Interview with Award-Winning Author Joe Borri

Reading your stories, I feel like I’m watching a movie. With Michigan’s new movie production tax incentive, is making any of your stories into a film right here in Michigan on the horizon?

First, let me tell you that I started out wanting to write screenplays, so I appreciate you saying that your reading experience was somewhat cinematic. I see stories like a movie playing in my head. Right now I’m in talks with an LA producer regarding several of the stories going to film, but it’s still in the discovery stage. I’m really trying to find a home for "Bow Season." Some groups have expressed interest in it, and I’ve got a screenplay already written for it. "Bow Season" is loosely based on a trip I took visiting one of my wife’s older uncle’s at his cabin Up North. It served as the spine of the story, but the story and characters took some turns that I didn’t see coming. Three cousins visit their widowed uncle at the end of his life, come across an old, silver white-tailed buck, an irascible Mennonite farmer and have a bow-hunting mishap. It even mirrors some of the attributes contained in the Biblical story of Esau. I guess that’s what happens when you write at 3 a.m! I’m hoping someone in the industry with roots in Michigan will read it and consider it for a Made-in-Michigan movie. I love this state and the people here. "Bow Season" would showcase so much of the beauty of Michigan and the way hunting is woven into its heritage.

The book has brought me an opportunity to connect with some people in the movie business. Dave Coulier (Full House), Mark Cendrowski (director) and Matt Servitto (The Sopranos) all went to the Notre Dame High like me, so we’ve had some correspondence. People from Michigan try to stick together. Friends always tell me to reach out to stars like Ted Nugent, Kid Rock or Jeff Daniels. Hey, Madonna spends a lot of time in Traverse City. Maybe if someone sends them a link to this, who knows—crazier things have happened.

Was bow season or deer hunting a part of your life growing up?

My father thought hunting was unsafe, so consequently, I didn’t shoot a gun or bow until I got to college. I went to school up in Marquette, at Northern Michigan University. I was a terrible outdoorsman as a couple of the stories in the book attest to (see, "Turtle Food" and "Leaving Copper Corner"). Not that I’m exactly Fred Bear now, but at least I know my way around guns, bows and fishing rods. My in-laws however, are incredible. Most of them are skilled shots and anglers. I learned a lot from them, watching how they went about preparation, hunter safety, etc. My brother-in-law, Nicolo and my father-in-law, Matteo, are dedicated outdoorsmen. Nick can catch fish in a puddle and my father-in-law can shoot an aspirin at fifty yards. Nick and I practiced a lot with our bows when I first married and I developed a real love for it. After my son was born, I stopped hunting and now spend my outdoor time fishing. I just don’t have the kind of time needed to stay sharp, and I think you owe it to the animals and your fellow hunters to be on point.

Read Borri’s short story, "Bow Season," excerpted from Eight Dogs Named Jack: And Fourteen Other Stories from the Detroit Streets and Michigan Wilderness. More information about the author and his artwork can be found at JoeBorri.net. Story reprinted with permission from the publisher, Momentum Books, LLC (C) 2007 by Joe Borri. The story has been edited from the original version for some strong language.

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