Thursday, November 8, 2007
An exclusive interview with the author of THUNDER BAY
Once again our British Select Editions cousins have published a great author interview. Check out what esteemed mystery writer William Kent Krueger has to say about his early days and his current life as a writer.
Reader's Digest: Native American culture is a strong theme in your Cork O’Connor novels. What do you find most interesting or inspiring about it?
William Kent Krueger: I admire tremendously the courage of the Ojibwe. In the face of great hardship, they have endured. They have not lost their language, their traditions, or their sense of humour. I have a number of contacts and acquaintances within the Ojibwe community and they are amazingly generous with their time and their knowledge.
RD: And how did the main character come by his name?
WKK: Before I knew anything else about the books, I knew the protagonist would be named Cork. I imagined a character so resilient that no matter how far life pushed him down, he would always bob back to the surface.
RD: Did you have to do a great deal of research for this book?
WKK: I wouldn’t say a lot. At its heart, Thunder Bay is a love story and that’s something I’ve been researching all my life.
RD: Your childhood was a little unconventional in that you moved around a lot. Why was that, and what is your clearest memory of those times?
WKK: For a long time, my father worked for a large oil company and was often transferred. Rather than thinking of these moves as disruption or hardship, my family always saw them as adventure. What I remember most is our eager anticipation of a new place.
RD: You met your wife Diane quite early in life and are still happily married to her thirty years later. How did you know she was "the one"?
WKK: I don’t think anyone ever "knows." And love changes across thirty years. Like a garden gone wild, it grows dense and tangled and spreads far beyond its proper borders. If you’re lucky—and I am—the tendrils of love invade every nook and cranny of your life and one day you realise that the beautiful wild garden has swallowed you up.
RD: You were expelled as a student for taking a stand against what you saw as the university’s complicity in producing weapons for the Vietnam War. Are you still politically active?
WKK: These days I’m more spiritual in my approach to the turmoil of the world. I pray. I volunteer. On occasion, I still march. More and more, however, I simply tend my garden.
RD: You did a lot of jobs before becoming a writer. Which did you enjoy least?
WKK: When I was a young man, I spent some time logging timber in the Rockies. One day, as I ate lunch alongside my brother, we stared across a mountainside we’d helped clear of trees. It was a devastating sight. We quit then and there and walked twenty miles down off that mountain. It was one of the best days of my life.
RD: You’ve said that the act of creation is more important to you than the acclaim of being a published writer—what did you mean by that?
WKK: Commitment, discipline, creative accomplishment, joy in your work: these are within every writer’s grasp. Acclaim is something over which no writer has control, so I do my best to let go of that concern.
RD: What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
WKK: Write because it’s what you love to do, because it gives you energy, because when you’ve created something that pleases you, the whole day is better. If you do this, good things will come of it, I promise.
RD: Do you have a favourite quotation from your character, Henry Meloux?
WKK: "Every falling leaf comes to rest where it was always meant to be."