María Dueñas: 2019 National Book Festival

María Dueñas: 2019 National Book Festival


>>Beatriz Haspo: Today, the
session is sponsored for – by the Embassy of Spain. And I’m very privileged to introduce Ambassador Santiago
Cabanas to make some notes. Thank you. [ Applause ]>>Ambassador Santiago
Cabanas: Good evening. Buenas tardes. Muchas gracias. Thank you very much, Beatriz. It’s really an honor
for me to be here today. María Dueñas, really it’s
an honor to have you here in Washington, D.C. We’re
so pleased to have you in Washington, this great event,
the National Book Festival. And Suzanne, thank you very
much for being with us today. We’re really thrilled to have
you both on stage tonight. I really wanted to say that
it’s – it’s a privilege for us to have María Dueñas here. We – if you know her, she’s
well-beloved in my country in Spain, but all
over the world, because her work is
really extraordinary. Her – her books, really
you cannot put them down. Her characters are so vivid. Her narrative is so strong. And her background,
historical background, is so well-researched that
it’s really a pleasure to read her books. So we’re privileged
to have you here. I wanted to thank the
Library of Congress for organizing this
event and for permitting so many Spanish-speaking authors
to be present at this festival. We share a common language. We share a treasure, the Spanish
language, and I really mean it when I say we share it because
it’s not only the language of Cervantes and Lope de Vega. It’s the language of Sor Juana
Inés de la Cruz, the language of Rubén Darío, the language
of Gabriel García Márquez. It’s the language of everyone
and it’s really a treasure. And – and – and I would like
also to acknowledge the presence of other Spanish personalities
here at this – this festival. This morning we had here another
great Spaniard, well-beloved like María Dueñas in Spain
and here in the United States. José Andrés, the great
chef who was presenting one of his books and
he was talking also about his experiences in life. I – I know that Suzanne is
going to – Suzanne Schadl, the head of the cherished
Hispanic Division of the Library of Congress. I would like to thank
you first for – for the great work you do
preserving the Hispanic culture in the United States and
for the great partnership that you’ve had with the Spanish
embassy all over the years and also for being here today
with – with María Dueñas. Thank you indeed. But I wanted to thank you,
the Library of Congress, really for the great work they
do here in the United States. And I wanted also to, you know,
I know that you’re going to – to introduce María,
but I just would like to say a couple of things. First that it’s important
for us Spaniards that live in the United States that your
book deal with our common past, our common history of the
United States and Spain. Two of your four books,
well-beloved books, deal with this myriad of
relationships and bonds that have been tied over the
centuries between Spaniards and citizens of the
United States. It’s a history that
goes well back, as Mrs. Schadl will
probably explain to you, and we’re very proud
of that history. And second, María,
that we want you back. We hope to have you back. And now, I just – I know
that people want to listen to you both, so, again, thank
you very much for being with us. Thank you to you, Suzanne, and thank you all here
for being here today. Muchas gracias. And thank you to Maria
Molina, our Cultural Counselor, for the great work she does. Muchas gracias, Maria. [ Applause ]>>Suzanne Schadl:
More thank yous. It – it’s – it really takes a
community to celebrate books and to write books
and to research books and to read books, so I want to
thank everyone in the audience for being here this evening
and for reading and for writing and for sharing work
in those ways. Thank you, María.>>María Dueñas: Thank you. Thank you very much.>>Suzanne Schadl: I’d also
like to thank our interpreter. We have an interpreter on the
stage and I hope you all join me in thanking our interpreter. [ Applause ] And of course, we are also
here to celebrate books that were originally written
in Spanish and then translated into English, and there
is one that is the focus of our event this evening. But as the Ambassador noted, María Dueñas has published
four books and all four of those have been translated. Maybe not the last.>>María Dueñas:
Not the last yet. It’s been published in the
U.S., but in Spanish so far.>>Suzanne Schadl:
Okay, so we have – and we have multiple
translations in multiple languages. I think I saw over –
pretty close to 40 – 40 different languages. So those of you who
know María’s work, like the Ambassador, will
love the storytelling that’s happening. So I just want to talk real
quickly for those who don’t know of the books that are published
a little bit about those and then I’ll open it up for
some discussion of process and we can talk about Templanza,
Vineyard, or we can talk about some of the other books. But I want to make sure
that I leave enough time for the audience to ask
questions at the end. Okay? So let me talk just
real quickly, introduce María and some of the books. So we have – oh, and I guess I
have to – I have to do the job that I have as a librarian
and that is invite you all to the Hispanic Division. If you haven’t been,
please come. You can certainly get a copy,
and María can confirm this, of each one of her books,
at least in Spanish, in the Reading Room at
the Library of Congress. And everyone is welcome. So her first book, El
Tiempo Entre Costuras, translated as The Time in
Between, or The Seamstress. Some people might know that
title a little bit better. Misión Olvido, which
is – is heartfelt to me because I moved here from
New Mexico and she’s talking about the misiones in
the western United States and the English version, the
English-language translation, is The Heart Has Its Reasons. And today we’re focusing on La
Templanza, originally written in 2015, so María is
going back to think about that book and
to talk about it. It’s translated as Vineyard
in the United States and as A Vineyard in
Andalusia in – in England. And then her latest book,
Las Hijas Del Capitán, published in the United
States in Spanish, is out or coming out very soon.>>María Dueñas:
No, it’s out already.>>Suzanne Schadl:
It’s out, okay. Some of you may be familiar with a miniseries called
The Seamstress, okay, and you should be on the
lookout for an Amazon Video for The Vineyard, which we’re
going to talk about today.>>María Dueñas:
For next year.>>Suzanne Schadl: Is
it coming out next year? Because that also says 2019.>>María Dueñas: Next year.>>Suzanne Schadl: Okay. Okay. On Amazon. So we’re here today to
talk about The Vineyard, but I thought that it
would be interesting if we could use The Vineyard as
a point of departure in order to talk about some
of your other works. So I want to start by asking
you a question about yourself as an author and then
we’ll get into the books.>>María Dueñas: Okay.>>Suzanne Schadl: So, and
this is by way of introduction as well, María has a
background in philology and she was a university
professor before she started writing fiction. And I wonder if you could
talk to us a little bit about how you made
the transition from academia to writing.>>María Dueñas: To writing.>>Suzanne Schadl: What took
you to writing and how – and how did that work for you?>>María Dueñas: Well, life
sometimes offers you surprises when – whenever you –
you don’t expect them. Like being here today,
for example. So thank you, first of
all, thank you very much for this invitation to become
part of this huge festival and thank you to the
Embassy of Spain. Ambassador, thank you for your
wonderful words, and thank you, Suzanne, for being here today. So this is almost a surprise
because when I started writing, and this links to my
– to your question. Suzanne, when I started writing,
I didn’t have any idea at all of what was going to happen. I was teaching at the time. I was working as a full-time
professor at the university and in a field that has
nothing – almost nothing to do with literature,
because my area was – my field was applied
linguistics. So there was a time in my life
after almost 20 years teaching and researching when I
decided that I wanted to do something different,
but I thought it was going to be something like
on top of all my duties and all my – my daily
activities. I never thought that in
a year’s time or a couple of years’ time I would
leave the university and start a new career
full-time writing. But it happened. I started writing
during weekends, nights, not paying attention
to my family suddenly. They’d say, “What are we going
to have for dinner today?” Uh, sandwiches, because –
because I was writing and I was so excited, but I never thought
anything after publication. My – my goal – my main
destination for my work was to get a publisher and
to see my book published. That was all. I never thought what’s
going to happen later. And that was a surprise. Suddenly, the book – it was The
Time in Between, my first book, El Tiempo Entre Costuras. So sudden – it was just
3,500 books published. It was right before we started
this terribly crisis we had in Spain, so things were
– and nobody knew me. I was a completely
unknown author. So I said, well, let’s try with
this little number of books, this little amount, and
let’s see what happens. And what happened was that by
means of this phenomenon of, how you say, word to – of mouth? Boca a oreja? Boca a oreja? Boca a oreja en español es
boca a oreja o boca a boca. I used to say boca a boca. And there is a Spanish writer,
Fernandez Sánchez Dragó, and he told me, no, boca
a boca is what you do with someone’s lips. That’s boca a boca. When you need to
persuade something to read something you have
read and you have enjoyed, it’s boca a oreja, so
word of – word of mouth. Word of mouth, whatever. Sorry. Sorry for
this explanation. So this started a boca a
oreja, word of mouth, process. And we were gaining readers
and readers and readers, and suddenly the book
started to – it was like a – like a ball of snow that keeps
growing and growing and growing and you don’t know
what’s going to happen. And from those 3,500 books, the
next step was like 5,000 more and 20,000 and 50,000 and there
was a time in which I said, “What’s going on here?” And after a year or after
a – less than a year. After like – this was in June,
after the summer I started with my classes and
my activities again, and like in April, May,
I say I cannot follow with these two activities
at the same time. I couldn’t manage
to balance both. So I decided to quit
the university and focus full-time
on the writing. And here I am like 10
years later in Washington.>>Suzanne Schadl: Ten
years and three books later.>>María Dueñas: And three
– and four books later.>>Suzanne Schadl: Four books. Three books after.>>María Dueñas: Well,
three books, that’s right. The first one was already out.>>Suzanne Schadl: And a couple
of audio-visual adaptations.>>María Dueñas: And
a couple of adaptations. We have the El Tiempo Entre
Costuras that was adapted by Antena 3, but then we
could see it on Netflix. And now they are working on
The Vineyard, La Templanza. They are filming it right now
in Jerez, in southern Spain, in the Canary Islands,
pretending. They always lie in this
business, so they pretend that it’s Cuba and Mexico,
but actually they are in the Canary Islands in
Tenerife and in Madrid. So I think they are going to
do something beautiful, too.>>Suzanne Schadl: Great. So for those who aren’t
familiar with The Vineyard, it is a historical fiction,
like all of your books, and it takes us across
many places. It takes us to many places. So the main character comes
from Spain and makes a life for himself in the
mines in Mexico and experiences a very sudden
loss of money, which leads him to come up with a
couple of solutions. And a major part of
those solutions is to announce a move to Cuba. And he also gains a
little bit of a boost from historical situation
and from people’s perceptions of those historical
situations, and several people in Mexico decide they’re
going to help him. They want him to
invest for them in Cuba. So he goes to Cuba and there
he meets with – with a system that is very different
than the system in Mexico. And he meets a husband and wife
and gets embroiled between them in different ways and
the story goes on. Some bad luck, some good luck. And ultimately, he finds
himself back in Spain. Not home exactly, but back in
Jerez, and living in a farmhouse that belongs to someone else. And there we go. So that’s the quick
synop – synopsis. And those of you who have
read it already know it. Those of you who
haven’t should read it. That’s why we’re here,
to celebrate that. But one of the things
that really strikes me about this book and about the
other books is just what it takes as a researcher and a
writer and a human to go back in time and to recreate actual
events through characters that are very personalized
and then re-present those. So in this book, we
are literally going to three different places. We’re experiencing three
different economic systems. We’re experiencing the
social interactions with those three
different economic systems, three different social
systems, and so forth through these characters. So I wonder if you could
talk just a little bit about your process. How do you – how do
you research any novel where you’re moving back in time
and you’re developing characters and sort of touching
back on history through those characters’ lives?>>María Dueñas: Yeah, well, I usually follow a very
similar pattern for the – for creating each
one of my novels. Because sometimes
I prefer to talk about creating novels
rather than writing novels because writing is the
– sometimes we think as the actual fact
of typing the words. But creating a novel is a
larger process which takes around two years,
more or less, for me. I always start with
research period of time which takes three,
four months initially. I will go and research
later, but this – this period of time
I don’t write a word. I mean, I don’t write a
word of the actual story. I write, I take notes,
and I make my lists, and I write down some ideas,
but basically I read and I think and I travel and
I talk to people, and I’m somehow constructing,
building the idea in my mind, in my papers, just
in handwriting in a notebook or some cards. And what type of sources I use? Everything. From more orthodox, like
academic texts or books, articles, and, I mean,
history with a capital H, important things, the
facts and the figures and the times and the dates. Everything. But I also read a lot of
literature about the time or the place I’m
going to write about. Sometimes I go back
to literature from the period I’m
going to write about and sometimes I use
contemporary literature that somehow reflects
that moment. I use all kind of books of
correspondence, letters, and everything, biographies,
travel books, all type of information that can
provide me with little pieces and details that I may
use them just for – for tiny aspects of the novel. I’m not going to – I don’t want
to write a volume of history. I want to write fiction,
but I need these details and that’s why I’m researching. I use as much visual
information as I can gather, like for some books
it’s possible, the ones that are
more contemporary like Las Hijas Del Capitán,
for example, the last one, which is in the 1930s, I can
use a lot of photographs, family albums, postcards, all kind of photographs
from (inaudible). If we go to (inaudible),
to the vineyard, that’s much more
difficult because we are in the mid-19th century, so
I use old paintings, maps, and completely different
material, graphical material. And another thing that I do
very often is I talk to people. That’s wonderful. When I have the chance to
talk to people, sometimes, for example, for Las Hijas Del
Capitán, for the last book, I have been able and I had the
privilege to talk to people who were either kids at the
time of – in the 30s, or they – maybe they were born
later but they still grew up in the families
of immigrants, so they heard all those
stories and they grew up feeling that they belong to a different
country and feeling this idea of having that double identity. And sometimes when these people
are not alive, like in the case of The Vineyard, I talk to
people related to the business or the things I’m dealing
with in the fiction. For example, I went
to – for The Vineyard, like let’s say half the
book was set in Jerez, the sherry wine trade and
production, so I went to Jerez on several occasions
and I talked to the bodegueros’s family,
to these people linked to the business of wine, of
sherry, and then they talked to me about their
parents or grandparents or the family ancestors and
how they started their business and how things were different
in the past from now. So I use all kinds
of information. I must say that this – the
best part of writing a book, when there is – there
comes this day in which you open the
document and you have to write a capítulo and
you say, “Oh, my God. Here comes the worst part.” Because when you’re researching,
you’re having so much fun. You learn a lot. You talk to people. You travel. You discover new things that
you didn’t know anything about. Sometimes I have to force
myself to stop, stop, stop. You’re not going to write
a doctoral dissertation about this. You just need a couple of ideas. But it’s fun because you
don’t have any limits. You use research and you
find fascinating stories and suddenly you think, no,
I shouldn’t write about this. I should write about
this complete – something completely different because so many wonderful
things came out suddenly. But then you have to be
straight and force yourself to keep the track
that you have started. And as I said, that period,
that wonderful period, takes like three,
four, maybe five, maybe two and a half months. And then comes real life. We have to work. And then I start writing and at the same time I keep
researching a little bit, but just for the
details, whatever I need. I need to – we are in Mexico and I’m designing a
dinner, for example. What would they have
for dinner in Mexico in 19 – in 1890, 1861 or 65? So I try to find the
little bits of information that I need to fill that blank. But the – let’s say like
the main mass of information that I need is produced in the
first – in the first months. And it’s wonderful. And then I have to write and
that’s not wonderful at all. No, it is. It is. But less. A bit less. And then I keep writing
for – for let’s say like a year more or less. It might be 14 months. Maybe 11 and a half. And then comes the worst
part, which is to start from the beginning
again, reading and saying is this correct,
is this not, should I change or should I keep the way it is. That’s the third and
worst part of it. And that’s it. And then I send it to my
publishers and there is a new like fourth part or section in
which some other people start. They check the text and they
start thinking about which type of cover we’re going to have, which type of marketing
campaign, and these things that are beyond my
control sometimes. I’ve – I’m sort of involved in that last section,
but not that much. And that’s the process. That’s it.>>Suzanne Schedl: Okay.>>María Dueñas: And
then books are here.>>Suzanne Schedl: Thank you
for sharing that process. I think it’s important for
people to hear about process because lots of times we read
the book when it’s finished and we don’t think about
everything that goes in to that, so I
appreciate that. I wonder, for instance in this
– in this particular case, while you’re talking to those
in the sherry industry in Jerez, did their voices
come up in this book? Do any of the characters
start to sound like any of the individuals that you
had the opportunity to talk to? Or do you find yourself sort of
recreating characters from some of their discussions of
their family members?>>María Dueñas: I
try to create characters that are 100 percent fictional. I usually don’t take
aspects from real people and transfer them to
my fiction characters. But sometimes, well,
sometimes I take like little, very little details, like a
name or a sentence that I hear from someone or things
like that, but basically I don’t transfer
the characters themselves. And sometimes I find very
attractive people and say, “Oh, you could be a perfect
character.” But I feel – I feel that I’m
a fiction writer, basically, so I try to create my – my
own characters from scratch without taking real
people to my pages.>>Suzanne Schedl: Great. Great. And how do
you feel about the – in the case of The Seamstress,
how do you feel about the way that that came out
on the screen?>>María Dueñas: I
think they did a great job with the adaptation of the book. Though at the beginning,
I was like, oh, my God, what are they going to
do with this little girl. I felt like a movie who had to protect the character
in the novel. But my main concern was that
readers could not be betrayed. Do you say like this? (Inaudible). There were – when they
started with the production of the television series
of The Time In Between, we already had like,
I don’t know how many, hundreds of thousands of
readers, so quite a lot, and I knew – because they told
me great that you’re going to do the series, but please
be careful that they don’t – que no salga la cara bien. You understand most
of you Spanish. Que no salga la cara bien. And that was my main
interest, that the soul, the nature of the book could
not be – could not be destroyed in order to create something
that could be very attractive in a visual way but
without keeping the soul of the book itself. So I think they managed
to – to do it. The story’s the same. Sometimes they add a
little subplot here or they create a new character
there, but basically the plot, the path the main character
see and follows is the same in the book and in
the – in the series. But the book is there. I think that the substance,
the main substance, is there and readers were
happy with the result. That was my main concern. So the day after we saw it on
a Monday night in television, the day after when
readers saw me, perfecto. Ahí está el libro. No sufras más. I said, well, we got it. So I felt very, very happy. I think they did a great job. They were very respectful. And the – and I’m sure
that we’re going – they will do the same
thing with La Templanza. We’ll see.>>Suzanne Schedl: Well,
I know there are readers in the audience and I’m
sure that people would like to ask you questions.>>María Dueñas: Please.>>Suzanne Schedl: Can we
open it up for questions? We have two microphones here
in the middle of the room. If people have questions
for María, please head to the microphones. Please.>>Hi. I had a question please
about your writing process for The Time Between,
a fabulous book. I just look that book.>>María Dueñas: Thank you.>>Do you – when you start your
second part of the process, do you start writing in a sort of linear fashion
with an outline? Or do you write scenes,
then you put them together? What kind of a method
do you use?>>María Dueñas: Thank you. Well, I usually have a very
clear structure of what I want to write and the path the
characters are going to follow and I more or less know how
they are going to finish. But I don’t have the
details in my mind. So I would say that I
have like the skeleton. I’d say like 50-60 percent
of the story is in my mind. But still I need some
sub-drama, some subplots here, and new characters that show
up, because suddenly I need – I’m aware that I need
someone else to do something that completes a scene. So more or less I
have a very clear idea of the different steps and
the different circumstances and the different
main characters. But let’s say that about 40
percent of details are not in my mind before
I start writing. And then I use them
or I create them as I need them following
the narration. Thank you. Thank you very much.>>Suzanne Schedl:
We’ll go over here and then come back this way.>>María Dueñas: ¡Hola!>>¡Hola! Your ->>María Dueñas: Autumn.>>Yes.>>María Dueñas: That’s a name
I signed in the book earlier.>>Your wonderful books all take
place on different continents, different time periods,
very different topics, and I was just wondering
what your process was there in choosing such a broad
difference in scenery, in plot, in everything really.>>María Dueñas: What
my – so I think I missed ->>Suzanne Schedl: How
do you make the choice?>>María Dueñas: The
choice, oh, my choices. Okay. I missed the word.>>Suzanne Schedl: Choose
different scenes and plots.>>María Dueñas: It’s – it’s
a – thank you for the question. Each book has a different
origin. Usually, I start with the
place, with the location. That’s usually the first
thing that comes to my mind. And usually, I look at
locations, I focus on locations that have something to do
with me or that are interested to my – for a number of reasons. For example, in The Time In
Between, my original idea was to look back to Tétouan
Protectorado de España en Marruecos in the first
decades of the 19th century because I have family
connection. My mother was born there,
my grandparents lived there for decades, and I
grew up listening to – to references to this old world. And everything came later. Then I started researching, I
found the historical correctors, and I decided to create a
fiction using those characters as their – as if they were
fictional characters, too, although they were real, Colonel
Beigbeder and Rosalinda Fox. So but the origin was
a geographical point. And for Misión Olvido,
The Heart Has Its Reasons, it was something similar. I wanted to use California
missions, the old California
missions, Spanish missions that were created by the – the
padres, as they called them in California, (inaudible)
and the Franciscan priest. So I wanted to write a novel
with those Californias – California missions
inside, but I didn’t want to write a purely historical
novel because I would have to go back to the 18th, late
18th, early 19th century and I didn’t feel like writing
such a historical novel. So I decided to write a
more contemporary plot with some intrigues that
connect present and past. But my idea started in my
mind in my mind during a trip to California when I started
visiting the different missions and I said, wow, this is so
connected to our Spanish history and in Spain we know so
very little about this and I can’t understand. That was my thought at the time. I can’t understand why we
have so very few references in literature to this
old world of the missions which is so beautiful. And I couldn’t find out
any books (inaudible), but that was it basically. And I said, well, if
nobody has written about this, why don’t I do it. So that was the origin. But then I created a
more contemporary plot and then another subplot
and finally the missions. But the origin was California
and the Camino Real missions. And then with – with La
Templanza, with The Vineyard, it was basically the same thing. I wanted to – to focus on
Jerez and the wine industry and the wine trade, the
international wine trade that was so very important in the 19th century
for the sherry wine. In the 19th century,
more than 20 percent of the Spanish exports were wine
from Jerez to – delivered to all over the world and
mainly to Great Britain, but even in America you
received some Jerez at the time. The – El Barril de Amontillado
in some books, what’s the name? The barrel of amontillado? You know, the Edgar
Allen Poe book? Novel? Is that the name? No? Yeah, yes, I think so. Well, I mean, that even
in – in literature, in American literature there
are references to sherry wine as there was in British English. Chaucer, Shakespeare, Dickens, they all make references
to sherry wine. Because at the time in the past, it was one of the most
well-known and popular and – and famous and, how you
say, more prestigious wines. So I wanted to write about
that, sherry and the connections with – between Jerez and
the rest of the world. And from that idea, I started
working and creating this story of a man who is what we
call in Spain an indiano, those men who – basically men. There were not many
women at the time. Men who were – who left Spain, went to America during
colonial times mainly and little bit later,
and they worked hard and they were able
to – five minutes? Okay, thank you. And they were able to create
– to make a lot of money and then went back to Spain. Well, to make a long story
short, Jerez was the beginning and then I created the story
and then introduced Mexico and Cuba and back to Jerez. And so that’s basically
where the ideas come from and how I make my choices,
but choosing a location that has some sort of appeal,
some sort of attractive to me, and then I start
researching and thinking and building something bigger. Okay? Thank you. Five minutes, sorry.>>Suzanne Schedl: We’re good. We’ve got two more questions.>>María Dueñas: Hi, hello.>>Thank you for coming
and talking to us.>>María Dueñas: Thank you.>>I wanted to ask about the
research again with regard to spy methods in
Time In Between, especially that fascinating idea of transmitting information
through sewing. So that’s the question.>>María Dueñas: Thank you. Thank you very much. I have a double answer to your
question because I thought – initially, I thought
that was my invention. For those of you
– for those of you who have already read the
book, I will refresh your mind. And for those of
you who haven’t, I will let you know
what happens. At a point, Sira, the
main character, uses the – how you say the patrones,
Carmelina? The patterns? The patterns of the dresses
she’s going to create and she’s going to sew for
the ladies, the German lady, mostly the German – the wives
of the Nazis who are living in Madrid at the time. So she started using the – Morse
code in the patterns with lines and dots and – you say that? Lines and dots in this, yeah,
like reflecting the stitches. And then she transfers
messages using that. And I thought what a brilliant
idea, so I created that story and introduced it in my book
and I thought how smart you are. And that was it. So when I started
presenting the book and there was a television
program in (inaudible) and they asked me this question,
“How did you manage this?” I say, “Oh, it was my – my idea. I am so smart.” And then there was an
English lady there. She told me, “You’re wrong. You’re so wrong.” During 1st and 2nd World War,
they would – they already used that in order to transfer
messages, codified messages. So probably I read it somewhere,
can’t remember where exactly, and I forgot the origin of the
idea and I assumed it was mine. But it wasn’t. It wasn’t at all. But I can’t – I still
can’t remember where I got the information
from. Okay, thank you.>>Suzanne Schedl: We
have one more question.>>María Dueñas: Okay.>>Hi again.>>María Dueñas: Hi.>>I’ve read three of your four
books and the level of facts in them are fascinating. They are the type of book
that I have to Google, wow, I didn’t know about this. And I was wondering when you
do that research of California and Las Hijas Del Capitán and,
of course, The Time In Between, which one is for you
one of those facts that has been fascinating
that you really, you know, are like surprised to
discover in your research then? And the second question very
quick is if you give us – can give us a hint of what
would be the next book about.>>María Dueñas:
Oh, wow, wow, wow. I can’t say a word. Not yet. No, it’s
still in Mantillas, so it’s like a tiny
baby and I can’t – I can’t say a word about this. But I will reply to
your first question. It is there’s so many things
that it’s so difficult for me to just to mention one or two
because when you start reading and you find so many fascinating
lives of people or periods of time or circumstances
that happened, I don’t know. So for Las Hijas Del
Capitán, my – my last novel, it’s about Spanish
immigration in the United States in the first decades
of the 20th century. I couldn’t imagine that there
was such a consistent colony. There were – in the 30s,
there were like 30,000 – more than 30 – between 30
and 40,000 people, Spaniards, living in the U.S. registered,
I mean, officially living there. There were many more
who didn’t register in the Spanish Consulate
or anywhere. And they have such
strong community. They had all kind of
institutions, lots of stores, shops, bodegas where they
could buy wine from Spain, salchichón, chorizo,
lentejas, aceite de oliva. Whatever you needed. You could find panderetas en
Navidad, discos, everything. They had institutions like Casa
de Galicia, Círculo Valenciano, El Centro Andaluz,
Centro Vasco-Americano. All type of institutions
belonging to different communities of
Spain plus some super-national like La Nacional Centro
Benéfica Español, different ones. So they had newspapers,
a newspaper, but with daily information about
what was happening in the world, what was happening in Spain, what was happening
in Latin America. The boats that were
coming back and forth. The different activities
of the colony. Everything. So things like that
surprised me a lot. I thought I was going
to – I was going to have to create all the
environment around the – my fictional characters, but
I didn’t because it was there. So every time that I found
something new, I said, wow, I couldn’t believe this
was here and so hidden. I mean, the people who belong to
the colony knew about it, but – but those who didn’t,
didn’t have an idea. So those little things
here and there, they always open doors
to new surprises. Thank you. Thank you very much.>>Suzanne Schedl: Well, I – I
– I’m going to go – actually, I’m being told maybe after. After we close – after
we close it down.>>María Dueñas:
We have a sign here, this lady showing
us three minutes.>>Suzanne Schedl: I’d
just like to echo something that the Ambassador
said at the end. It is such a privilege
to be here and learn about Spanish culture. Thank you to the Embassy
for supporting that. And thank you, María, for
really sort of working…>>María Dueñas: Oh, please.>>Suzanne Schedl: …on
that history through fiction that is accessible, as we
can see, because you have so many wonderful questions. And I’d like to thank the
audience for participating and for asking their
questions and for being here to close down the festival.>>María Dueñas:
Muchas gracias, Suzanne.>>Suzanne Schedl: And
thank you so much, María.>>María Dueñas:
Thank you so much. Gracias a todos. [ Applause ]

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