Toni Hill has a new novel, The dark goodbye of Teresa Lanza, which came out last month. The Barcelona author who signs titles such as Crystal Tigers, Ice Angels and the trilogy of Inspector Salgado has granted me this interview where he tells us about this new work and many more topics. Thank you for the kindness and time dedicated.
Toni Hill. Interview
LITERATURE NEWS: Do you remember the first book you read? And the first story you wrote?
TONI HILL: The first must have been a story or a comic and I can't say what it was. I do remember the first one that struck me as an adult after an adolescence in which I read much less. It was The world according to Garp, John Irving and it revealed a whole world of "adult" pleasure to me. I felt like the books still had things to say to me after a few years of not paying as much attention to them.
The first written story I do remember: it was a story for a writing course I was doing at that time, and it was quite popular.
- AL: And that favorite writer? You can choose more than one and from all eras.
TH: A lots of. From Irving, whom I have quoted before, to classics like Tolstoy or the sisters bronte, Ana Maria Matute, Mercè Rodoreda or more recent authors like Philip Roth, Coetzee or Jonathan franken... I have likes very varied and he would be unable to choose a single book or author.
- AL: What character in a book would you have liked to meet and create?
TH: I would have loved to write a Ana Karenina style novel or have created an atmosphere as timeless and personal as the one that appears in the work of Kafka. But, to cite a less classical author, I would have loved to write Mystic River, (Dennis Lehane) and to have given literary life to all its characters.
- AL: Any mania or habit when it comes to writing or reading?
TH: Actually, no. Tranquility and silenceI suppose, although I can read in airplanes, subways or bars without too many problems. I love doing it in the beach or Swimmingpool.
For, write yes i need a little more of environmental calm, but I have also done it in public places. There comes a time when I manage to isolate myself and I don't know what is going on around me.
- AL: And your preferred place and time to do it?
TH: For write needed get up relatively early and do it throughout the morning. The Late night I find it more suitable for read.
- AL: Your new novel is The dark goodbye of Teresa Lanza. What do we find in it?
TH: It is always difficult to answer this concisely because a novel is a set of many things, but, making an effort of synthesis, I would say that you will find a haunting intrigue, with very psychologically defined characters, which is at the same time the portrait of two worlds (that of a wealthy class and that of immigrants of Latin American origin). A very current history that, beyond seducing through mystery, can make us think of some contradictions that affect us all.
- AL: More literary genres that you like?
TH: Everyone. I don't distinguish between genres, but between the voices and looks that interest me and those that don't. I find epic fantasy harder even though I was a fan of Song of ice and fire and poetry demands more concentration from me than I usually have. I really like the story books, and in recent years I have read excellent storytellers such as Mariana Enriquez o Sarah Table.
- AL: What are you reading now? And writing?
TH: I am reading a book called Darkness, from Paul Kawczak, which Destino has just published, and another novel that has not yet come out: The devil behind the garden (Pretexts) of Gines Cutillas, which I will present at the end of March. Both highly recommended.
- AL: How do you think the publishing scene is for as many authors as there are or want to publish?
TH: Well, we actually have a solid and broad editorial landscape, so I would say it's easier to post now than years ago (and I'm not talking about self-publications, although they are also a valid option). At the same time they are muchos those who want to publish, and that complicates things.
I know that it can be desperate not to find a home for that manuscript that one has written sacrificing hours of sleep or social life, but the competition is tough and the possibilities for new authors are limited. On the other hand, that is something that has always happened.
- AL: What is the moment of crisis that we are experiencing assuming you? Can you keep something positive or useful for future novels?
TH: I am not looking for positive factors to tragedies. I don't think something like the pandemic has brought out or is going to bring out the best in anyone, but it is a background that can be used in fiction in the future, of course.
I'm not particularly attracted to it at the moment, really, but it is possible that, with a little more distance, I considered setting a story in those months of restlessness and desolation. I sincerely doubt it, although the imagination sometimes ends up taking us along paths that we had never thought to travel.