Felix J. Palma, author of The Map of Time, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Felix J. Palma

author of The Map of Time

Ten Terrifying Questions

———————–

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born in a city on the Southern Coast of Spain called “Sanlúcar de Barrameda”, known best as the starting point of Christopher Columbus’s third voyage to the New World, and for a wine with a colour like sunset called ‘Manzanilla’ or Chamomile. I grew up there and went to primary and secondary school, and I lived one of those lonely lost-in-thought childhoods essential to any writer. It was a quiet city with long summers, but distant from the cultural offering of bigger cities. For this reason I have lived abroad for the majority of my life.

Nací en una ciudad costera del sur de España, llamada Sanlúcar de Barrameda, conocida porque desde allí salió Cristóbal Colón en su tercer viaje y por un vino del color del atardecer denominado Manzanilla. Allí crecí y fui al colegio y al instituto, desliando una de esas infancias solitarias y ensimismadas imprescindibles para cualquier escritor. Era una ciudad tranquila, de largos veranos, pero alejada de las ofertas culturales de ciudades mayores, por lo que la mayor parte de mi vida he vivido fuera.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

I don’t remember what I wanted to be when I was twelve. There was though a time in my adolescence and before becoming a writer that I wanted to be a scriptwriter for the Marvel Comics that I was reading at the time. Some time later, seeking more modest and realistic opportunities, I decided to be a writer and began to fill pages with scribble. At 22 I managed to publish my first story in a magazine. At 30 I published my first book of stories and was transformed into a writer, in that by this time I didn’t want to be anything else.

A los doce no recuerdo qué quería ser, no me llega a tanto la memoria, pero hubo un momento de mi adolescencia en el que, antes de ser escritor, quería ser guionistas de cómics Marvel, que era lo que leía por entonces. Un tiempo después, buscando metas más modestas y realizables, decidí ser escritor y empecé a emborronar cuartillas, logrando publicar a los 22 mi primer relato en una revista. A los treinta publiqué mi primer libro de cuentos, es decir, me convertí en escritor, por lo que lo que ya no quería ser otra cosa.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

Well, at that time I had an unassailable faith in my own talent, something that I consider essential to success in the artistic world. This made me bet everything on making a reality my dream of supporting myself from writing, and I refused to support myself with any other job. Now, a great deal more humble, I have lost this blind faith in my talent, but luckily I can compensate for this with the experience I have gained over the years.

Bueno, por aquel entonces tenía una fe incombustible en mi talento, algo que considero primordial para abrirse camino en el mundo artístico. Eso hizo que lo apostara todo al sueño de vivir de mi escritura, rehusando cubrirme las espaldas con cualquier otro trabajo. Ahora, mucho más humilde, he perdido esa fe ciega en mi talento, pero por suerte puedo suplirla con la experiencia que he adquirido con los años.

4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

Julio Cortázar

I have absolutely no ear for music, and unfortunately can’t say that it has played an important role in my life. While I like to paint I have never felt so compelled as to learn about it in depth, so for my development as an author the most relevant influence has been books. There are many that have influenced me. The majority are fantasy novels written by Latin American or Anglo-Saxon authors. But if there was one book that widened my horizons they were the volumes of short stories written by the Argentinean Julio Cortázar.

Tengo un oído nulo para la música, por lo que desgraciadamente no puedo decir que haya ocupado un lugar relevante en mi vida, y sobre la pintura, aunque me gusta practicarla, nunca me he sentido tan atraído por ella como para conocerla a fondo, así que en mi desarrollo como autor la influencia más relevante han sido los libros. Son muchos los que me han influenciado, la mayoría de género fantástico, escritos por autores latinoamericanos o anglosajones. Pero si hubo un libro que ensanchó mis horizontes fueron los volúmenes de relatos del argentino Julio Cortázar.

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?

Since I was tiny I have loved telling stories; to move others with something I had invented. I could have chosen to develop them in any format, but I had no relationship with the world of cinema and did not draw well enough to tell my stories with illustrations. The only thing I had to hand was a typewriter, and it was banging on its keys that I tried to give my stories form. Interestingly, that’s what led me to read. I needed to see how others did it.

Desde muy pequeño me apasionaba contar historias, hacer que otros se emocionaran con algo que yo hubiese inventado. Podía haber escogido desarrollarlas en cualquier formato, pero no tenía ninguna relación con el mundo del cine y no dibujaba lo suficientemente bien como para contar mis historias en viñetas. Lo único que tenía a mano era una máquina de escribir, y fue aporreando sus teclas como intenté darles formas. Curiosamente, fue eso lo que me condujo a la lectura: necesitaba ver cómo lo hacían los demás.

6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

El mapa del tiempo or Map of Time is a story of time travel in the Victorian era. It takes place in London in 1896 and the protagonist is the writer H.G. Wells, who is involved in a series of mysteries related to to time travel in the wake of his publication of the novel The Time Machine. The story centres on a business which offers journeys to the future, and specifically to the year 2000.

El mapa del tiempo es una historia de viajes en el tiempo en la época victoriana, en concreto en el Londres de 1896, y está protagonizada por el escritor H. G. Wells, quien se ve envuelto en una serie de misterios relacionados con los viajes temporales a raíz de que, tras la publicación de su novela La máquina del Tiempo, aparece en Londres una empresa que ofrece viajes turísticos al futuro, en concreto al año 2000.

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

I have tried to write a novel about love and adventure that will keep the reader enthralled. Apart from entertainment, I would like to leave the reader with the idea that the imagination can make our lives more beautiful. This is the main idea of the novel.

He tratado de escribir una novela de amor y aventuras que mantenga cautivado al lector, pero a parte de hacerle pasar un rato entretenido, me gustaría que se quedara con la idea principal de la novela, la que la recorre subterráneamente: que la imaginación puede hacer nuestra vida más hermosa.

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

I admire many writers, but I will specifically mention the French writer Daniel Pennac, whose imaginative and versatile writing seems ideal when one wants to do away with complexities at the time of writing.

Admiro a muchos escritores, pero citaría al escritor francés Daniel Pennac, cuya escritura imaginativa y versatil me parece idónea si uno quiere despojarse de complejos a la hora de escribir.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

Since I started writing I have set goals and attempted to explore my limits as a writer. At the moment my primary ambition is to bring to fruition the fantasy trilogy I’m writing. Once I finish this, a new milestone will be pursued through another kind of novel. The argument of the book is already there in my mind, and will be very different from everything I have written so far.

Desde que empecé a escribir voy marcándome metas, intentando explorar mis límites como escritor. Ahora mi principal ambición es llevar a buen puerto la trilogía fantástica que estoy escribiendo. Una vez la termine, me mediré en otro tipo de novela, abordando un argumento que ya tengo en mente y que será muy distinto a todo lo que he escrito hasta ahora.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

That they ask themselves if they like to tell stories, and if they would tell them even if they had to do so in an empty theatre. This desire is essential when starting out in this craft because they can then enjoy doing something they love. The second piece of advice is that they ask themselves if they have a world-view interesting and individual enough for the task, because how well one writes depends most of all on the ability to appeal to readers by looking at the world from an original perspective.

Que se pregunten a sí mismos si les gusta contar historias, y si las contarían aunque tuvieran que hacerlo en un teatro vacío. Ese deseo es fundamental a la hora de embarcarse en este oficio porque entonces podrán disfrutar haciendo lo que más les gusta. Lo segundo que le aconsejarían es que se preguntaran si tienen una visión del mundo lo suficientemente interesante y personal, porque por muy bien que uno escriba, sobre todo debe atraer a los lectores observando el mundo desde una perspectiva original.

Felix, thank you for playing.

4 Responses

  1. I’m reading The Map of Time now, going through the third part. Looking forward to the other works by the author. Hello from Turkey

    Like

  2. I had high hopes. Alas this is not to say don’t read ‘A Map of Time’ for there is serious potential.

    Like

    • It is a most original fiction in the wake of H.G. Well’s worlds. An interesting contribution to the “time machine” series. The second book in his trilogy, “The Map of the Sky” is better yet. Yet you must read the first to get a full understanding of the second. A cheek-in-tongue thriller homaging not only Wells but Poe and other authors. Something to be read, really.

      Like

  3. [...] Felix J. Palma, author of The Map of Time, answers Ten Terrifying Questions (booktopia.com.au) [...]

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,160 other followers

%d bloggers like this: