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The Powell's Playlist | June 18, 2014

Daniel H. Wilson: IMG The Powell’s Playlist: Daniel H. Wilson



Like many writers, I'm constantly haunting coffee shops with a laptop out and my headphones on. I listen to a lot of music while I write, and songs... Continue »

The Powell's Playlist | June 18, 2014

Daniel H. Wilson: IMG The Powell’s Playlist: Daniel H. Wilson



Like many writers, I'm constantly haunting coffee shops with a laptop out and my headphones on. I listen to a lot of music while I write, and songs... Continue »

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Powell's Q&A

Dean Koontz

Describe your latest project.
The Darkest Evening of the Year is a suspense novel, a comic novel, a love story, a dog story, a story about the danger to your sanity posed by much twentieth-century literature, a story about the strange order that underlies chaos in both nature and the human experience, a story about loss and redemption, a story about hope and perseverance, a story about Marco the driving blind man and his co-pilot dog Antoine, a story about the meaningful patterns in our lives of which we often remain oblivious, a story about identity and how we become who we are, and a story about the wisdom of always having a Power-Pak II crematorium ready for your use.

Until I moved to Bantam Books, each time I delivered a new novel, my publishers would groan and say, "This isn't like your last book. We want each book like all the others; readers like to know exactly what they're getting. Why do you keep doing this to us? What genre is this? How are we supposed to label this?" By contrast, at Bantam, my publisher said, "Well, you do take the train out there where trains don't usually go, but I enjoy the ride." I've long believed that, in spite of conventional publishing wisdom, readers don't want the same book every time from a favorite writer, but want variety as long as they are gripped by the story and can hear the singular voice of that writer at work. So far it's worked for me. If one day readers change their minds, I guess I'll have to get real work.


Read an original essay by Dean Koontz.

View an exclusive video from Dean Koontz on his new book, The Darkest Evening of the Year.


  1. The Darkest Evening of the Year
    $5.50 Used Hardcover add to wishlist
    "[T]he perfect book for thriller addicts who know the darkest hour is just before dawn and for canine lovers who remember 'dog' spelled backwards is 'god.'" Publishers Weekly (starred review)

    "[M]agnetically readable, and incorporating an eloquent plea for discarded and mistreated dogs everywhere." Booklist


  2. The Good Guy
    $5.50 Used Hardcover add to wishlist

    The Good Guy

    Dean Koontz
    "Dark suspense leavened by just enough sentiment....Fans of Koontz will recognize and relish his trademark, gently ironic dialogue and firmly fleshed characterizations." Kirkus Reviews
Writers are better liars than other people: true or false? Why, or not?
Generally speaking, most writers are not good liars. They are transparent when they lie. I think this is because so many of them confuse fiction and reality, whereas a good liar always needs to know when he is lying in order successfully to sell the lie.

Describe the best breakfast of your life.
An ordinary omelet, inadequate hash browns, and half-burnt toast on the first day of our honeymoon, my first morning as a married man. Gerda and I had dated for over four years — during my senior year in high school, and during the three years that I worked my way through college on an accelerated schedule — so I thought the wedding day would never come. When at last we were married, all seemed right with the world, and some unfortunate hotel food could not mar the morning. Besides, I genuinely like burnt toast.

What is your idea of absolute happiness?
A Sunday afternoon nap on the floor with a couple of freshly bathed and sweet-smelling golden retrievers, the sound of their great good hearts when you lay with your head on them.

What is your favorite indulgence, either wicked or benign?
Collecting Meiji-period Japanese bronzes. There is no sculpture in the world as exquisite, detailed, beautiful, mysterious, and spiritual as that produced by the Meiji masters.

Fahrenheit, Celsius, or Kelvin?
Fahrenheit when I'm cooking, Celsius when I'm sunbathing, and Kelvin plays every month in our poker group.

On a clear and cold day, do you typically get outside into the sunshine or stay inside where it's warm?
We live in Newport Beach, California, and when it gets really, really chilly out — say, fifty degrees — I like to take a walk in just my shirt sleeves because I'm of pioneer stock, and I am invigorated by such bitter weather.

In the For-All-Eternity category, what will be your final thought?
Now it begins.

Recommend five or more books on a single subject of personal interest or expertise.

Comic novels can be as profound as — and often more profound than — the most serious literary and/or noir fiction. So herewith, Five Wonderful Comic Novels:

1) There Must Be a Pony by James Kirkwood

2) The Spy in the Ointment by Donald E. Westlake

3) The Stainless-Steel Rat by Harry Harrison

4) Any Jeeves novel by P.G. Wodehouse

5) Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne

÷ ÷ ÷

Dean Koontz, the author of many #1 New York Times bestsellers, lives with his wife, Gerda, and the enduring spirit of their golden retriever, Trixie, in southern California.

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