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Sample Autograph Signature: Dean Koontz

American bestselling writer best known for his suspense novels. Dean Ray Koontz was born and raised in Everett, PA in 1945. An only child, his family lived on the edge of destitution because his father lost one job after another due to alcoholism and compulsive gambling. His father, who was eventually diagnosed as being borderline schizophrenic, was also tyrannical and often violent. To escape the turmoil and abuse, Koontz sought solace in books and writing. His parents discourage both his reading and his writing believing them a waste of time and money. At the age of 8, however, he challenged this judgment by writing short stories that he bound and sold to relatives and neighbors for a nickel a story. He hit the big-time at 12 when he won a wristwatch and 25 dollars for an essay submitted to a nationwide newspaper competition. Despite being raised in rural poverty in a classically dysfunctional family, he worked his way through Shippensburg State College and graduated in 1966 with a major in English and a minor in communications. Koontz then worked with underprivileged children in the Appalachian Poverty Program for a year, but became disillusioned with the program because he felt it failed to really help those most in need and encouraged dependency on those whose greatest need is to become independent. He wrote nights and weekends during that year, and continued to do so after securing a position in 1967 as an English teacher at Mechanicsburg High School, a suburban school district outside Harrisburg, PA. While teaching, he sold 3 paperback novels and 20 twenty short stories; and in 1969 he devoted himself to a full-time writing career after his wife offered to support them for 5 years. His first novel, Star Quest, was a published in 1968. During 1969 and 1970 he published several more novels under his own name, but wanted to explore other fiction genres. His editors cautioned him against writing in different genres under his own name because it would alienate his fans. Thus, Koontz began using Deanna Dwyer for gothic romances, K. R. Dwyer for suspense, Brian Coffee for short suspense, Anthony North for the technothriller, John Hill for occult mystery, Aaron Wolfe for science fiction, David Axton for adventure, Leigh Nichols for romantic suspense, Owen West for horror novels, and Richard Paige for romantic suspense. There are quite possibly others which Koontz disputes. Most of his pseudonymous novels are now available under his real name. Koontz's first bestseller was Whispers, published in 1980, and was followed by 9 hardcovers and 13 paperbacks which hit #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List. To date he has written about 85 novels, 29 of which are early works still out of print. He has also written 5 children's books, 6 non-fiction books, poetry and screenplays. Many of his books have adopted for films and TV movies.

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