Clara Penalver is a writer and creative consultant. His latest novel is Sublimation and is based on the original series of Storytel. Debuted with Blood and is the creator of the series of Ada Levy —How to kill a nymph, The cemeteries game y The Hourglass Fracture—. In addition, he also writes children's books and has collaborated on radio and television. I thank you very much have dedicated a little of your time to this interview, as well as his kindness and attention.
Clara Peñalver - Interview
- LITERATURE NEWS: Sublimation It's your new novel, which emerged as an audio series. What do you tell us about it and about its gestation in this format?
CLARA PEÑALVER: Sublimation is a story that suffered several lucky trips before coming true. To begin with, he was born as a futuristic thriller with death as the center and the common thread. At first, there was only one story in my head, without formatting, so when the possibility of writing for Storytel, I decided to fit it into the rules of an audio series.
All that between the end of 2018 and 2019. When I finally signed the contract and got to work on the story, 2020 came and, with it, the pandemic. The pandemic forced me to do a lot of changes in history, especially regarding the pandemic itself. My story was based on the consequences that a virus had worldwide and, when I was already writing SublimationAll of a sudden, everyone was taking a crash course in how a virus spreads, how it goes from an epidemic to a pandemic, and how humanity has to fully or nearly adapt to a situation like that. I felt like an idiot telling future listeners and readers something who would already know almost better than I did when the story was published, so I made modifications.
I eliminated everything related to the transmission of the virus, of its impact impact on a human level. That caused many of its characters to grow and that others appeared nuevos, with which, what could have been a great problem for history, ended up being, then, his great stroke of luck. The story is so much better now.
- AL: Can you remember that first book you read? And the first story you wrote?
CP: I remember the first book I devoured, a adaptation from Agatha Christie's novel Murder on the Orient Express, edited by Barco de Vapor and entitled Murder on the Canadian Express. I remember that I devoured that novel, that I lived in each of its pages, and that, from there, I began to devour each book that fell into my hands.
About the first story I wrote, let's say, a somewhat longer story plan (because I had already written a lot of bad — very bad — poetry and many short stories), I don't remember the title, but it was a fantastic tale about a girl who suddenly went to another plane where she was involved in a war between kingdoms and ... well, something very epic. I think that was at sixteen years and that with her they gave me the local recognition in the story contest of my town. That was the first time I was in the newspaper.
- AL: A head writer? You can choose more than one and from all eras.
CP: The truth is that I have many head writers, what's more, they change depending on the book I find myself with, at the writing level I mean.
For example, with Sublimation, Philip K. Dick and George Orwell were my head authors. Well, the two of them and the author of The summer that my mother had green eyes, Tatiana Țîbuleac, for that narrative style so rich and agile that shows sentence after sentence. I liked that first novel of hers published here in Spain so much that I could not help the impulse to name it in my own Sublimation.
With the current novel, my reference authors are Martin Amis, Amelie Nothomb (I go back to her too much, especially her Metaphysics of tubes) Y Ernesto sabato.
- AL: What character in a book would you have liked to meet and create?
CP: Without a doubt the lord Ripley, of the great Patricia Highsmith. I'm very interested in, almost obsessed with, dislocations of the human mind, and Highsmith was especially good at this.
- AL: Any special habits or habits when it comes to writing or reading?
CP: At the time of reading no.
At the time of writing I do have a good handful of hobbies, from fight me with the pens or the feathers, if one day I have not yielded enough with them, until I need have my table scrupulously clean if it is in the office where I am going to work. Too I write by hand, in Paperblanks notebooks specifically chosen for each story, which is probably somewhere between a pretty habit and an iron mania.
- AL: And your preferred place and time to do it?
CP: As for the read, if I'm with a paper book, I like to do it on the couch or in bed; sometimes also in some coffee shop. If audioleo, that is, if I am listening to an audiobook or an audio series, I do it all day, while I take care of my baby, while I cook, while I walk down the street, while I do the shopping. In short, at any time or during any task that does not require intellectual effort. Which means that if I can barely read two novels on paper a month, listening to them I can devour three or four books a week, something that makes me very happy, and that allows me to enjoy literature in a different way.
- AL: Are there other genres that you like?
CP: Actually, I am cannon fodder for contemporary narrative. I only read thriller or novel police when I don't write and to entertain me, almost never as a source of learning.
- AL: What are you reading now? And writing?
CP: Now i just finished invisible, Paul auster, I'm about to get to the next novel by the same author, Jump of kills, is with autobiographical overtones. I'm too immersed in writing my next thriller, more in the style of Ada Levy's novels than Carol's voices o Sublimation, which means it is a Thriller in which I break all the rules had and to have. It is a novel that I intend to finish, and deliver, by September.
- AL: How do you think the publishing scene is? Do you think it is going to change or has it already done so with the new creative formats out there?
CP: Well, I think the publishing scene is much more interesting than ever. He and The traditional book has shown during the pandemic that still has strength to move on, although obviously with changes and multiple adaptations to the times. The new format within the field of literature, I refer to audio, is showing us that this reading and enjoying written fictions is not only not finished, but is booming.
- AL: Is the moment of crisis that we are experiencing being difficult for you or will you be able to keep something positive for future stories?
CP: Let's see, I'm not going to tell you that it was easy, my work has been greatly affected, especially in the activities that I have always performed outside of writing. However, I have gotten a lot of good things out of the pandemic, to begin with, a daughter and a precious relationship with my partner.
And it also helped me modify my order of priorities, and to direct myself in the workplace towards goals that are much more satisfying, not easier, but much more refreshing and exciting. Which means that of course I find positive things in all this. If I didn't, I would have stopped being myself.