Bio: When he was a senior in college, Dean Koontz won an Atlantic Monthly fiction competition and has been writing ever since. His books are published in 32 languages with worldwide sales over 215 million copies. Seven of his novels have risen to number on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list (Lightning, Midnight, Cold Fire, Hideaway, Dragon Tears, Intensity, and Sole Survivor), and eleven of his books have risen to number one in paperback. The New York Times has called his writing "psychologically complex, masterly and satisfying." The New Orleans Times-Picayune said Koontz is, "at times lyrical without ever being naive or romantic. [He creates] a grotesque world, much like that of Flannery O'Conner or Walker Percy--scary, worthwhile reading." Of Cold Fire, a worldwide #1 bestseller, the United Press International said, "An extraordinary piece of fiction. It will be a classic." Dean Koontz was born and raised in Pennsylvania. He graduated from Shippensburg State College (now Shippensburg University), and his first job after graduation was in the Appalachian Poverty Program, where he was expected to counsel and tutor underprivileged children on a one-to-one basis. His first day at work, he discovered that the previous occupant of his position had been beaten up by the very kids he'd been trying to help and had landed in the hospital for several weeks. The following year was filled with challenge but also tension, and Koontz was more highly motivated than ever to build a career as a writer. He wrote nights and weekends, which he continued to do after leaving the poverty program and going to work as an English teacher in a suburban school district outside of Harrisburg. After he had been a year and a half in that position, his wife, Gerda, made him an offer he couldn't refuse: "I'll support you for five years," she said, "and if you can't make it as a writer in that time, you'll never make it." By the end of those five years, Gerda had quit her job to run the business end of her husband's writing career. Dean and Gerda live in Newport Beach, California.