Maria Sure. Interview with the author of Tears of Red Dust

We spoke with the writer María Suré about her work.

Photography: Maria Sure. Facebook profile.

Maria Sure She was born in Salamanca but moved to Valencia at the age of 21 and studies Computer Engineering. She works as an analyst and developer of software, but since he was passionate about reading and writing, in 2014 he wrote his first novel, the color of forgiveness. Later they followed Proyecto BEL, Huérfanos de sombra and now last June he presented Tears of red dust. In this extensive interview He tells us about her and much more. I thank you very much your time and kindness to serve me.

Maria Sure — Interview

  • CURRENT LITERATURE: Your last published novel is titled Tears of red dust. What can you tell us about it and where did the idea come from?

MARIA SURE: The idea arose when I decided to set the next novel in Valencia, the city that has welcomed me so well during the almost thirty years that I have lived in it. I began to research the history of the city and discovered really interesting stories that led me headlong into the plot that unfolds in red dust tears. It is very important what happened in the city at the time of the Modern Foral Valencia (XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries), in which the executioner executed the condemned with different death sentences depending on the crime they had committed and their corpses were exposed in certain areas of the city as a warning to the rest of the population.

Currently, there is a garden called Polyphilus' garden which was built as a tribute to the story that is told in a very particular XNUMXth century manuscript: The Hypnerotomachia poliphili (Dream of Polífilo in Spanish). It's about a incunabulum full of hieroglyphs and written in several languages, one of them invented. Its authorship is attributed to Francesco Colonna, a monk of the time, something curious if one takes into account the number of engravings with high sexual content that said manuscript contains. It is a wonderful book of which several copies are preserved in Spain, all of them marked by censorship in one way or another. Some have missing pages, others are crossed out, burned... The complete work is available for free on the Internet and I encourage you to take a look at it because I think you'll like it.

En red dust tears, a murderer recreates some of the scenes of the time in which the inmates were executed in Valencia for committing their crimes today. Polifilo's garden is one of the places chosen by this murderer and the police will have to study the ancient manuscript to discover who is behind the deaths and why.

By the way, the title is very important in this novel. When the reader discovers why, he will understand many things and the pieces will begin to fit in his head.

  • AL: Can you remember any of your first readings? And your first writing?

MS: When I was very little I loved storyteller. My parents bought me a lot. She put the tape cassette and was following the reading in the story while listening to it. Someone memorized them. I think that's where I discovered my passion for reading. A few years later he devoured all the books of The five, which I still have. Later, when I was a little older, I remember looking forward to the arrival of the Bibliobús who went through my town every fortnight to get all the books he wanted to read. 

I started writing when I was ten or twelve years oldI don't remember very well. I wrote an adventure novel in the style of the Five. I did it in pencil, with drawings of the most important scenes. It will have about thirty pages and I still have the manuscript full of cross-outs, misspellings and notes in the margin. I keep it very fondly because it was the way in which my child self already imagined the stories in his head and felt the need to put them on paper. 

  • AL: A leading author? You can choose more than one and from all periods. 

MS: How difficult to choose among so many good writers! I used to read a lot Patricia Highsmith, John le CarréEven Stephen King it had a stellar place among my adolescent readings. As more recent authors I would opt for Dolores Redondo, Maite R. Ochotorena, Alaitz Leceaga, Sandrone Dazieri, Bernard minierNiklas Natt och Dag, Jo Nesbø, J. D. Barker… 

A writer that I have discovered this year and whose style I really like is Santiago Álvarez.

  • AL: What character in a book would you have liked to meet and create? 

MS: In my opinion, the best character in the history of black literature is that of Lisbeth Salander from the Millennium series. It is perfect. I love those characters who are apparently weak, helpless and often attract predators who think they have the right to take advantage of them. Characters who, pushed by circumstances that put them to the limit, draw from nowhere an inner force that makes them able to move mountains and leave the reader speechless. 

  • AL: Any special habits or habits when it comes to writing or reading? 

MS: I like it isolate myself from the environment when writing to concentrate. I put on my headphones and listen to music. many times I hear Songs that are in tune with what I am writing. I use more melancholic music for sad scenes, or rock for scenes that require more action. With the last novel I began to make a play list on Spotify of the songs that I listened to the most during the writing process and I liked the experience. It is published in my Web page and can be accessed by anyone who wants to.

Other times I just listen nature sounds and especially rain. Those sounds relax me a lot when I'm writing. I guess it also depends on my mood at the time.

  • AL: And your preferred place and time to do it? 

MS: I would love to have a favorite moment and be able to meet the schedules, but it is complicated when you do not dedicate yourself only to this. In the end I'm looking for gaps and the time of day can be very varied. Early in the morning, at siesta time, at dawn... The ideal moment is when the house falls silent and your characters begin to demand your attention. I try to dedicate a few hours to it every day, but it is not always possible.

Before I wrote by hand and I did it anywhere, but I understood that doing it that way took me twice as much time as I had to transcribe everything back to the computer. Now I always write at my desk, my little corner where I am happy for a few hours every day.

  • AL: Are there other genres that you like? 

MS: I try to read dand everything. It is true that I have read novels that do not belong to the noir genre and that I have loved. I think that one likes a novel for how it is written and for its plot regardless of the genre to which it belongs. What happens is that, when choosing, I always lean towards black, both for reading and writing. Because I really enjoy the mystery, that atmosphere, sometimes a bit suffocating, in which these kinds of stories usually take place, of pushing the characters to the limit and exploring the dark side that we all carry inside.

  • AL: What are you reading now? And writing?

MS: Normally I combine reading several novels at the same time and in different formats. I am currently reading Cburning city, by Don Winslow on digital, bologna boogie, of Justo Navarro on paper and listening the bone thief, by Manel Loureiro, in audiobook. Of these three, I have to say that the story that I am enjoying the most is the last one.

Currently I am writing the continuation of red dust tears. I was left wanting more in the lives of some characters and many readers have begun to ask for a second part. The same main characters will appear in it, but involved in a totally different plot so that both can be read independently.

  • AL: How do you think the publishing scene is and what decided you to try to publish?

MS: The moment we live in is complicated for the publishing scene and for many others. In Spain, almost one hundred thousand titles are published each year, so the competition is brutal. From them, 86% do not sell more than fifty copies a year, so you can get an idea of ​​the situation. Fortunately, in our country, people read more and more. The confinement brought people closer to books, but we are still far below the rest of European countries in terms of reading. More than 35% of Spaniards never read. It seems that there is a tendency to read more on paper than a few years ago and the audiobook format is taking quite a leading role. 

My first three novels are self-published on Amazon. It is a good option for writers who are just starting out because it allows you to publicize your works if you do not have a publisher. The problem is that the reach you have as a self-publisher has nothing to do with what a traditional publisher can provide you. That's why I decided to try it with my latest novel. Both Planeta and Maeva were interested in it and I finally signed a publishing contract with the latter. The experience has been and is being very satisfactory and I hope to continue working with them in the future.

  • 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?

MS: I want to think that of the bad moments you can always get something good. As in the case of the pandemic, which caused people to start reading much more. In this moment of crisis in which companies try to minimize risk as much as possible, I think that, en the case of the publishing world, it is possible that published works are more selected and the quality of what comes out on the market is better. As for my point of view as a writer, I will continue writing as usual, rain or shine. Because I don't write thinking about publishing a work, but about giving the best of myself and my characters at all times. Then, once it's finished, we'll see what happens to it. 

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