Paul Dorion is a native Mainer and grew up loving the outdoors and the Maine woods and makes a living writing about it.
Knife Creek, Paul Doiron, Ernest Hemingway, Acadia National Forest, Sherlock Holmes
MRV: The Buzz, Your Outdoor Lifestyle Insider, Written By: Andrew Malo
Mystery Murder In Maine's Wilderness
Paul Dorion, Author Of Mystery Novel Knife Creek, Expresses His Connection With The Maine Outdoors And How It Has Inspired His Writing
“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” Those are the words of one of the greatest American writers of all time - Ernest Hemingway. One of Hemingway’s favorite subjects was man surviving in nature, something that he experienced as a person, travelling throughout the world, as well as his ranch in Idaho. The outdoors in his books have influenced the future writers in America and elsewhere.
Paul Dorion is one of these writers. “I’m a native Mainer and grew up loving the outdoors and the Maine woods,” Doiron says. Doiron spent his childhood in Maine around the outdoors, as well as having memories in the midwest with his grandparents. “My mother’s parents are from the Chicago area,” Doiron recalls, “and they had an RV so we would take that to Northern Wisconsin to go fishing.”
Doiron always felt he was going to be a writer and went to school for Creative Writing. He also has a love for Maine, so wanted to stay in his home state. He started working for Downeast magazine and became editor-in-chief, where he worked for a total of 14 years. “I worked for the magazine, but had a couple of things going on side, too,” explains Doiron. He became a certified registered Maine guide, which “was going to be my fallback if writing failed.” He left the magazine because “Downeast has a very optimistic view of Maine outdoors and, as a Native, I wanted to give more realistic perspective.” One of his main goals as a writer is to “give people a chance to see Maine through my writing who have never been here before.”
The character that Doiron is famous for, who is recurring in his mystery novels, is Mike Bowditch. Bowditch is a game warden in Maine who tends to get involved in murders and disappearances outside his jurisdiction, something Doiron picks up from real life. Before finding a character, though, Doiron had to find something to write about. “A lot of wannabe writers are faced with the same problem - what to write about,” chuckles Doiron. Doiron realized he has a knowledge that not many people have - the Maine outdoors. “I know the different ways the forest smells through the months, the trees and flowers, and I realized that’s something I want to write about.” He was interested in mysteries from a young age and decided on that genre to tell about the outdoors. “I was thinking of people that would be good to tell the story and I decided on game wardens. In Maine, game wardens are like state troopers - they get involved in everything,” Doiron explains. In his new novel, Knife Creek, Bowditch reopens a case after a gruesome find in the wilderness - a dead baby, who is presumed to be the baby of a woman who disappeared four years ago during a rafting trip. As he digs deeper, he realizes people are not what they seem.
Writer's writing habits are some of the most interesting aspects of authors, besides their work, of course. James Joyce wrote on his stomach in bed, Vladmir Nabokov only wrote on index cards, and the aforementioned Hemingway, a notable drunk, never drank when he wrote. Doiron’s habits are not as peculiar as these, but he does have a systematic way of writing. “I write about 5 hours a day in my office,” Doiron explains, “as a former Journalist, I know how to get things done.” He also reads and notes news about Maine and other places, particularly about the outdoors, to use in future stories. He doesn’t really do outlines, instead has an end goal and writes to achieve it, following whatever detours that come his way. “The first draft I just let it run wild,” Doiron chuckles, “and then I edit it back some.”
As mentioned, Doiron writes about the outdoors because he knows the outdoors, particularly of Maine. “When people think of Maine, they think of lighthouses and beautiful shorelines, which we have,” explains Doiron, “but we are also the most forested state.” His books are popular with Mainers because he writes about the inland Maine that many people hear about. Doiron himself lives in Camden, a picturesque town on the water that is midway between Acadia National Forest and Portland.
One of Doiron’s fondest pastimes is fishing, particularly fly fishing. “I was always a fisherman,” Doiron says, “I did baits and lure for a long time and was pretty happy with it. I hesitated for a long time getting into fly fishing because I knew I get really into it!” When he got into fly fishing, he realized how meditative the sport can be and speaks of it like a writer would. “It’s an experience that is very graceful, it is not about force and there has to be a smoothness of motion,” Doiron says, “We are fishing with a fly meant to imitate a tiny bug, sitting on the surface really gently, and the trout just come up from down below and explode out of the water.”
Doiron uses this love of the outdoors in his novels about Mike Bowditch. He says he’s fortunate to be able to write for a living, something he has always dreamed of doing, and be able to live in the picturesque town of Camden, Maine. His favorite novels? “I’m not sure if they're my favorites, but I love the old Sherlock Holmes books - so much fun and a great atmosphere,” he laughs.
A graduate of Northeastern Illinois University in Education, Andrew has taught for the past decade in Chicago, New Mexico, and Japan. He enjoys tinkering with trucks and motorcycles, woodworking, reading and computer programming.
Make Sure To Stay At:
Camden Hills State Park, which is atop Mt. Battie where sweeping views of Camden, Penobscot Bay, and surrounding islands await. On a clear day, visitors can see Cadillac Mountain at Acadia National Park. The park is located a few minutes north of Camden.