trying to find that book. In 1992, Koontz publicly explained the the book didn’t exist, but I didn’t hear about it until many years later.
Searching for this non-existent book was something I didn’t give up on. Oh, I didn’t think about it every day or anything, but it popped back into my consciousness with regularity. When I finally found out it wasn’t real, I felt let down, like I’d lost a friend.
I moved on, and through the magic of the internet, was able to find the collected quotes from the books.
I’ve wanted to be a writer as long as I can remember. But Koontz helped me figure out what kind of writer I wanted to be.
I want to be someone who writes uplifting stories, sometimes about dark and strange topics. I want to write across genres. But mostly, I just want to tell a good story.
“Not one day in anyone’s life is an uneventful day, no day without profound meaning, no matter how dull and boring it might seem… Because in every day of your life, there are opportunities to perform little kindnesses for others, both by conscious acts of will and unconscious example. Each smallest act of kindness… reverberates across great distances and spans of time… because kindness is passed on and grows each time it’s passed, until a simple courtesy becomes an act of selfless courage years later and far away.”
-Dean Koontz, from