23/02/2015

Jesús Cañadas

“As you can see, there have been many changes in my life in the last twelve years, but one thing has always remained the same: my passion for literature. I have been reading for almost as long as I can remember. At some point, I also started writing my own stories.”

 

Let’s start talking about you, who is Jesús Cañadas?

I was born in the south of Spain in 1980, in a small city called Cádiz. I lived there since I was 23 years old. At that time I left to study in Venice. I was going to leave for just one year, but it turned out that I never came back. Since then, I have lived in 13 different cities: Madrid, Barcelona, Osaka, Lecce, San Sebastián, Göttingen, Frankfurt… right now I spend most of the time in Berlin. As you can see, there have been many changes in my life in the last twelve years, but one thing has always remained the same: my passion for literature. I have been reading for almost as long as I can remember. At some point, I also started writing my own stories.

When did you start writing and how did it happen?

I guess these things just happen. I have been a huge fantasy / horror fan since I was a teenager. You start day-dreaming about writing the same stories that touch you in any way. Then you imitate your favorite writers and, needless to say, you write crap. You spend an indecent amount of time writing crap, until one day something switches in your head and you understand how to write something that is neither plagiarism of those authors nor crap. That is the beginning. After that you have to learn how to write for real.

I wrote my first crappy short story when I was fifteen, I think. Luckily for the whole world, it has been lost for ages. I spent the next twelve years trying to figure out what makes a good story. Writing a novel seemed too far away for me. I used to tell myself I was not ready yet. Until one day, while I was living in Göttingen, I said to myself: “You stupid fuck; when do you know you are going to be ready? Come on and give it a try!” The result was my first novel, which I finished in Osaka: “El Baile de los Secretos.”

I guess that was pretty much it. I have not stopped ever since.

Which kind of writer are you?

Until the present day I have written three books: “El baile de los secretos”, a dark fantasy heavily inspired by early Tim Burton’s works or films such as Pan’s Labyrinth, was published in 2011.

Then came “Los nombres muertos”, a sort of classic adventure novel starring H.P. Lovecraft himself, where he is forced to travel around the world to find a book that does not exist. That one was published by Penguin Random House in 2013. It will be translated into Portuguese and published in Brazil at some point in 2015.

My third novel “Anochece” could be described as a murder mystery with a strong fantastic component. It will also be published in Spain in 2015. I am currently writing my fourth novel, from which I still cannot tell you much. But this much I can tell: there is fantasy, there is horror, there will be blood!

As you can see, fantasy is my favorite genre. It is not the only genre I read; I actually do not advise to read only one genre. But no matter what I write, some fantastic element ends up finding its way into the story. However, even though you can find monsters, demons, cults, nazis, cannibals, giant squids and whatnot in my stories, I think at some level they all deal with one simple topic: family.

Hobbies – Interests – Passions

People usually think that authors have intense, amazing lives. The truth is we are regular ordinary folks who wake up, sit in front of the computer with a coffee mug for a couple of hours and then go to work. The amazing things happen inside my head, but from outside it could not me more boring. My interests are most ordinary: I like travelling, I consider myself a decent cook, I am also a big cinema fan… … Hello? … We are in an interview! WAKE UP!

Where do you get the inspiration to write? How much of you and your life is in your books?

Literally everywhere. It can be a film, something I read in a book, a comic, maybe a conversation… actually, all of the latter together. Everything mixes in your head and lays there for hours, days, whatever. Then you go jogging or do the dishes and, bam! you get the idea. However, the idea is not the problem. The difficult part is sitting your ass down and turning that amazing idea into an amazing story. That part is hard as fuck; that is why writing has much less to do with inspiration as it has to do with work.

Everything from me and my life is in my books. I am part of all the characters, even though something it is incredibly difficult to control them.

Can you “describe” us how it works when you write?

Exactly as I explained before: boring. I wake up at 7.00 a.m. I pee. I make coffee. I am grumpy and feel like shit and complain about everything and my back hurts and I ask myself what I am doing with my life and why I don’t sleep more. I drink coffee. I feel better. Much better, actually. It is 7.30, so I better start hitting the keyboard. Then I write for two hours. Sometimes I hit 2.000 words, sometimes I do not even reach 400. Sometimes every single sentence sucks and I fell that I do not know how words match together anymore. But other times, and this is why I everyone writes, the story is alive and you feel like it comes through you, that you are really just a channel. This state of mind is called “the flow” and it is almost like a drug.

I also have a day job, so at 9:30 I stop and pretend I am working. I work from home, so this is not difficult. I will spend the rest of the day thinking what happens next in the novel. After work I will try to read at least other two hours. I keep a notebook close to write down any idea.

That is basically it: Wake up. Write. Repeat.

What do you miss from Spain? How is your life in Germany; what do you like more and what would you change?

Even in this question I am boring, you see? I miss the food, the sun and my friends, just as every other south European living in Germany. However, I cannot complain: I have a good job that leaves me enough time to write. I enjoy life in Berlin; I would not change it for any other city in Germany. Plus, my writing career is going pretty well: my second novel was shortlisted for every single fantasy award in Spain, plus it has been translated. Critics have listed my name among a new wave of writers that people should pay attention too!

As I said, I cannot complain. Nevertheless, I do complain, for complaining is a part of a Spaniard’s identity: I wish I had more time to write and more opportunities to visit my family in Spain. And I wish winter were not so cold in Germany!!

Let’ s talk about your last book: feel free to promote it!

Well, I can gladly promote my last book: “Los nombres muertos” (The Dead Names).