Devoted followers (such as myself) of the This Is Horror podcast know that co-host Michael David Wilson always begins the interview by asking about any lessons the guest learned in early life. Never has that prompt elicited more interesting response than during the recent interview conducted with Dean Koontz. The bestselling author is quite open in recounting the trials of his childhood: growing up in a poor family dominated by his violent, alcoholic father. Koontz acknowledges the various ways his upbringing affected him as a person and shaped him as a writer.
As the interview progresses, Koontz furnishes insight into such areas as his academic record (his transformation from self-described “slacker” into notorious hard-worker) and his lifelong love for dogs. Wilson and cohost Bob Pastorella, who are authors themselves, both prove eager to hear their guest talk about the craft of fiction writing. Koontz also discusses his new novel The House at the End of the World (which in its concerns with the failures of the ruling class in the Western world sounds terribly timely).
I do wish that the hosts had probed Koontz more directly for his thoughts on horror (a genre from which the author has deliberately disassociated himself in the past), but otherwise this is a terrific interview. By no means is Koontz some Pynchonesque recluse, but he does not typically avail himself to such a platform or provide so much of his time (the interview is nearly 90 minutes long). I am happy that Koontz has chosen to do so here, though, because he cuts quite a likeable figure, humble and genuinely avuncular. The other clear takeaway from the podcast interview: at age 77, the prolific novelist shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
I’ve embedded the video of the podcast below. Other interview videos can be found on the This Is Horror YouTube channel, and there is also plenty of must-read material posted on the This is Horror website.