HomeArts & EntertainmentBooksInterview: Juan Gomez-Jurado, author, Red Queen

Interview: Juan Gomez-Jurado, author, Red Queen

What or who inspired you to write Antonia Scott’s character in Red Queen?

Author Juan Gomez-Jurado (Alta Resolucion)

The inspiration for Antonia and Jon inevitably stems from Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. Antonia is that idealistic being, she does not hesitate to face the windmills, because she believes in a better world. Jon, on the other hand, is that pragmatist who has a dreamer hidden inside of him. They are very layered characters and I intentionally kept their sketches subtle because usually these things go unnoticed in a thriller and we go at full speed. But each and every word I’ve used to describe them has been chosen carefully.

What kind of research did you do for the book?

I focused, above all, on the forensic work of the Spanish police. But there is not much reliance on documentation. Yes, it was very important to have experts in bomb disposal for a very specific chapter of the book. But I won’t tell you more to avoid spoilers.

Juan Gómez-Jurado, translated by Nick Caistor; 432pp, ₹750; Pan Macmillan India
Juan Gómez-Jurado, translated by Nick Caistor; 432pp, ₹750; Pan Macmillan India

How has your work as a journalist influenced or helped you come up with the plots of your thrillers?

With journalism, I am especially interested in the part that has to do with telling stories. But when it comes to the design of my plots, my role as a husband and father, or even as an adopted son, takes precedence. These roles have affected me more. Family, love and friendship are powerful triggers for stories. To take an example away from my work, we wouldn’t care so much about John McClane if his wife wasn’t a prisoner in Die Hard.

Red Queen is the first book in a trilogy and it is already being adapted into a web series for Amazon Prime Video. What kind of pressure does it put on you as a writer as you write the remaining two books in the trilogy?

You don’t know how glad I am that the books are already written and have been published in Spain. But there’s still the challenge of the English-speaking world, and that’s almost like starting over.

You have millions of readers worldwide and your books have been translated into multiple languages. Do you feel the translations do justice to your narratives?

I don’t know any other languages apart from English, but surely Antonia Scott, who can speak seven or eight with great ease, could have a better opinion on that. A large part of the book talks about the difficulty of communication, of the exact feeling that can sometimes only be found in a language other than your own.

Out of all your novels, which one remains closest to your heart and why?

Without a doubt, the Red Queen trilogy occupies a very special place, but it happens to me like with many writers — you always love the youngest son more, because he is the one who needs the most protection. So currently, I would say that Todo Arde, which is my latest novel is the one closest to my heart.

Tell us about some of your favourite writers who have inspired you to write crime fiction.

Arthur Conan Doyle, Patricia Highsmith, Gillian Flynn, Aravind Adiga, Dumas, Follett… The list is endless!

Arunima Mazumdar is an independent writer. She is @sermoninstone on Twitter and @sermonsinstone on Instagram.

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