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.
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.