This past month I attended a booksigning for William Kent Krueger, who was promoting his latest Cork O’Connor mystery, Northwest Angle. I haven’t read the series, and still am not sure if they will suit me. But I love listening to authors speak, so jumped at the chance to attend.
There was a large audience, and many had attended previous signings by the author. As soon as the event began I knew why there were so many repeat attenders; he is one of the most engaging writers I’ve encountered. The time went by quickly as Mr. Krueger entertained us with stories about his writing process, his decisions about his characters, and future directions his writing might take.
Mr. Krueger commented that authors writing a series can either write a character that remains static over the series, or they can write a character that changes and ages over time. Mr. Krueger made the decision early on to have Cork O’Connor and his family age and change throughout the series. He noted that this has allowed him to bring some of his own experiences at different points in his life into the series.
Mr. Krueger writes every day in a local Minnesota coffee house. He said that he tried to write in his home office, but found it was both too quiet and too distracting. Until fairly recently he wrote in longhand, but has switched to a laptop. Cork O’Connor is part Irish and part Anishianaabe. Mr. Krueger did extensive research into the Anishianaabe culture before writing the first book in the series, Iron Lake, and continues to do research, and actually have most of his books vetted by Anishianaabe acquaintances. In the end, I ended up buying one of his books; he was just that entertaining.