“Living in peace is possible, but we humans are blind to the opposite”


“You will be dignified and honest”, “you will never give up” and “you will take care of others as well as yourself” are some of the “commandments” that the author, who has sold over ten million books and has been writing, tries to to fulfill his sixth novel

Impressed as a child by his first ride on the back of a wooden horse on a village carousel to the beat of a player piano, Jorge Amado didn’t have to think about being home: a table to eat, a bed for sleeping and a typewriter. Born in Puertollano in 1964 and based in Cartagena since the 1990s, the writer María Dueñas has been traveling the world for years since she accompanied literary success after ‘The Time Between the Seams’. To feel at home, breathe easy; temperance is his faithful shieldmaiden. His latest novel, Sira, has rediscovered Sira Quiroga, a name well-known to millions of readers. This summer he will continue writing his sixth novel. Derek Walcott writes in ‘The Abundance’: “There is nothing but the sun at the end of the street and a hot sea between the crumbling houses.” How different it would be, and how lucky she was to be waiting for you at the end of the street.

– What summer could not forget?

– From those from my childhood, slow warm days, siblings, pool, salmorejo, watermelon and ‘dolce far niente’. I usually associate summers with good times.

– What do you do with bad experiences?

– Keep them in the back of memory, it is not convenient to forget them. We can draw interesting lessons from almost all of them.

– The best thing about the girl she was?

– The wonderful parents I had, and the desire to go out into the wide world.

– What’s left of her today?

– Most. I lost my parents, but their legacy remains intact. And I’m constantly looking at the world.

– What about the woman you were when you had your two children?

– There remains the sense of responsibility and the lasting pleasure of knowing that my children exist.

– Convinced of what?

– That almost everything has a possible solution, no matter how difficult it sometimes seems.

– How stubborn?

– What is fair and necessary, when it comes to something that really matters to me.

– Have you imagined your life today: the international success, the fruits of your novels, the travels…?

– No, I always stayed focused on the present and never fantasized about what the future would bring.

– Do you miss anything from your time as a university professor?

– Share opinions and criteria, row in the same direction with other people. Writing is much lonelier and although I deal well with loneliness, there are times when I long for that close contact with my former colleagues.

– Do you recognize yourself today when you look in the mirror?

– Naturally. I am the same as always, although some mornings my image tends to be the opposite of me.

– What do you say when you get up?

– Here we go, honey…

– How do you usually end the day?

– Reading in bed.

– Your great pleasure?

– A ‘dry martini’ with three olives at the end of a profitable working day.

– That mania that haunts her…?

– I can’t stand that something is skewed or askew, I go through life to reposition everything.

– You insist that you are not romantic…

– …zero romantic, I’ll leave that to the Disney movies.

– What upsets you?

– People who waste what they have, in every way: talent, resources, luck…

– If it explodes, what should the people around you do?

– Get out of the way!

– Why did you give up?

– To systematically go to the gym.

– And what did she want to surprise herself with?

– With my striving not to use myself as leverage; stay active, dynamic, enthusiastic about new plans and projects, in the present and on the horizon.

– What do you enjoy in your daily life?

– The first coffee in the morning, slowly and silently, planning the day, listening to the radio and reading the press on the iPad.

– What are you going to do this summer?

– Rest and work, halfway through. I’ve had an intense spring and a busy fall awaits me, I need to do some writing and recharge my batteries.

– What are you refusing?

– To feel compelled to do what I don’t like, don’t feel like, or don’t care about. To serve as a vase or entertainment, to get out of other people’s cakes.

– What are your ‘commandments’?

– You will try to respect and be respected, you will be dignified and honest, you will not create unnecessary problems, you will not consciously harm, you will never give up, you will watch over others as well as yourself…

– Why is María Dueñas a lynx?

– Pack wisely. I inherited it from my mother. I always wear just enough and in the necessary order, I almost never have anything left or missing.

– And why is he awkwardly recognized?

– I sing with sorrow, although I would like to have a good voice, a good ear, sense of rhythm and grace.

– What kind of mother are you?

– I try to be involved without overpowering, in treatment without making too much effort.

– What does elegance consist of?

-In a certain attitude to the world, which is articulated in very different ways.

– Melibea’s father says: ‘Blessed love are those who know you not’. How has it been for you?

– Good.

– Where were you happy?

– In almost all I’ve been through, one way or another.

– Where does he return with joy?

– To Tetouan and Tangier. And to the United States.

– What advice did they give you that you don’t forget?

– My father, when suddenly literary success sprang: «A cool head and feet on the ground».

– When did you discover that life is not easy?

– When black luck began to claw mercilessly at loved ones.

– How do you relax?

– With a long afternoon on the couch, a good book, a good series…

– What makes you in a good mood?

– Make Calamaro sound suddenly.

– Which book changed your life?

– ‘The green bird’, a first-year EGB school textbook. Since then, I’ve had proof that reading is a wonderful thing.

– How’s your coexistence with Sara Quiroga going after so many things lived together?

– Smooth and organic, excellent, it made it very easy for me.

– Why is your literature a phenomenon worthy of study and applause?

– Because the readers have wanted it that way, and I am immensely grateful to them for that.

– Who is the enemy?

– Laziness, sloth, resignation, sloth, conformism…

– Which last puddle did he end up in?

– I’ve been working a lot in the audiovisual world lately, with several ongoing projects. Some are adaptations of my novels and other original projects that I have plunged into with great enthusiasm.

– Is there an afterlife?

– It would be divine, but I doubt it.

– What are you looking forward to?

– May my new novel progress well. May everything be on track in the lives of my loved ones. Stop the war in Ukraine.

– What would you ask the witches in Macbeth?

– Nothing, I don’t like omens or prophecies. I’d rather the future unfold unforeseen, in its own way.

– What music do you usually accompany?

– A ‘playlist’ full of old glory, under which C. Tangana suddenly appears.

– Which deductible is not allowed?

– Rest on my laurels.

– Right, center, left?

– Password.

– What do you do with your fears?

– I swallow my fears with potatoes and I play bravely.

– Are there recurring dreams?

– I have driven a lot, since I was very young, but sometimes I dream that I am sitting in the passenger seat and the one who is driving -I never know who it is- suddenly disappears and I have to get behind the wheel, not knowing how to to do. After a painful moment I manage to park without crashing.

– Are you taking a nap?

– Small amount.

– Vegetarian?

– Nerd. What would I do without the rich ham?

– Where will we never find her?

– In the middle of a noisy crowd.

– What is nobody imagining about you?

– I take very little seriously many things that seem important from the outside.

– What’s the strangest thing that happened to you?

– I was introduced as honorary godmother of the Spanish Bonsai Association.

– What to do with Don Juan Carlos I?

– Return it to Spain and remove it discreetly before it’s too late. That Abu Dhabi thing seems surreal to me.

– Which derivatives of our country are you concerned about?

– Education that never stands up.

– Do we have a boat?

– We have friends with a boat.

– Do you dive?

– Five seconds while I take a bath in the Mediterranean.

– Who did you meet and was it a pleasure?

– Lately to the new United States Ambassador to Spain, Julissa Reynoso, an admirable woman.

– What has a reader said to you and moved you?

– More than one reader, that “The Time Between the Seams” was the first book she read in her life, and from then on she was addicted to reading.

– What are you not used to yet?

– Rude people. To ignorance and voluntary ignorance. To those who only talk and talk about themselves. For those who park in the summer where it comes from the soul.

– Are you clear as John Donne that the bells are ringing for everyone?

– Naturally. Individually we are very few.

– What artwork would save a world in flames?

– Michelangelo’s ‘La Piedad’, so that human tenderness and pain are always remembered.

– The best life has given you?

– A great big family.

– How has the pandemic changed you?

– It has changed my view on some things, I put almost everything into perspective, and it is becoming increasingly clear to me that time and energy should not be wasted on unnecessary nonsense.

– Is Putin crazy?

– Mad with malice; there are also good fools, but this wretch is not among them.

– Which novel character would you like to be?

– I wouldn’t mind getting into Sira’s skin for a while. Go camouflaged to Palestine, work with the BBC in London, meet Eva Perón, rent a beautiful house with garden in legendary Tangier of the 1940s…

– Is it possible to live in peace?

– I’m sure it is, but we humans are blind to the opposite.

– What do you recognize that you also do?

– Welcome people to my house.

– What’s sadder than three sad tigers?

– Someone spends his life changing channels for the TV. Don’t aim for anything. Accompany a good meal with a glass of water.

– Paranormal experiences?

– I wait for the characters in my novels to greet me on the street one day.

– Your ideal evening?

– A dinner with nice people, which makes for interesting conversations and some laughter while we eat delicious things and drink good wine.

– Would it start all over again?

– Not really!

– What are you writing?

-My sixth novel. And a script, in collaboration, that I hope to finish soon.

Source: La Verdad


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