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Badlands Offer Good Inspiration for Writer's First Book

Tom Biel

Landscapes often serve as the inspiration for fiction.  Some even have names as evocative as their geology.

Wisconsin has its driftless region, but perhaps no setting has as intriguing a moniker as the rock formations, valleys, and buttes that make up the Badlands.

And so when Milwaukee writer Tom Biel set out to write his first book, he found the Badlands of his home state, Montana, were as rich to mine for metaphors as they are for dinosaur fossils.

The result is the new collection, Badlands.  The book consists of short stories, though they are all connected by the same characters and place. Protagonist Matthew Davis reflects on his formative years as an adult, recalling shenanigans with best friend Idaho Wells and the hurts he caused others.

Biel is a teacher in Milwaukee Public Schools and has also written four plays. He'll be doing a reading at Boswell Book Company tonight.

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