John and Jan's home on the water - the Phalarope - on a rare sunny day in Southeast Alaska.

John and Jan's home on the water - the Phalarope - on a rare sunny day in Southeast Alaska.

 John at the flybridge helm of the Phalarope in upper Glacier Bay.

John Straley never saw himself living in Alaska. Now he can't see himself  living anywhere else. He knows the weather and wild of the place - what the wind will bring, the give of muskeg underfoot. He has met the characters that fill his books. He owns a lot of raincoats.

The youngest of five children, John Straley was born in 1953. He received a BA in English and a certificate of completion in horse shoeing. He has brown eyes and likes jokes and a wide variety of literature and music. He is the Shamus Award-winning author of The Curious Eat Themselves and The Woman Who Married a Bear and was appointed the Writer Laureate of Alaska in 2006. 

John and his wife, Jan, a prominent whale biologist, met in the North Cascades mountains of Washington state. John was a mule packer for a local outfitter guide, spending summers in the high meadows of the Pasayten Wilderness where Jan worked as a seasonal backcountry ranger. Not long after, they were married in a ceremony involving instant rice and a high speed car chase.

straley_authorpic.jpg

When Jan announced she was taking a job in Alaska John realized his recent training as a horseshoer was probably not going to pay off. They headed north to Sitka, where there isn't a single horse, and never left.

John worked for years in Sitka as a criminal defense investigator. Now retired, he writes in his weathertight office overlooking Old Sitka Rocks . . . when he's not teaching, speaking, playing music, out on the water, helping Jan or enjoying yet another good laugh.