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Monday, November 16, 2020

The 'Drive' Behind Great Stories

 “When you're a writer, you're always looking for conflict. It's conflict that drives great stories.” – William Kent Krueger

I first got to know St. Paul, Minn.-based mystery writer Krueger when he would stop over to visit with English classes at Augsburg College – set up by his friend and my fellow professor Kathy Swanson.    That was just shortly after he had Iron Lake, the first of his Cork O’Connor series, on the market.  With his primary protagonist being half Ojibwe (the other half Irish). 

Krueger, born on this date in 1950, sets many of his "O'Connor" tales in north-central Minnesota, and with each, I’ve learned much about the Ojibwe, something he says he very much enjoys researching and writing.

“Readers anticipate that a significant element of every story will be additional exposure to the ways of the Ojibwe,” he said. “The truth is that I enjoy this aspect of the work.  Although I have no Indian blood running through my veins, in college I prepared to be a cultural anthropologist, so exploring other cultures is exciting to me.”
Born and raised in Wyoming, he also has this sort-of “Old West” feel running through the way his lawman/private investigator O’Connor operates, another wonderful element of his writing style.   

“Write because you love the work,” he advised, “not because of what might come from it. The journey is the purpose. Very Zen-like, I know, but (for me) honest to God it's the truth.”

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