5 Questions: John Nadler

One of the unique blogs I check regularly is Contemporary Nomad. A collection of authors from around the globe, it has a unique perspective and often unique content. Yesterday was a good example. Olen Steinhauer posted a short Q&A with fellow author and nomad John Nadler. Nadler’s latest work, A Perfect Hell : The True Story of the Black Devils, the Forefathers of the Special Forces, was released March 28 and only sat down with him to ask a few questions.

Here is a taste:

3. Reading A Perfect Hell, I was struck by the great sympathy you clearly have for the soldiers, and the respect you have for their experiences. The same is true in Searching for Sofia. It comes through in your word choice and the way you construct scenes and elaborate characters. Who do you think are your biggest influences as a writer?

As a teenager, I guess I was most influenced by the new journalists of the ’60s and ’70s: George Plimpton, Gay Talese, Peter Maas, Truman Capote, Jimmy Breslin, Tom Wolfe, and even Hunter Thompson, writers who pioneered the use of literary techniques to tell a non-fiction story. This technique seemed to create new vistas in journalism that even as a young guy I was really excited by. A fascinating sub-genre was the participatory journalism of Plimpton’s Paper Lion and Thompson’s Hells Angels, which inspired me in Searching for Sofia because circumstances demanded that I be part of the story. A Perfect Hell is straight narrative, but for me it was a fascinating writing experience because it was a literary non-fiction exercise, a journalistic exercise (based on my interviews with veterans), and a chance to try my hand at popular history.

I am sure Jeff will want to check this one out.

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).

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