Right, I'm back, it only lasted 5 minutes.
Anyway, today I'm joined by N E David, author of Spanish comedy Feria. This is a pivotal moment for the blog (unless I am mistaken and I often am!) NE is the first male author on the blog and I have to say, I quite liked his answers!
So, without further ado, check out what he had to say:-
Have you ever been to Spain and indeed the region you have written about?
Yes, in fact the book is based on a holiday my wife and I spent in Andalusia in 2006.
Does Spain fascinate you? I’m trying to understand why you would write about village life in Spain.
Spain has always interested me as a country. I love the language and I wanted to learn Spanish at school but I was in the wrong ‘stream’. I’m also a great fan of Hemingway who spent a lot of time there and wrote about it extensively. As a writer myself, I tend to see plots and stories lurking round every corner so it was only natural to come up with something after my trip.
If you’ve been to Spain, did you model any of the stereotypical characters on any police officers, government officials that you saw/met?
As I recall there was only the one – Carmen, the flamenco dancer. We were sat in bar and I noticed a blond-haired woman whose good-looking features were marred by a broken nose. I wondered how she’d acquired it, invented the answer for myself and so the character and some of the story was born.
Have you been to a ‘feria’ such as you depicted in the novella? If so, which elements did you enjoy best?
Absolutely! And I’m sure that was the inspiration for the book. Purely by accident, the week we chose to be there was the week of their annual feria and we simply got caught up in it. I think what I liked about it most was how it brought everyone in the town together – from the youngest to the oldest, the whole community celebrated as one. It’s something you would rarely see here.
There is a lot of humour, (slapstick, bawdy) in the novel. Were you actively aiming for buffoonery?
Yes, totally. It’s a more than a comedy, it’s a farce – you can’t confuse it with anything else. There’s nothing subtle about the humour and you don’t have to think too hard when you read it – which I hope is what makes it enjoyable for the reader.
My only complaint is that it’s a novella and not a novel. I wanted more! Didn’t you think you could introduce more characters and make it into a full-length novel?
No, that has never occurred to me. I sketched out the plot on the plane on the way home, wrote it in six weeks, said what I wanted to say and that was that. It also fitted nicely into the series of works of that length I was writing at the time.
I liked the love story and the moral of the story in the ending. Did you always know this was how it was going to be, or did that part of the ending creep up on you?
When I write a piece I actually tend to have the ending in mind more than the beginning. Although beginnings are important (you have to engage the reader from the start) what you eventually leave your reader with is the ending. Personally, I find weak endings infuriating so I try not to inflict them on my readership by carefully planning them in advance.
Was Feria your first work? If not, tell us a bit about your other works.
I began, as so many of us do, with short stories but I found the form constrained me and I needed something longer in order to express myself fully. Feria is an example of that. I couldn’t tell that story in anything shorter but it doesn’t warrant any more. I have two other stories of the same length in print, both totally different. One deals with the relationship between a father and his estranged daughter while the other is a gritty crime drama.
Do you intend to continue to write in this non-mainstream humorous genre? Or could you see yourself switching genres?
No, Feria was a one-off in that sense – it was only ever intended as a bit of fun. And although it’s probably a great disadvantage, up until now I haven’t tended to think of myself as writing in a ‘genre’. I write what I want and let other people decide where it ‘fits’. My only objective has been to entertain the reader. Having said that, the work you will see from me in the future is likely to be progressively more serious and tend toward the ‘literary’ rather than anything else.
What are you working on now and should we expect any further Spanish-themed works?
I have nothing more Spanish planned at the moment. My intention over the next six months is to convert my two other novellas into ebooks and hopefully broaden my readership. I have recently completed my first full-length novel, Birds of The Nile, and I’m hoping to have this in print for 2013. As the title suggests, it’s set in Egypt and deals with the relationship between three totally different people against the background of the recent revolution. It’s a serious piece of work and will hopefully set the trend for what is to come.
Any Spanish heroes/heroines? They can also be Latin American!
Believe it or not, I had a Zorro outfit as a kid.
I’ve mentioned Hemingway so let’s stick with him.
Actors you would choose to play the Police Chief and the Mayor if Feria were made into a film
The Mayor is unquestionably Alfred Molina. As for the Police Chief, I’m afraid I don’t know any overweight, unshaven Spanish actors!
Favourite Spanish dish
Has to be Paella – but with chicken and chorizo sausage.
Favourite Spanish wine
I’m not an expert. Rioja is the obvious choice.
Favourite place in Spain, if you’ve been
The Alhambra Palace in Granada is amazing – it has the most romantic atmosphere imaginable. In the shadow of a tree in one of the gardens in the moonlight ... I defy anyone not to fall in love with it. If you want to find out more about it, visit my blog page called Hola!
Anything you enjoy on TV and do you prefer British or American TV?
My favourite regular TV programme is ‘Law and Order’. I also enjoy ‘Doc Martin’ for something more light-hearted. I always look forward to a good drama and I’ve just started watching ‘Parade’s End’ which promises to be enthralling.
Which genres do you read?
Literary fiction, I guess, writers such as Ian McEwan and Julian Barnes.
What are your hobbies and do you have any unusual ones?
In my blog about my Summerhouse I’ve confessed to having a love affair with wood and I enjoy making things out of it. I’m also a keen bird-watcher which is something that gets me out into the countryside.
Do you have any new year’s resolutions you make and break? If not, what non-writing challenge would you like to set yourself and achieve?
No! I studiously avoid new year’s resolutions. ‘God laughs at those who make plans’. Having said that, I’d love to go to Morocco and climb the Atlas Mountains in search of its birdlife. Maybe next year ...
Well, thanks NE, not sure if I am allowed to reveal your name, in case you are used as fodder for a quiz show in the future! What does the JRR stand for in JRR Tolkien, for example, so will keep schtum!
You can keep up with NE David at http://www.nedavid.com/
or follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/NEDavidAuthor
and of course, you can buy Feria using the links below.
See y'all Sunday for the final Six Sentence Sunday from The Dating Game. Don't miss it!