Sunday, March 13, 2011

T. C. Boyle

T. C. Boyle's many novels include World's End (winner of the PEN/FaulknerAward), Drop City (a New York Times bestseller and finalist for the National Book Award), and the newly released When the Killing's Done.

From his Q & A with Alexandra Alter at the Wall Street Journal:

The Wall Street Journal: How did you come up with the idea for this novel?

Two things got me going. One, curiosity about [the wild and sparsely inhabited Channel Islands off the coast of Santa Barbara], which I’d never visited and could see right there off the coast. And two, all the newspaper articles about the tremendous controversy surrounding the actual events which I’ve dramatized… There was a guy who went out to Anacapa [island] to throw vitamin K and who also protested the pig killings.

Was part of the appeal for you the complexity and nuances of the conflict — that it involved two warring sets of nature lovers, rather than the usual battle between conservationists and developers?

There’s a real irony in that, particularly in the way I portrayed it. The meeting at which Alma is abused by Dave LaJoy happened. I read about it in the paper and wrote my version. The actual woman who was involved, who has become a friend, said that [the novel] gave her chills and nightmares because it was exactly how she had felt at the meeting.

I understand you did a lot of research out on the islands. What were the conditions like?

I travelled with biologists tagging dwarf foxes…It was like joining the Marine Corps. Up at five. Up and down these cliffs…It was wild.

Did you camp out there?

It’s a great story no one has heard yet. We were...[read on]
See--T.C. Boyle's 4 favorite books to turn to for comfort.

--Marshal Zeringue