«In Latin America they forget that they exist because we married them and had children»

«In Latin America they forget that they exist because we married them and had children»
«In Latin America they forget that they exist because we married them and had children»

In 1997, Almudena de Arteaga published her first novel, The Princess of Eboli. After the success of the book, he left the right to dedicate himself exclusively to literatureto conferences and to shed light on the lives of women who are essential to knowing our history.

Winner of the Alfonso Her books have spent months on the best-seller lists, with numerous reissues and have been translated into several languages.

–You are a lawyer, an academic at the Royal Spanish American Academy, the Duchess of Infantado and a very successful writer. What job comes first in your daily work?

–In my daily work, I always think about what I am writing. That is the first job. Then I do very different things because I manage a forest in the north, in Guipúzcoa, of 1,500 hectares, a beech forest, and then I have a sand quarry, wonderful beach sand. Which is why I always jokingly say that I am a writer. The first is a miner and a lumberjack, joking.

–You already have 20, 21 books, which demonstrates a great literary vocation. How did she know she was a writer?

–I knew it since I was little, but I never thought about it. Since I started writing in the diary that they gave you at your First Communion and I started writing my things, but I thought they were for me, nothing more. I never thought anyone would be interested. I have also always used writing as a psychological treatment, almost as something to be able to express my feelings without any type of fear. But my first book came in ’97 with The Princess of Ebolithat great best-seller. And between lawsuit and lawsuit, because what I actually studied was Law at the CEU; between demand and demand, I wrote a little about the book and it turned out that that book that I thought almost no one was going to be interested in, became a best-seller. From that moment on, I do believe that I am a professional writer.

–And how did success come?

–I didn’t believe it. When I arrived at the Madrid Book Fair I met the greats and they called me Antonio Gala, for example. Almudena told me, this is not normal. I was still very young. It is not normal that you have to know that just as you are here, you can be here. And I had it very clear from the beginning and in fact I experienced it. There are books that we don’t know why they work; If we knew the secret we would do bestsellers like churros, but they sell very well and there are others that don’t hit the key they should touch; Now that doesn’t make them better or worse.

–When you sit down to write, what thread do you pull to start a story?

–It can arise from any document you are reading, from a file, from an article in the press or simply from something that I had investigated in a previous book. And at the time of writing the novel there was some protagonist who wanted to show his head and I had to hold him back, because we already know that it is the same as when you record a movie; You can’t leave the protagonist aside no matter how much a second guy comes trying to step on him. Then the thread to pull can come from the most unexpected place in the world, from a museum, from an exhibition you are seeing and from an idea that arises.

–And how do you know that that is the story? Does any light come on inside?

–It tempts you. History, as soon as it arrives, you always have to be alert. You always have to be receptive to try to capture everything that is around you. And then, when you start writing you have to see if you fall in love with it. If the writer does not fall in love with the story, he is unlikely to make the reader fall in love with it. Never.

The Spanish archives are true treasures still unexploredAlmudena de Arteaga

–How do you approach the construction of the story, knowing that so much historical data is missing, knowing that it must be reconstructed?

–You have to imbibe your surroundings, get to know all the people you met, the protagonist. In my case, they are almost always women. As Juan Eslava Galán says, the scaffolding of the novel, the backdrop, you have to sit down, especially so as not to commit a single anachronism. And once you have everything, you build it. What the unwritten files leave you is the only thing you can fictionalize. But normally you have to fictionalize in a way that is totally real, not make any mistakes.

–I understand that there is a process of deep self-observation.

–In every book you write there is something about yourself. There is something in all my books. When the most intimate scenes in the 16th century were not written, even though they say that the kings had the wedding night and 52 watching. But the real thing, the interior of the character, that was not written down, and you have to imagine it; That’s where something from your life or something from your passions can come in.

–I would like you to talk a little about the meaning of women in your books. And more broadly the story.

–I have tried to give it its place. When I wrote María de Molina three medieval crowns, When they gave me the Alfonso de Molina barely had anything. So that’s what I try. I have spoken about María de Molina, as I spoke about the princess of Éboli. Two films were later made and 20 books were published about the princess, but there was only one written and one essay in the 19th century. So we have to put them in her place, we have to put them and give them their place in the history of Spain.

It is true that women have had to walk in the shadows for many centuries, but the intelligent woman directed the threads from the shadows, perhaps better than if she had been illuminated by a spotlight. So. Well, that’s what’s fun with my last protagonist, who is Gálvez’s wife, who helped Spain and the independence of the United States so much. Nobody knew anything. It is the first novel that was written. Then the Planeta Prize deals with it a little too, but it was published eight months after my book.

Whether we like it or not, genetics are there. We are brothers and we are linked

–And regarding this it seems that women have been blurred from history, but there are women like Saint Teresa who are indifuminable.

-Undoubtedly. Why has it been blurred? Don’t know. Perhaps because they did not have the relevant positions that they should have had at that time. Well, but Isabel la Católica did have great chroniclers. It depends on which woman. Those who were in the second row, undoubtedly, are blurred; you have to look for them. Traces have been left. For example, she had a friend who wrote historical novels, but about witches, about bartenders, about bakers. And she told me: “Almudena, your thing is always princesses, queens and duchesses.” And I said: “well, they have left more written documentation.” The Spanish archives are true treasures that are still unexplored and we can find not only women, men and many characters that you would not suspect, who were so influential in the history of Spain and that, however, what needs to be done is that, remove them from ostracism, study absolutely everything and then reflect it in an entertaining way, which is what I try in novels.

–Have you seen ‘Hispanoamérica’?

–I think I’m going to go see it this afternoon. I really want to. Everything she praises; the history of Spain. The true history of Spain. I think she is worth helping. And in Latin America we are in a tremendous trend right now of falsification of true history. They forget that they exist because we married them and had children. Basically, that could say 800 other things. They forget that they were colonists in North America. All the citizens of southern America were our provinces. That is to say, a man who had been born in New Spain, in the Viceroyalty of New Spain, was the same as one who had been born in Asturias for the Spanish Crown. Exactly the same. I think it’s something…; Anything that helps explain this and erase many falsehoods that are being said seems superb to me and we have to support them all. I haven’t seen it, but I’m sure I’ll like it.

–Why do we want to deny this link between two continents?

–Honestly, I don’t understand it. There are people interested in it. The independence movement already began at the beginning of 1808, at the beginning of the 19th century. But it’s over here. We are brothers. We are brothers. Whether we like it or not, there is genetics. We are brothers and we are linked. We are linked by religion, by customs, by language and by the birth of all those who have been born. I tell everyone who tells me that they want to disengage, go to the Museum of America in Madrid and see all the paintings of mestizaje that exist, because they will see that there are about 20 and 30 different mestizos and they all come from Spanish at the end.

 
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