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Deal with Troubles, But Don’t Lose Track of the World’s Beauty: An Interview with Dean Koontz

September 19, 2014

Christopher Closeup

“The dark makes the light stuff brighter.”
Not only is that a comment made by a character in Dean Koontz’s latest novel “The City,” it’s a truth that the author learned first-hand while growing up.
In “The City,” eight-year-old African-American musical prodigy Jonah Kirk is blessed with a mother and grandparents who selflessly love and support him. His father Tilton, however, epitomizes the adult who never grows up, who never accepts responsibility for anyone or anything other than the pursuit of his own pleasure. Jonah sees these traits in his father and, understandably, resents him.
Dean can relate to Jonah here. During an interview on “Christopher Closeup,” he recalled that his mother was a wonderful woman, but his father was a “violent alcoholic” who was also a “gambler and womanizer,” resulting in his family living in poverty. The worst part for Dean wasn’t his family’s unstable financial situation, though; it was the fact that he lived in a small town where everybody knew everybody else’s business, leaving him in an “almost constant [state of] humiliation or embarrassment” at his father’s actions.
And yet, Dean wouldn’t change his childhood even if he could. He said, “There’s a temptation to think how much better my life would have been, or how much more I would have achieved if I’d had a rosier childhood. But then I think, ‘No, if I hadn’t had my dad’s example, I might have gone that way.’…That is where I was able to clearly see that there is good and evil in the world; there are not just shades of gray. As a consequence, I think it helped me a great deal as a writer to have grown up in that environment.”

Read the full article and listen to the full interview @