Beacons of light

Author William Kent Krueger
Author William Kent Krueger; photo by Tracy Walsh

If you’re a fan of Cork O’Connor — one of Minnesota’s most famous fictional characters of all time — then this issue is for you!

That’s because our Cover Star is none other than the man who created O’Connor more than 20 years ago — William Kent Krueger of St. Paul, who recently sat down with us for a chat about his fascinating path to becoming an acclaimed mystery series author, including his most recent New York Times best seller, Sulfur Springs.

Krueger attributes his success to decades of persistence and disciplined hard work, including daily early morning writing sessions.

Indeed, Krueger was nearly 50 years old — and working a non-literary day job at the University of Minnesota — when he published his first two books, Iron Lake and Boundary Waters, in 1998 and 1999.

“I’m living proof that you’re never too old to start writing,” Krueger said. “So many people that I know in this business have had gray in their hair before they started.”

Today Krueger is writing his 17th Cork O’Connor installment. He’s also penning the highly anticipated sequel to Ordinary Grace, his 2013 stand-alone hit novel.

If you’re not totally impressed and inspired by Krueger’s story, check out the rest of the issue, where you’ll find my new favorite late Minnesotan, Ada Comstock, a Moorhead native who paved the way for women like me to go to college.

Her brilliant mind and incredible story of undeterred efforts to improve opportunities for women in higher education nationwide make me incredibly proud. (As a Moorhead State University alum, I take a special pride in her triumphant achievements.)

And, finally, I hope you’ll read Dave Nimmer’s memories of Minnesota’s corporate behemoth slayer, Miles Lord, the former U.S. District Judge fondly remembered in Roberta Walburn’s recently published biography, Miles Lord: The Maverick Judge Who Brought Corporate America to Justice.

The importance of Lord’s efforts to protect Lake Superior from taconite tailings and to protect women from the negative effects of the Dalkon Shield birth control device aren’t lost on me.

In fact, these three wise and tenacious Minnesotans make me feel hopeful for all that faces our state, our country — and even our world — in the new year.