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Powell's Q&A

Dave Boling

Describe your latest project.
Guernica is a piece of historical fiction set in the Basque Country during the Spanish Civil War. The infamous bombing of the town is a key event, but the novel is really more of a story of family relations and individual courage in the face of unexpected adversity.

  1. Guernica: A Novel
    $7.95 Used Hardcover add to wishlist

    Guernica: A Novel

    Dave Boling
    "[A]bsorbing....[A] very good novel indeed — and a crucial reminder that genocidal folly is never as far away from us as we might wish." Kirkus Reviews

    "Boling is skillful with characters and dialogue, possessing a great sense of timing and humor..." Publishers Weekly

If someone were to write your biography, what would be the title and subtitle?
Apparently, Nothing Is Impossible.

What's the strangest or most interesting job you've ever had?
Before becoming a sports writer, I worked as a bartender, bouncer, short-order cook, ironworker, and logger. I worked in diverse places, from the steel mills and car factories of Chicago to the mountain-woods of northern Idaho.

Introduce one other author you think people should read, and suggest a good book with which to start.
My good friend Jess Walter is a spectacular novelist from Spokane. Citizen Vince may be the most entertaining mystery you could find, while The Zero (a National Book Award finalist) is an absolute genius insight into post-9/11 disorientation.

Offer a favorite sentence or passage from another writer.
"And it was at that age...poetry arrived in search of me."
—Pablo Neruda, "Poetry"

"He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish."
—Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

"...then all of a sudden this guy sitting in the row in front of me, Edgar Marsalla, laid this terrific fart."
—J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

Why do you write?
Really, I tried fiction to answer this question: "Wonder if I can do that?"

Aside from other writers, name some artists from whom you draw inspiration and talk a little about their work.
Picasso: Beauty doesn't have to be literal.

Hopper: Beauty is sometimes evident in its barest essence.

Monet: Sometimes it's all a matter of lighting.

Recommend five or more books on a single subject of personal interest or expertise.
Five books that I think provide the best and simplest examples of how to structure a novel.

The Long Valley by Steinbeck

The Centaur by Updike

The Red Badge of Courage by Crane

The Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway

The Fires of Spring by Michener

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A Chicago native, Dave Boling has been a journalist in the Pacific Northwest since 1980. He lives on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State.


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