Tag Archives: police procedural

#Interviewsintranslation. Mo de la Fuente (@ModelaFuente) and THE QUIET ISLAND

Hi all:

I’ve been promising you for a while that I’d be back with some more interviews to writers who had had their books translated to English. But summer can be a very busy season, not only in the writing department but also with school holidays, personal things, etc, so there has been some understandable delay.

Finally today I bring you Mo de la Fuente.  My confession… I was the one to translate her book. I have appended my review at the end, although this is my review of the novel in Spanish (I don’t comment on the quality of the translation. Mo has been kind enough to tell me that she has enjoyed the English version too, and I recommend the story wholeheartedly).

Mo told me she couldn’t find any pictures she liked of herself (although I can tell you I like all her pictures), so….

The Quiet Island by Mo de la Fuente. Translated by Olga Núñez Miret
The Quiet Island by Mo de la Fuente. Translated by Olga Núñez Miret

 

When and how did you start writing?

I had always written short stories because I didn’t have the patience required for a novel. When I got the idea for my first book Ojalá Paula (Hopefully, Paula) I realised that it was time to sit down quietly in front of the computer and dedicate to the story a bit longer than just a few hours.

Describe briefly your experience as an independent author:

I imagine that my story is that of most independent writers. After sending my manuscript to many publishing companies and having it rejected, Amazon seemed to be a good way to share what I do. The main problem I’ve had is promoting the novel, because sometimes one has to make hard choices between carrying on writing or dedicating one’s time to marketing and selling the books. The advantage: the freedom to write what you want within the deadline you choose for yourself. Zero pressure.

The moment that I remember with the most affection (until now) in all my experience as a writer is the first positive review of my book and, of course, the many hours I spend writing.

Favourite genre:

I don’t have a favourite genre. I’m a compulsive and eclectic reader. I read almost everything.

What made you decide to translate your work? And what process did you follow to find a translator?

I decided to translate the novel because my sales were increasing day by day in the United Kingdom. When it was time to choose a translator I chose Olga Núñez Miret because she had the characteristics I was looking for: a writer in her own right and one who lived in the United Kingdom.

Tell us a little bit about your novel.

The Quiet Island is a police procedural story with a very singular backdrop, a magnificent island close to Alicante, and I think the profile of the protagonists is pretty unique too. The public have particularly liked the character of Mónica Esteller, sub inspector in the case, with a troubled past that is slowly uncovered throughout the novel.

Any advice for fellow writers (especially new writers).

I don’t think I’m the best person to give any advice other than to enjoy writing and to keep your feet firmly on the ground at the moment of publishing. What I mean is: it’s difficult to live of your writing. It’s likely that one’s favourite book struggles to find any readers but, what does it matter? Apart from any success of sales, a true writer will never be able to stop writing, so, let’s enjoy it!

Links to connect and follow Mo:

The page of her books in Amazon:

https://www.amazon.es/s/ref=dp_byline_sr_ebooks_1?ie=UTF8&text=Mo+de+la+Fuente&search-alias=digital-text&field-author=Mo+de+la+Fuente&sort=relevancerank

Blog: http://ojalapaula.blogspot.com.es/

Twitter: @ModelaFuente

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mo.delafuente

And here, the description of the novel and my own review:

As dawn breaks, the usual calm of a tiny quiet Mediterranean island is shattered by the news. A teenage girl has gone missing. Inspector Villanueva, temporarily transferred to the island, and sub-inspector Esteller must fight against the elements, the lack of resources, and their own demons to solve the mystery of what happened in a place where nothing ever does.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01FPBRFDS/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01FPBRFDS/

My review. An island, a Mystery and Unforgettable Characters.

I don’t read exclusively a single genre, although I freely admit that I like thrillers and I read quite a few of them. In part because they are like a puzzle we try to solve thanks to the clues the text gives us, in part because I like to see how the writer manages to bring something new to the genre. And for me, no matter what type of story I’m reading, finding interesting characters I can connect with it’s the most important thing.

This novel takes place in the in the small island of Tabarca, in the Mediterranean, off the shore of Alicante. As several of the reviews of the book note, reading the novel makes one want to visit it, because of the wonderful descriptions of the peace and quiet, the thought of a place with no cars, without pollution, and calm. In such a small place, where everybody knows everybody else (apart from the tourists, of course) and where nothing ever happens, a girl’s disappearance is an event that upsets everyone. And when Clara turns up dead, things only take a turn for the worse. The combination of the place and the setting with the investigators: Hernán, an inspector sent there god knows why, Mónica, who had been sub-inspector in Barcelona but decided to quit due to personal reasons, and Raúl, the only one not hiding from something and who is totally happy there, works beautifully.

The investigation is hindered by circumstances (even with the arrival of the inspector, there are only three police officers in the island, there’s no lab, and now way of following correct protocol) and the lack of resources (an excellent commentary on the budget cuts Spain is suffering) and little by little we discover more details about the island’s inhabitants and about the members of the police. I really enjoyed the ending (that I won’t talk about in detail as I don’t want to spoil the surprise) and it rounds up a novel that although short is long enough to intrigue and touch us.

I found Mónica’s personal story, closely related to the case, fascinating, and it would make a great novel (or more than one) on its own. Apart from the details, for me the author manages to portray complex psychological aspects and the reactions of the characters in a very accurate manner, by using several points of view, that help the reader get under the skin of the characters, sharing in their emotions and their life experiences. For me, Mónica, María (the victim’s mother) and the island of Tabarca stand out in the narration and I’m sure I won’t forget them in a hurry.

I recommend this book to readers who love mystery novels that go beyond the usual, psychological thrillers and extraordinary settings.

Thanks so much to Mo for the interview and for her novel, thanks to you all for reading, and remember, like, share, comment and CLICK!

Olga Núñez Miret

http://www.authortranslatorolga.com

 

 

#BookReview ‘The Blue Crimes’ by Enrique Laso (@enriquelaso)

Hi all:

You might remember that a while back I shared an interview with Spanish author Enrique Laso (check here) where we talked, among other things, about his novel The Blue Crimes. Today I wanted to share with you my review, and let you know that I’ll be translating the second novel in the series, so I’ll keep you posted. And if any of you are interested in translations to Spanish, feel free to get in touch with me. And now, the review.

The Blue Crimes by Enrique Laso
The Blue Crimes by Enrique Laso

Title:   The Blue Crimes
Author:   Enrique Laso
ASIN:  B00UQV3BYA
Published:  21st March 2015
Pages:  308
Genre:  Mystery, Thrillers and Suspense, Police Procedurals

The Blue Crimes by Enrique Laso. An intriguing case and an even more intriguing investigator.

The Blue Crimes is the first book in Enrique Laso’s collection of Ethan Bush Thrillers. Ethan Bush is a young FBI agent, one of the most promising, top of his Psychology class at Stanford and self-assured, or so he seems. He arrives to Jefferson County fresh from solving a serial murder case in Detroit and expectations are running high.

The story is told in first person from the point of view of Bush, and that is one of the most interesting aspects of the novel. If the actual procedural investigation, the process of solving the murders of two young girls that are very similar in details to a murder committed 17 years ago is gripping (and I particularly enjoyed the setting in small town America, with the prejudices and the difficulty understanding and fitting into the mentality of the place that it brings to the big city investigators), I found the insight into Ethan Bush’s mind even more interesting. Why?

Well, he is an intelligent man. He knows it and he’s reminded of that by quite a few of the characters he comes into contact with (sometimes in great contrast with some of the witnesses they come across). His intelligence does not always help him, though. Characters who are far less intelligent than him (the sheriff, local investigators, even his mother…) contribute greatly to the success of his mission. He acknowledges and admires the morality of some people (Jim Worth, a solid character that would make his perfect side-kick and foil, and I hope we’ll come across him again in the series), but he’s not squeaky-clean and has no qualms crossing the line of the ethically correct when he thinks it’s necessary to solve a case (not strictly for his own benefit). He has weaknesses that include his irresistible attraction to Vera, one of the witnesses, but also a suspect. He is somewhat obsessive in his methodology and has to be in control of everything, to the point of preferring keeping handwritten notebooks (in Moleskin, that become his trademark) as he does not like to be dependent on technology that could let him down. And during the book, he becomes as obsessed with running as he is with everything else, to the point of putting off the questioning of suspects to not disturb his running schedule. Running means more to him than the simple exercise, but we only become aware of this later on. (By the way, I am aware that the author is a runner himself and he has written non-fiction books about it so this would add to the interest for those who are keen runners.) Despite Ethan’s constant analysing everything and thinking non-stop (to the point of getting severe headaches although they could well be psychosomatic), he is not the most self-aware of characters, and keeps missing clues and hiding stuff because of his own unresolved issues. But those issues are what make him fascinating.

Ethan Bush is not the most likeable hero and has many flaws, and that is a plus for me. He is a man searching for explanations, about the case and about himself. And he never gives up. He’ll go as far as he has to, whatever that might cost him.

I’m not sure how challenging you’ll find the book if you’re one of these people whose main enjoyment is working out who the guilty party is (I did guess who it was early on, but I kept wondering if I was right) but if you enjoy complex characters, a solid story and interesting dynamics, I think this series could keep us guessing for a long time.

Ratings:
Realistic Characterization: 4/5
Made Me Think: 4/5
Overall enjoyment: 4.5/5
Readability: 5/5
Recommended: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
 

Buy it at:  
Format & Pricing:
Paperback:  $11.95 (http://www.amazon.com/Blue-Crimes-Enrique-Laso/dp/1511536322/)

Kindle: $3.07 http://www.amazon.com/BLUE-CRIMES-Enrique-Laso-ebook/dp/B00UQV3BYA/)

 

 

Olga Núñez Miret

@OlgaNM7

http://OlgaNM.wordpress.com

http://www.OlgaNM.com

 

#InterviewsinTranslation. ‘Color of Evil’ by @ArmandoRodera. Not your usual thriller.

Armando Rodera Color of Evil

Hi all:

As you know I’ve been sharing interviews with writers who usually publish their books in Spanish but who have now had one or several or their novels translated to English. Today I have as a guest Armando Rodera one of the authors who first discovered the possibilities of self-publishing his work, and who has lived through many changes in publishing. But I’ll let him tell us all about it.

Author Armando Rodera
Author Armando Rodera

I was born in Madrid in 1972, and I became a voracious reader from a very young age. I studied Telecommunications and IT, and worked for a decade in the technological sector until I decided to go into literature.

Pioneer of digital publishing in Spain, I landed in Amazon in 2011. Since then and in the last four years, I’ve become the published author of El color de la maldad (Color of Evil), a bestseller police-thriller that was my first publication, La rebeldía del alma (The Rebellion of the Soul), an intimate thriller that has been global number 1 in Amazon Spain, Juego de Identidades (Game of Identities), novel of action and adventures, and Caos absoluto (Absolute Chaos), a dystopian police thriller. I also have a non-fiction work, La llave del éxito (The Key to Success). I’ve published all these titles independently in Amazon.

My first traditionally published work was El enigma de los vencidos (The enigma of the defeated), a mystery novel with a historical background that was published by Ediciones B in 2012. In 2014 Thomas & Mercer published the English version of El color de la maldad, which has been very successful in the USA, UK and Canada.

I’m also editorial reader, manager of content and freelance consultor in projects of marketing online and new technologies applied to the publishing sector.

When and how did you start writing?

I’ve been writing since I was a small child, either handwritten letters or short tales. When I was 11 or 12 I won a writing competition at school. After that, once at college, I dared to write some nonsense that was soon forgotten. It wasn’t until the end of 2003, a period with numerous changes in my life, not only personal, but also with regards to my family and my profession, that I decided to take the plunge and I started on my first novel, El enigma de los vencidos. An inflection point that was also greatly influenced by my reading the fantastic La sombra del viento (The Shadow of the Wind), by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. I told myself that someday I also wanted to write a great work and if I could ever managed to make one of my possible future readers feel even a tenth of what I had felt when reading that novel I’d be more than satisfied.

Describe your experience as an independent writer.

I wrote my first two novels between 2004 and 2007. After that I went through all the stages that any new writer has tried in order to get his works published: submit to book awards, send the manuscripts to agencies and publishing companies, etc. I even had a contract signed with a company that self-published books in paper, but finally that was rescinded for a variety of reasons. Finally I gave up trying to follow the usual routes of the sector and decided to publish in Amazon in July 2011, when a lot of people didn’t even know of the existence of the KDP platform for authors.

In a few months my life changed completely. El color de la maldad very soon became a bestseller in America and El enigma de los vencidos did the same in the Brand-new Kindle store in Spain. That novel was then taken up by Ediciones B, but I continued to publish on my own, and I even manage to reach the global number one in Amazon.es with La rebeldía del alma and many successes with my other works.

Then came the launching in the Anglo-Saxon market of Color of Evil and that was the fulfilment of another dream of any writer. Digital technology and Amazon Kindle Store have allowed me to reach dozens of thousands of readers all over the world and this is something that I could never have imagined when I started writing my first book.

What has been the best moment of your career as a writer so far?

At the beginning of 2012, Ediciones B and B de Books pushed for a new model, and trusted authors that were practically unknown to the great public, but who had been successful with their digital novels. That group of authors that I was a part of appeared in several national newspapers and magazines in Spain (El País, El Mundo, El Periódico de Cataluña, Tiempo, Interviú, etc) and we had great media repercusion.

Shortly after that, our novels were presented in an incomparable setting, the Feria del Libro de Madrid (The Book Fair of Madrid), in the well-known Parque del Retiro (Retiro Park) of Madrid. In my case I was lucky enough to be signing books for two days at that Book Fair, some memorable afternoons I’ll remember forever. Also, the book was distributed throughout the whole of Spain and some American countries with a great reception. Of course, it’s a wonderful feeling to find your own novel on the new books exhibits in the bookshops. I’ll always have a wonderful memory of that experience and I hope to repeat it again in the near future.

What’s your favourite genre (both as reader and as writer).

When I was a young child I fell in love with the novels of Alexandre Dumas and Jules Verne, adventures that have marked me forever. After that, already at high school, I became familiar with the works of Stephen King, who has become one of my favourite authors. Among the writers of detective stories I can’t forget Conan Doyle and his wonderful Sherlock Holmes. And much later I lost myself in Daniel Sempere’s stories, and his Cementerio de los libros olvidados (Cemetery of Forgotten Books), a crucial moment in deciding to dedicate myself to writing.

In general I enjoy thrillers, detective and police stories, adventures, intrigue and also historical novels or even horror novels. I’m an avid reader and I devour between 60 and 80 books per year. I love to read. I can mention many names: John Grisham, F. Forsyth, Ken Follet, Preston & Child, S. King, David Baldacci or Dean Koontz, among others. And of course, Spanish authors as popular as: Pérez Reverte, Almudena Grandes or Matilde Asensi, although in the last few years I’ve had the pleasure of personally meeting and enjoying the books of a new batch of Spanish writers creating new works today, in paper as well as in digital formats, that perhaps aren’t quite as well known to the big public.

That as a reader. As a writer I also tend to write in the same genres. Definitely, action and intrigue novels, thrillers, if we want to define them that way, but always with something else: drama, mystery, police procedural elements, some romance, a historical or suspenseful background. I like to fuse genres.

What made you decide to translate your work? And how did you find a translator?

My novels have been very well received in the States from the moment I started on my digital adventure, and that was why I wanted to reach the Anglo-Saxon market. I studied the possibility of getting one of my books translated independently, but the costs were prohibitive for me or the quality of the work offered for me to sample did not convince me, and I parked the project for a while.

Then I heard about the possibility of sending a proposal to Amazon Publishing, the editorial arm of Amazon. That’s what I did with my novel El color de la maldad, and to my surprise, in less than two months they decided to send me a contract for the book. They got it translated and published it in 2014 under Thomas & Mercer’s company, the publisher of the group specialising in thrillers and mystery novels.

Color of Evil has been number 1 for several weeks in the Police procedural category in the Canada Kindle Store, and also Top 20 in the category of International thrillers in the United Kingdom. It was also a prominent thriller in that category in Amazon.com, staying in the podium of ‘Mystery and International Crimes’ for several weeks.

Tell us something about your book

Color of Evil by Armando Rodera. Transl. Simon Bruni
Color of Evil by Armando Rodera. Transl. Simon Bruni

The genesis of this novel came in the spring of 2007, when after visiting as an occasional tourist several rural areas in our country; I had the inspiration that they could be the perfect opening point for an unconventional police procedural novel. From then on I began to build up a plot that became more and more similar to the Anglo-Saxon thriller, becoming somewhat detached from the usual canons of the classical noir Spanish crime novel.

What I found more difficult to create was the character of Jason, the psychopath around whom the whole plot revolves. He was the most complex of all the protagonists, due to the complexity of his psyche. I wanted to narrate what the psychopath felt and thought from his own point of view, and it was hard work, and that was why I also explained his childhood and adolescence, the main triggers, but not the only ones that lead him to become a blood-thirsty assassin.

When I started writing I knew the novel would revolve around a serial killer that leaves a trail of crimes throughout the whole of the Spanish geography, but I didn’t have his leitmotif. I had in mind the film Seven or Harris’s novels with Doctor Hannibal Lecter as protagonist, but I had no idea which path the novel would lead me into until I started writing. Later I found a solution that might surprise readers quite a lot.

In the first draft I didn’t name the assassin and the narration became quite complicated at times, especially during his interactions with other characters. I wanted to give him a name he chose himself, Jason, although we don’t get to know the real one until the end, to help with the plot building and to embody on someone concrete the brutality of those criminal acts.

I would never have imagined the reception my novel got, especially in America. “El color de la maldad” was published on Amazon.com in July 2011 and for over three years it has been the best-selling police procedural in Spanish in the American continent, becoming a longseller in América. The reviews and comments about this novel, in both sides of the Atlantic, have been almost unanimous throughout its trajectory, something I’m very proud of. The icing on the cake was a joint reading organised on the net, where 16 blogs agreed to write very positive reviews about this book.

Any advice for your colleague writers (especially new writers)

I don’t feel qualified to give advice; I’m still fighting and learning every day. But to any new writer I would tell him or her that this is a long-distance race, that one must fight for the things one believes in, but also make sacrifices. Read and write every day, learn from those who know more than us and try and improve every day. And above all, to have a polished and as perfect as possible manuscript if they want to publish it through Amazon, with the right formatting and an attractive cover. After that one can do as much promotion as one likes but the readers have the final word and if they don’t like a work, it will all be in vain. We are all different and so are our challenges, but we have the right to fight for our dreams.

Links:

Universal link to the book in Amazon: http://mybook.to/ColorofEvil

Author webpage: www.armandorodera.com

Author profile in Amazon:  http://Author.to/ArmandoRodera

Book trailer (in Spanish): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5w455O909U

Book review in a blog, in English:

http://gabixlerreviews-bookreadersheaven.blogspot.com.es/2014/07/color-of-evil-by-armando-rodera-would.html

Thanks so much to Armando Rodera for his interview and for sharing his book with us, thanks to all of you for reading, and you know what to do, like, share, comment and CLICK!