Mike Doogan is a third generation Alaskan. He is 59. He was born in Fairbanks and has lived in Anchorage since 1964. He is a graduate of West Anchorage High School and the University of San Francisco, and holds an MFA from the University of Alaska Anchorage.
      Mike has been a Teamster, a janitor, a baggage handler, a mailroom flunky, a writing teacher and a legislative aide, but worked for most of his adult life as a journalist and writer. For 14 years, he was a columnist for the Anchorage Daily News. He is the author of three books of nonsense about Alaska, and editor of a collection of essays on life there. He is currently writing mystery novels and serving in the Alaska House of Representatives.
      His mystery writing has won Mike the Robert L. Fish Award from the Mystery Writers of America and the Spotted Owl Award from the Friends of Mystery. His first novel, Lost Angel, has been nominated for a Shamus Award by the Private Eye Writers of America.
      Mike and his wife, Kathy, will celebrate their 38th wedding anniversary in November. They have two grown children. As you might expect, Kathy is Mike’s reader and editor of first, and last, resort.
      Two other people who deserve much of
the praise – or the blame – for Mike’s mystery novels are his agent, Marcy Posner of Sterling Lord Literistic, and his editor at Penguin,
Tom Colgan.
The Scoop

      I managed to deliver Skeleton Lake on time – actually, a couple of days early -- to Tom Colgan, my editor at Penguin/Putnam. I finished the book just in time to pack the car and drive nearly 800 miles to Haines, Alaska, to catch a state ferry to Juneau for the legislative session. The highlight – if that’s the right word – for Kathy and me it was spending the night In Beaver Creek, Yukon, wKathy in sub-zero Canadahere it was 40 below zero. Reminded me of growing up in Fairbanks, where it was often so cold your spit would freeze before it hit the ground.
       I’ve found that being a novelist isn’t all that much different from being a newspaper columnist, which I was for years. You never have enough time to enjoy being finished with one piece of writing, because you’re always at work on the next. Better than being unemployed, by a long shot, but still not entirely satisfactory.
       I really like Skeleton Lake, for reasons of craftsmanship as well as story-telling. It’s about events in three different time periods, and portrays Nik Kane as a teen-ager and a brand-new police detective, as well as his dogged, damaged older self. Just figuring out how to fit all that into the book without afflicting readers with terminal confusion was a challenge. You’ll learn a lot about Nik in this book; hopefully, as much as I learned about novels while writing it.
       Now, I’m back to writing about present-day Nik’s struggles with recent events, including the murder of an Alaska Native village corporation president at a homeless camp in Anchorage. The book takes Nik to Denali Park, then to a village on the Yukon River.
       Of course, that depends on me finishing the book and my publisher finding it acceptable. So I’d better get back to work. Later.

The Doogan family (from left):
son Matt, Mike, Kathy, daughter Amy,
son-in-law Joel Groves, dog-in-law Sam.
Site contents © 2008 Mike Doogan