“I expect to die at 110, in a violent biological event, after winning the world hot dog-eating contest.”
To herald the arrival of his new sure-to-be bestseller, we asked the always-affable Dean Koontz to reveal ‘3 Things You Don’t Know About Me.’ And boy are we glad we did!
When Barnes & Noble gave me the title of this piece, I was at first inclined to reveal my various criminal activities or my extraterrestrial origins, or my previous incarnation as a disgraced silent-film star, or the debilitating fear of mimes that keeps me homebound because of the dread that I will encounter one at the mall just when the battery in my Taser goes dead. But then I thought, no, that's the same old stuff that a thousand other novelists have revealed about themselves in essays like this.
So the first thing I will tell you is that I collect Bakelite radios from the Art Deco period. Bakelite was an early plastic, and many radios from the 1920s and '30s were beautiful works of art, made in numerous colorful designs. They sit among the books on the shelves in my office, like sculpture. Most of the radios I have still work, although after you switch on one of them, you have to wait for the vacuum tubes to heat up before you can tune in a station. I think I would like to have lived in that more quiet and elegant era—except that there was a Great Depression, Hitler was coming to power in Germany, Diet Coke hadn't yet been invented, and well-dressed men all wore hats. I hate hats.
Second: Since I was about ten or eleven, I have periodically dreamed of being killed by an airliner. Since it's widely known that I stopped flying many years ago, you might suppose that in those dreams I am aboard a plane, but that isn't the case. Sometimes I am walking along a highway when the airplane crashes and tumbles toward me. Sometimes I am waiting in a terminal to greet someone who is coming to visit, and the crashing plane dives straight toward the big terminal windows. At other times, I'm in the yard playing with my dog, a sudden roar arises, and I turn to see a 747 coming over the roof of the house, so low that it shears off the chimneys. I reliably have this dream at least five or six times a year. I don't know what it means, if it means anything. I think it's why plane crashes figure prominently in my novels Cold Fire and Sole Survivor. I don't really expect to die in such a fashion. I expect to die at 110, in a violent biological event, after winning the world hot dog-eating contest.
Third: Alfred Hitchcock read my novel Whispers in manuscript and wanted to make a movie of it. He was up in years at the time and ailing, and I was told that he couldn't get a studio to make a deal for the book on his behalf because of his age. I often think that my career might have caught fire faster than it did if that film could have been made, and it would have been a thrill to see what he would have done with it. I was―still am―a fan of Hitchcock's, which you'll discover when you read the fifth Odd Thomas novel, Odd Apocalypse.
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