My Interview with Dean Koontz! (part 2)

dean2photo_9Q: When did you begin to write seriously?

A: While I was in college. I sold my first short story when I was a senior, and the same piece won a prize in the college-writing contest Atlantic Monthly conducted at that time. I wasn’t very good for a number of years, but I kept selling. Later, I recovered the rights to all that early stuff and deep-sixed it, mostly science fiction and Gothic novels.

Q: What makes a writer great?

A: Writing truth, I think. By which I don’t necessarily mean entirely realistic settings and story lines. Any genre allows for the writing of truth. To do it means to write stories that are more than plot, to write characters that feel like real people, and to avoid writing ideologically. These days, a great deal of fiction is ideological, and that approach virtually ensures a limited lifespan for the work. Resist the temptation to be swept away by current
“issues” in your work and write instead about timeless human values and hopes. Ideologies sooner or later collapse due to the tendency of ideologues to ignore all manner of realities in the fashioning of their ideologies.

Q: What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book,” look like? Continue reading “My Interview with Dean Koontz! (part 2)”