Years ago (you can see when) some kids cajoled me into writing to Dean R. Koontz to find out if we might be related. I did learn that his Koontz family was also Pennsylvania Deutch from the late 1700s, so what the heck. I sent him a few family tree tidbits, and this was his response:
Wo. The tendencies he described in his dad are pretty much anyone’s dark, grumpy side, but definitely not a fun guy to grow up with assuming his family stayed intact. To note, here’s a guy who defied the family grump genes and worked it to his advantage by writing some pretty scary stuff.
I look back at our family life and while true, our dad was no Andy Griffith, he had a fun side that we enjoyed and still recall with a smile. And his dad was brilliant, funny, and kind-hearted. Interestingly enough, his wife, not a Koontz, was a bit of a grump, or at least when we knew her.
Beyond those Koontzes, I don’t know what any of the rest were like. When my brother and I were researching the Koontz clan, I found a book called Pennsylvania German Pioneers. There were pages and pages of captain’s logs of the Germans they were bringing to America in the late 1700s. Koontz was spelled Kuntz, Koons, Koontz, Kunz, etc. and most of them were Jacob or Frederick. We were about to give up on figuring out which Koontz was ours when I found an entry in one log that read, “Jus Koontz.” Had to be our guy. Why?
Think about the grump gene and then you can imagine the dialog between captain and Koontz:
“What is your name?”
“No, what is your complete name?”
“Is jus Koontz!”
Anyway, legacy can’t be changed; what you do with it should be the one thing you can control and use wisely. I got my dad’s humor gene and his music gene, and I got my mom’s artist and writing genes. So I got great genes, even though a few of them might be grumpy!
Meanwhile, when I tell people my name, they often ask, “Like the author?” And I say yeah, like the author.