For the last few weeks I’ve brought you some writers whose main work is in Spanish but who have had some of their novels translated to English. I thought it would be interesting to get a different perspective on the business of writing, and it would be an opportunity to meet across the borders of language.
Today I bring you a writer whom I’ve also met in a variety of social media platforms and when I got to check his writing, I was impressed by his background and the variety and number of publications, some more directly related to his studies and profession but others not so much.
And without further ado:
Mario Escobar Golderos (Madrid, Spain) has a degree in History, with an advanced studies diploma in Modern History. He has written numerous books and articles about the Inquisition, the Protestant Reformation, and religious sects. He is the executive director of an NGO and directs the magazine Nueva historia para el debate, in addition to being a contributing columnist in various publications. Passionate about history and its mysteries, Escobar has delved into the depths of church history, the different sectarian groups that have struggled therein, and the discovery and colonization of the Americas. He specializes in the lives of unorthodox Spaniards and Americans. Books:
The Circle an Amazon Bestseller Europe in the category of suspense.
When and how did you start writing?
The truth is that I’ve always enjoyed writing. When I was a child I started writing plays for my school and writing fairy tales to submit to competitions. When I was a teenager I carried on writing. For me, becoming a writer was a dream, but I never thought I would manage.
Describe your experience as an independent writer.
The truth is that I consider myself a mixed writer (or hybrid as others call them), as I still publish some of my books with publishing companies such as HarperCollins, Stella Maris or Edelvives. Publishing independently has allowed me to have more control over the process and more economic stability.
What’s the moment that has had more significance for you (up to date) of your career as a writer:
When two of my readers told me they had become writers after reading my books. Such is the magic of writing and books.
What made you think about getting your books translated?
I’ve always liked to play hard and bet big. I prefer to take risks and make mistakes than never try. I found a great translator, my book in English is better than the Spanish version, and I thought I should give it a try.
So far things have been going well, although it is a bit soon to know what the overall result will be.
What was the process like, when trying to find a translator?
The most difficult think is looking for and finding a good translator. We shouldn’t forget that it is a big investment. To look for a good translator is not cheap. I’ve found one of the best ones. And then you must have a lot of faith in your book.
In my case, the same person had translated one of my books ‘Francisco’ (Francis, his book about the new Pope) for the publishing company Harper Collins, and I was so happy with the results that I offered her to translate what would become The Circle.
Could you tell us what your books mean to you?
My books are a gift I love to give to my readers. I enjoy them whilst I’m writing them, but what I wish for the most is that the readers will enjoy them too. Especially those who are away from their family, country or community; I hope my books will keep them company in the hard journey of life.
Any advice for your fellow writers (especially new writers)?
That you have to do a good job, believe in yourself and not pull any punches. The most important thing is to never give up, to be constant and persevere and to keep improving little by little.
Here are a few links so you can find out even more about Mario.
And now, his book:
From Amazon’s Top 100 Books sold in the USA, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Mexico and Spain.
Soon to be adapted for the big screen.
A debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people’s lives.
“After the hit saga Misión Verne and The Cloud, Mario Escobar sweeps us up in a riveting adventure set against the backdrop of the financial crisis, the dark nooks and crannies of power, and the city of London.”
Comments from readers on Amazon:
“This is an entertaining read, a really interesting story full of intrigue. When I got to the ‘To Be Continued’ spot, I was on the edge of my seat waiting for the second part… Good thing it’s ready now so I can keep reading.”
“This one grabs you from the very beginning. It’s enjoyable and light but captivating. It’s an easy read, and you learn history as you go. I highly recommend it. It really draws you in.”
“It’s got a dynamic, well-constructed plot. I totally recommend it. It’s so current day. It’s a quick read, and you don’t feel the time going by. It draws you in right away.”
“One breathless night to save his family and discover the mystery locked inside his patient”
The plot of the novel The Circle:
Famous psychiatrist Solomon Lewin has left his humanitarian work in India to serve as the chief psychiatrist at the Center for Psychological Illnesses located in London’s Square Mile financial district. Though well paid, the job is monotonous, and Solomon is also going through a rough patch in his marriage with Margaret. He begins scrutinizing the more mysterious cases of the center’s long-term residents hoping to find something worth his time. When he comes across the chart of Maryam Batool, a young broker from London who has lived in the center for seven years, his life will change forever.
Maryam Batool is an orphan from Pakistan who became one of the most promising female employees of the financial institution General Society, but in the summer of 2007, at the start of the financial crisis, the young broker loses her mind and tries to kill herself. Since then she has been stuck, able only to draw circles yet unable to understand their meaning.
A snowstorm looms over the city at the start of the Christmas holidays. Before Christmas Eve dinner, Solomon receives an urgent call from the center to come at once: Maryam has attacked a nurse and seems to be awakening from her long stupor.
Solomon heads downtown in the snow, clueless that this will be the most difficult night of his life. The psychiatrist does not trust his patient, the police are after them, and his family seems to be in danger. The only way to protect himself and those he loves is to discover what “The Circle” is and why everyone seems to want his patient dead. It’s a surprise ending and a mystery you won’t believe.
What is hiding in the City of London? Who is behind the biggest business center in the world? What is the truth behind “The Circle”? Can Solomon save his family?
Here Mario replies to a few questions about the book:
What did writing The Circle mean for you?
It was a delightful surprise. It was my first suspense novel. I’d already written several intrigue novels, and I thought suspense would be even more exciting. In suspense, the readers suffer almost as much as the characters themselves. The Circle has all the marks of a detective story. The reader doesn’t know the truth until right at the end.
Why did you set the book in London’s Square Mile?
Tax havens are one protagonist in our current worldwide financial crisis. London is the world’s largest financial center, and it holds a lot of secrets, just like the protagonist of my novel.
What should the reader expect from this new book?
An avalanche of suspense. A major dose of intrigue and action but also the inner workings of a family struggling to fit in with their surroundings. A marriage that’s not working. Disdain for boring daily life that, after all, turns out to be the most important thing we’ve got. The personal demons of a world that has no idea where it’s headed. Solomon faces countless moral dilemmas, like judging people too quickly, recognizing he can’t defeat evil by himself, and understanding that Evil with a capital “E” has a name and a face.
Why does it take place in the middle of a snowstorm right on Christmas Eve?
The storm is another protagonist in the plot. In some ways it’s a symbol of the internal turmoil of the characters. This is not a novel of good guys vs. bad guys. It reflects the complexity of being human, our contradictions and how we face them. The Circle has reached tens of thousands of readers from Germany to Australia, Latin America to Spain, because, at our core, we’ve all got the same fears and hopes. We’re all part of this big family called Earth.
Here a video for ‘The Circle’
Here one of the reviews:
….Little did Solomon know what he was getting into!
It was the summer of 2007 in London. Maryam Batool, a Muslim orphan, was a very successful stockbroker. All she cared about was money. Upon turning on the TV she heard that three American banks had declared bankruptcy.
Fast forward a few years to the London Center for Psychological Illnesses, located in the Square Mile where we meet Solomon Lewin, the new chief psychiatrist of the center. Having spent ten years in Calcutta, him and his family just moved back five weeks ago. He is not expecting much excitement in the job, having the opinion that the wealthy prove boring. Most of his clients are white males aged 35-45, leading arrogant and almost insufferable empty lives.
In his attempt to free up some beds just five days before Christmas, his eyes catch a report on a patient who has been there the longest. Who is this patient? Maryam Batool! She was committed in August 2007 after several suicide attempts. She no longer communicates except to say one single phrase, “The Circle”. John the previous, now retired, chief psych tells Solomon to leave Maryam alone as there is no solution but Solomon is intrigued.
Frustrated with his home life and rambunctious kids even though he still loves his wife, Margaret, he decides to work from home on Christmas Eve. Totally surprised when he gets a call in the early evening from the center saying that Maryam has attempted suicide again! Apparently there was a visitor claiming to be her sister? This is the second visitor in a week! Returning to the center Solomon starts getting suspicious when the receptionist is not at her desk nor does there appear to be anyone else around. Why won’t the light switch on? What is going on? This is followed by a phone call from his house from someone claiming to be from Scotland Yard’s Fraud Squad?
Hopefully this is enough to whet your appetite. The above is truly only the beginning in this fast paced thriller. It gets a LOT more interesting and dangerous as Solomon tries to figure out the truth of who is telling the truth and who is lying. What does Maryam know/have that she cannot remember? Does she have both Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Post Traumatic Amnesia?
VERY clever story. All I can say about the ending is “Oh my goodness!” I will say if you like books with happy endings then don’t read this one! It is a well-written story and just the right length for the time involved. It keeps you gripped and not wanting to put the book down.
Language – mild
Sexual content – none
Violence – plenty!
I was given a complimentary Kindle copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. That’s what’s above! Thanks, Liz
And Mario informed me that there is a special offer on The Circle available now
In case any of you speak Spanish, I leave you a link to a fascinating podcast where Blanca Miosi, another one of my guests, interviewed Mario Escobar. I leave you both the link and the interview direct. It’s a very interesting series where every week there’s a new author, so if you’re confident with your Spanish, it’s a great way to meet new people.
Thanks so much to Mario Escobar for this great interview, thanks to all of you for reading, and you know, like, share, comment, and CLICK!
Olga Núñez Miret