miércoles, 16 de abril de 2014

Cristina Jurado interviews Juan de Dios Garduño

Once more, our beloved collaborator Cristina Jurado brings us an extremely interesting inteview. This time, she chats with the Spanish horror author Juan de Dios Garduño, whose novel Y pese a todo is being adapted into a movie. This interview was previously published in the miNatura magazine and you can read it in Spanish on Cristina's wonderful blog Más Ficción Que Ciencia. We thank miNatura and Cristina for letting us reproduce it here. Hope you enjoy it!


Striking fear into our hearts: An interview with Juan de Dios Garduño 



Juan de Dios Garduño is a writer born in Seville thirty something years ago who has built his personal playground from horror literature. He is a member of Nocte (Spanish Association of Horror Authors), and has published several novels: El arte sombrío (which inaugurated the Stoker imprint in Dolmen), Y pese a todo (Dolmen), Apuntes Macabros (23 Escalones), El camino de baldosas amarillas (Tyrannosaurus Books) and El Caído (Entrelíneas Ed.)

Books have always surrounded him. Starting a few years back, he has embarked in the publishing world thanks to the imprint Palabras de Agua. Prior to that, he studied to become a librarian and worked in publishing houses such as Planeta. Author of many forewords for numerous literary projects, his short stories populate the pages of some of the most prominent anthologies. He has also acted as jury for numerous literary contests, so one could question if Garduño sleeps or, rather like a creature of his own invention, always holds a vigil. We have been very fortunate to contact him when he was just back from a trip to Prague, where an international team is filming a movie based on his novel Y pese a todo.


“Fear attracts us, only if we control the situation”



Cristina Jurado: The first question is a very direct one. Why are you in love with fear? What is it in something threatening or frightening -something we rather run away from- that attracts and repels us at the same time?

Juan de Dios Garduño: I believe fear attracts us, only if we control the situation. Nobody would like an assassin to enter his home to try to kill him, even if they fail. Nevertheless we love to “live” those situations through literature, cinema or videogames. I like to feel frightened, only if fear is “controlled” somehow, if we can close the book and get out from a story that is getting into us, if we can exit the cinema and have a drink or, simply, if we can push a button from our game system and go out to buy bread.

CJ: I’m obsessed with knowing the creative process of all authors I interview for miNatura. How do you shape your stories? Do you have a method?

JDG: I’m the most chaotic writer you can imagine. Sometimes I have an outline. Some others, I don’t. Sometimes I produce a character “bible”. I can write every day for three straight weeks, and then stop for a month. I need total silence or to listen to movie soundtracks. I’m a complete chaos!

CJ: Horror literature drinks from the fountain of human frustrations, from the deepest and most shameful desires, from feelings like guilt, and from emotions as the fear of pain and the unknown. What do you think it’s needed to create believable characters in a good horror story?

JDG: The most important thing is for characters to have a personality with well-defined features. You have to be faithful to the character, writing what he or she would likely do and not what you would do. Characters never must be mere puppets, they need to be alive. Many people laugh at this rather obvious statement, but it’s the truth. Characters must surprise even the author who has created them. They must make decisions that the omnipotent and almighty narrator might not see coming.


“Readers are realizing we have as many good quality writers as other markets”



CJ: In El Camino de Baldosas Amarillas, released by Tyrannosaurus Books, musician and writer Félix Royo created a soundtrack for the book, so the story can be read with a tailored musical setting. How was this multifaceted project born? Do you believe new formulae are needed to bolster horror in our country?

JDG: I worked with Félix before in a book-trailer and I thought (and still think) he is a very talented musician. When the novel was finished, I contacted him to see if he was interested in doing an original soundtrack about it.

I believe we need to look for new formulae to boost horror. We are working on it. Anyhow, horror authors are more respected now than when I started.

CJ: In relation to the previous question, I would like to know what do you think about new editorial initiatives (crowdfunding, co-publishing and self-publishing). Do you think they are beneficial or detrimental for this type of literature?

JDG: I believe everything is respectable. Everyone should be able to publish as he or she wants or can. I took my way and I’m still here. What I don’t like is to see people preaching from pulpits, thinking they hold the absolute truth. If you like a particular method to publish, it does not mean it would work for others.

CJ: What do you think about fantasy literature in Spain? Specifically, what’s up with horror?

JDG: It’s really sad that we are in the midst of a profound crisis, because never before Spanish authors had so many opportunities as now to succeed. Today there are big publishing houses backing up local writers. Not only two or three are getting published and not always the same ones. Readers are realizing we have as many good quality writers as other markets. We only need to have an opportunity to showcase ourselves. And we are doing it.

CJ: Surely you have been asked many times about which fantasy authors have influenced your work. I personally believe that authors from outside the genre, influencing a given writer, reveal even more. In your case, who are they?

JDG: I hope Charles Dickens, Torcuato Luca de Tena or Mark Twain.

CJ: One of your novels, Y pese a todo, has been adapted to the big screen and is being filmed as we speak under the title Welcome to Harmony with a famous cast. Mathew Fox (Perdidos) and Jeffrey Donovan (J. EdgarLaw & Order) play the main characters,  Miguel Ángel Vivas (Kidnapped) directs it, and Vaca Films and Ombra Films are producing it. What has been the journey of the story from the time you wrote it until the filming was confirmed? Are you involved in the movie?

JDG: I’m not involved in the movie. I did not write the screenplay. Everything started when Miguel Ángel Vivas was looking for his new project and came across my book. He liked it a lot and then spoke to the producers to buy the rights. The production company blindly trusted his judgment, so they called my editors to get the rights. That was at the end of 2010 and, after many ups and downs, they are filming now.

This is the moment I would like to ask you for some quick answers to these questions:

CJ: Star Wars or Star Trek?

JDG: Star Wars.

CJ: Fast food or home made food?

JDG: I gravitate a lot towards fast food but, luckily, Ana is guiding me well.

CJ: If you had to choose to be a character from a movie, which one would it be?

JDG: I’ll be a geek: Frodo.

CJ: Can you tell as the worst book you ever read?

JDG: I’m sorry to say that I was very disappointed with Off Season by Jack Ketchum, even though I wouldn’t say it’s the worse I have read.

CJ: And the best book you ever read?

JDG I am Legend, by Richard Matheson.

CJ: Which type of music you like to listen?

JDG: Mainly, soundtracks.

CJ: 3D cinema, yes or not?

JDG: It depends on the movie, but I usually don’t watch movies in 3D.

CJ: If you had to choose to have a super-power, which one would it be?

JDG: To fly.

We would like to thank Juande for agreeing to this interview, even though we know about his hyper-busy schedule. We are sure his future will be brighter than the desolated landscapes he recreates in his stories, and hope he will continue frightening us until we drop dead.

About Cristina Jurado: Cristina Jurado Marcos writes the sci-fi blog Más ficción que ciencia. Having a degree in Advertising and Public Relations by Universidad de Seville and a Masters in Rhetoric by Northwestern University (USA), she currently studies Philosophy for fun. She considers herself a globetrotter after living in Edinburgh, Chicago, Paris or Dubai. Her short stories have appeared in several sci-fi online magazines and anthologies. Her first novel From Orange to Blue was published in 2012.

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