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Bryan Gruley Photo
Photo Credit:
Sigrid Estrada

You can never look into their eyes. Not once, Not for a second. Not if you’re a goaltender, like me. Because the guy shooting the puck wants you to look there. Then he’ll glance one way and shoot the other, or he’ll draw your eyes up just as he snaps the puck between your legs. Or he’ll lock on you just long enough to remind you that he knows exactly what he’s about to do and you don’t, that you’re just wishing and hoping that you’ll guess right. That you’re not at all in control.

Then you’re dead.

-Excerpt from the opening of Bryan Gruley’s Starvation Lake

  1. What do you love about being a writer?
    I love the actual putting down of the words, the rejiggering of the sentences, the deletions and additions, the puzzling through of what should go where. It's like figuring out how to tell a joke the right way. It's the storytelling.

  2. What is your biggest challenge as a writer?
    Figuring out what really happened. It's my toughest challenge as a writer of both fiction and non-fiction.

  3. If you were not a writer, what other profession would you want to pursue?
    It's fanciful to say I'd love to play left wing for the Detroit Red Wings, but come on. I have no idea. I can't imagine myself as anything else.

  4. In your opinion, what is the most influential crime novel of the last 100 years?
    Honestly, I haven't read enough crime novels to have a strong opinion. But I suppose it would involve Hammett or Chandler.

  5. Which fictional hero do you admire or despise the most?
    Huck Finn. Admire him. Because he was so earnest and so full of crap at the same time.

  6. After writing, how do you spend the rest of your time?
    Well, I do a lot more writing, because I'm the Chicago bureau chief of the Wall Street Journal. I love to work out, play hockey, have long dinners with my wife, Pam, see movies with my grown kids, hang with hockey pals.

  7. What city or location has the most impact on your writing?
    Northern lower Michigan, where my first novel is set, and where my next two--at the least--will be set.

  8. Do your books have a message?
    If so, it's purely organic and unintentional. I just try to tell a good story with characters who are as textured and authentic and individual as I can make them with the abilities I have.

  9. What are you currently reading?
    The Big Blowdown by George Pelecanos, Wicked City by Ace Atkins, and Leaping, a terrific collection of essays by Brian Doyle.

  10. If you could meet any person (living or dead), who would that be?
    Jesus Christ.

  11. What is your greatest vice?
    My pride.

  12. What is your greatest extravagance?
    Expensive dinners. Cool shirts.

  13. What is your idea of misery?
    A state in which Notre Dame really is done winning national football championships.

  14. What is your idea of happiness?
    You wake up, you feel OK, celebrate.

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