What is writing for you?

It's an amazing and fantastic trip inwards. It's confront our worse and our bests Characters gain life in my mind, and little by little while they take part in my daily life, become more and more real - whenever I am there are dialogues and scenes that just want to be in the paper. But the most incredible of it all is that I constantly learn from the characters, since they gain their own life and become detached of my creative process. Some are real sages and masters, that bring lessons to my own life. Others make me laugh. Others show me the beauty of the world and the simplicity that we should treat every small "problem" that bothers us. And still there are others that I do not know how to fit in the story, but they do their parts since they live to the fullest. And this is another great lesson: to live life to the fullest, not others's lives, but ours.

When did you decide to be a writer?

The idea and anxiety to write are there since childhood. I remember the first story I wrote, I was around twelve. The name is "The Swamp's Monster", a fifteen page story. It was about a monster that helped people in a small village, instead of scaring them - that is another characteristic I carry on writing. The characters are free. They may do the opposite of what they are expected. We come to admire every swamp's monster that has an opposite attitude as that of the other swamp's monsters [laughs]. I have always read allot since childhood, what I consider fundamental to everyone that enters the adventure of writing. I have always been a bookshop's rat. Every book's fair I would spend more than I had, loosing control with so many books around.
When I was thirty three years old I wrote my first book, "In the Silence of the Heart". I liked what I wrote. Printed a few copies and sent to some friends, so that they could send to their friends as well. People that I did not know started to write me about it. All would say they read it really fast, since the story was absorbing. From there on, I felt brave enough to publish it myself, and decided to be a writer - since I was already addicted to writing, not because I thought I was a good writer (only time will tell that). I was actually fulfilling an uncontrollable desire, and that way other books came into being.

Was it difficult to publish you first book with a big editor?

Err....It was very difficult. I started with no orientations. It has been an empiric method, with attempts and mistakes. I was a self-taught at the editorial world, sending my book everywhere in the world. Internet research got me through and put me in contact with editors and literary agents around the world. I was corresponding to so many people that I would get lost and send the book twice to the same agency. There were millions (and this is not a metaphor) of e-mails, phone calls and letters, and millions of "no's". Until I got it right. There was a time I had a pile of very polite denial letters from around the world. My eight-year-old cousin would collect stamps, I was collecting editors's letters from around the world. One day I decided to cover my dog's house with all those letters. He got a luxury loft of double layered walls covered in fine wallpaper... I've never seen him so happy. That was his warmest winter. His tail was shaking at me for months, without clear reason [laughs]. And about me, I went back home and continued writing my books and more letters to agents. The only thing that makes you capable of facing so many negative answer is the belief that you put in your dreams. I consider myself a dreamer, a feet-on-the-floor dreamer, yet the craziest dreamer. The one that never gives up. Because every dream that is fulfilled by the heart always comes true.

Where do you write?

Usually at home, but anywhere would do. A compulsive writer sees no time or place to fulfill its compulsion. At the living room, in the kitchen, inside a bus, in the toilet, airplane, anywhere is a good place for the creative process. The only thing I need is a paper and a pen because I handwrite everything. The first version is always heart-written (rapid and spontaneous), the second version is reason-written, all to the notebook with the due corrections, modifications and additions.

How your romances emerge?

From the universal mind. Not from my mind, but from the mind of the Universe. I believe there is no better source than this. Sometimes inspiration comes from a real person, for example, from the guy that was owing me some money and never paid back. Well, here one of my fantastic tales emerged from, called "The Collectors": the main character, facing a no-end situation of an unpaid debt, hires two professional to recover his money. What he did not know was that they were two orientals from an ancient feudal Japanese society, experts in martial arts, crazy and murderers. And this way the story goes [laughs].

Why some of your characters from your book always are engaged with book, like admirers and readers with small particular libraries?

Because of the passion that I have for books and for reading. The characters vary from a syndic who lives in a building basement, the hermit from the highest Himalayan mountains or an Olmeca from the Mexican desert. They always have a small library from which they pleasantly read all the books. It is an attempt to convey the message that they might not have to many things, but there may not lack books around them. But from all of them it is clear that reading brings only knowledge, but to apply it is what may bring us wisdom. Also because there are two ways for the human beings to expand their minds, acknowledging that the Universe and the world are unlimited. One of them is to travel allot (an option for a few who have the conditions for that). The other way to break with the limits of the mind is to read a book - the cheapest of all. To sum up, not my characters nor me can be detached from books.

Will you write more books?

Yes, I am addicted to writing [laughs]. Sometimes new ideas emerge from the most absurd places. Some characters gain life and invade my quotidian. There are moments when the creature (character) tries to overcome the creator (writer), but thanks to Nicola Tesla and one of her electromagnetic discharge, then the creature goes back to its world [laughs]. In a few words, to write is enchanting and a great trip.
About more books, a second one is already done. A book with messages from several cultures, peoples, and Oriental and Occidental consciences. There is also a third and a fourth ones, as enchanting as the first. There are also three other books in my mind at the moment, but every thing has its time (as a chinese friend of mine would say). I also wrote different genres, as I believe a good writer should engage in different adventures. To enter a different lab and check what kind of creature will come out of it. There are two of acid-humor, one of fantastic tales, one of terror and two thrillers. There is not much time for all the ideas I have (since I dedicate myself to other activities as well). But I believe in my work and it is done with all my heart, so there is no reason the worry about the paths of a new-coming writer. Soon I will be dedicating solely to writing. My agent and myself are working for that. Everything will be materialized only with a pen and a blank paper. This is and will be the starting point for everything.

How have you learned to write? Who has helped you?

My best teacher has always been reading. I've read and still read much. Since my childhood I was a fanatic for bookshops. As well as to learn to paint a picture that will inspire and have an impact on people, it is necessary to make many drawings - perhaps only with a pencil, some coal and your own fingers to work on the light and shadow effects. If you want to learn how to write, learn to like reading before anything. I've learned with many authors that I admire the most: Carlos Castañeda, Isabel Allende, Hemingway, Eric Van Lustbader (I'm a huge fan of his), Barry Eisler, Julio Verne, Henry Rider Haggard, Eiji Yoshikawa, Ryûnosuke Akutagawa, Takashi Matsuoka, Lian Hearn, Will Ferguson, Michael Crichton, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Edgar Alan Poe, Alfred Hitchcock, Stephen King, H. P. Lovecraft, Tolkien, Richard Matheson, Woody Allen, Jack London, Rumi, Tagore, Yogananda, Aivanhof, Tailhard de Chardin, William Blake, Herman Melville, Joseph Campbell, José Saramago, Fernando Pessoa, Alberto Vásquez-Figueroa. I have to stop now, for they're hundreds. On Brazilian writers, I love Castro Alves, Carlos Drummond de Andrade, Monteiro Lobato, Luis Fernando Veríssimo, Mário Quintana, Eduardo Bueno (Peninha), Alexandre Raposo and recently André Vianco and Kizzy Isatys, new writers on supernatural and terror, that as myself have eaten a kilogram of salt before finding a good editor. I cannot forget Orlando Paes Filho and Raphael Draccon, on fantastic literature... to quote a few. As you can see, I have an heterogeneous taste for literature.

Once in a interview you spoke about Eric Van Lustbader with admiration, am I right?

Yes, for me he is the best thriller writer. I've read all his books edited in Brazil. I've learned loads with him. And besides that, he mixes elements that I also find typical of my stories, but he adapts them with a suspense from the beginning until the end. I feel like a pupil compared to him, because he is the master when it comes to writing. One of my greatest dreams is to meet him one day, and also to write a book with him. As I said before, I do not believe in impossible. Lustbader writes two kinds of books: fantasy and thrillers. When I came to know his first book edited in Brazil called "The Ninja", I've read it in one weekend - then bought all books edited in Portuguese. I looked for the Spanish ones, since there were so few in Portuguese (Jian, Miko, Black Heart). At that time I did not know any English, and started to learn it only to read him. Most people will know him for the last title (which has been made a movie) "The Bourne Legacy". If you wanna know more about him, his website is www.ericvanlustbader.com.

I can see you are also a cinema admirer...

As much as books. When we read we create a world (or a movie set) in our heads - and that's what I try to convey to the readers when I write. I try to create a visual world, where the scenes evolve with the reading, where s/he is not only a spectator but a participant. Cinema gives this to people. A good director and a good producer can extract this from the writer's mind and transform it in images - and nobody does it better than Spielberg and Zhang Yimou, great directors/producers that I deeply admire. They are the best of the best for me.
Another dream that I have is that one of my books will be adapted to cinema through the hands of these directors - they would be the ones capable of creating the fantastic realism with all the effects needed for the locations of my books. The main thing about Spielberg and Yimou's work is that all their movies show characters with a deep human side. And that is the way I try to write. The story can be fantastic, but the characters have a human side that conducts the story. I am a dreamer of the impossible and one day will meet these fantastic directors.

You have many dreams. Any other special one?

Yes, certainly many dreams. Since you've asked: to meet Oprah Winfrey. First because she is an ancient soul, and every ancient soul carries a heart full of compassion. Secondly, for her enthusiasm with life and the way she passes it on to her viewers. To me, she's the best presenter that has ever existed, and also very funny. She is the maxim personification of some characters of my books, people that apply love and good humor in their existence.

To be a good writer is it necessary to be a good reader?

Yes. The ones that do not have the reading habit will certainly be bad writers.

You and some of your characters have a declared passion for the books. What point does this passion go?

I would give you hundred of reasons for this uncontrollable passion, but I prefer borrow some words from Carmem Balcells, the best and the more professional literary agent in the world, who I admire a lot for being a declared defender of the writers's rights. Both the elder and the newer writers owe much to this hot-blooded Spanish with a loving heart: "to read is the freest and most lonely act of an individual. Without reading one learns nothing, and when we find something that captivates us it is an immeasurable pleasure and an authentic brain orgy. To experiment this you do not need many hours. To read twenty pages of an important book can change your life."
Such as the oldest people like the new authors are debtors to this spanish woman with hot blood and lovely heart, whose apreciciates the writters work to the editors. At words from Carmen Balcells: "... Reading is the most free and lonelyness act of a person. You can't learn nothing without read and when we find something that captivate us is a immeasurable pleasure, an authentic brain's orgy. It doesn't take so much hours to taste this: read twenty pages of a important book can change your life..."

Could you read my originals, write my book's preface and recommend to an editor?

According to my agent's orientation, I can only read a book after it has been published. Only by suggestion of my editor I can write Prefaces. This is to ensure that copyrights are not violated, preserving the integrity of the new writer.

What's your religion?

I have a catholic formation, but the world and the Universe are so big that I don't want to raise just one flag. I prefer to say that I practice a religion called Universalism, because the truth can be found in many fountains, and from all of them I drink a little. Practicing what the biggest masters of the past (from all of religions and philosophies said) is to practice the real spirituality. To practice means discipline and attitude. The essence is everywhere and it's our mission gather it in a single flask called human being.

Do you accept pupils and followers?

No way! [laughs]. I do not want to be anyone's master. I am a disciple of the Universe, and being a disciple is always more fun! [laughs]

Talk about your next books?

By contract, I can only talk about next books after their publication. I would like to share a few passages of my next book with the writers, but I have to respect the contract with my editor/literary agent. The only thing I can say is that there is a lot of surprise and overturns yet to come for my new characters.