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Wednesday, November 15, 2023

'The journey is the purpose'

"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 English classes at Augsburg University where I was teaching writing.  The first time I heard him was shortly after he had Iron Lake, the first of his Cork O’Connor series, out on the market.  With his primary protagonist being half Ojibwe (the other half Irish) I was amazed to learn that he didn’t have any Ojibwe blood, since he does a remarkable job of incorporating great detail about Ojibwe culture into his stories. 

Krueger sets most of his tales in north-central Minnesota and now has 19 O’Connor mysteries plus many best-selling stand-alone novels (his most recent being The River We Remember).  He said he very much enjoys researching and writing about the Ojibwe.

“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 on Nov. 16, 1950, he was raised in Oregon and has an “Old West” vibe running through the way his lawman/private investigator O’Connor operates, another wonderful element of his writing style.   As for advice to beginning writers, he says,

“Write because you love the work 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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