(About The Oxford Murders)
Q. What were the working titles of this book?
A. “Imperceptible Crimes” (The original Spanish title: Crímenes Imperceptibles) and “The Oxford Series” (which was my working title till the end).
Q. Which is your favorite line from this book?
A. As a writer I rather prefer paragraphs over lines. I enjoyed a lot the ending of this one:
‘What do you imagine the fourth murder will be like?’ he asked. ‘A death in keeping with the ancient solemnity of the tetraktys?’ He looked around as if searching for inspiration. ‘I seem to remember that Seldom liked bowling, at least one time,’ he said. ‘The game wasn’t very well known in Russian then. In his lecture, he compared the points of the tetraktys to the layout of the pins at the start ten pins on the first ball.’
‘Strike,’ I said.
‘Yes, exactly. Isn’t that a magnificent word?’ And he repeated it in his strong Russian accent, smiling strangely, as if he was picturing an implacable ball and heads rolling.
‘Strike!’ I also liked :
‘Yes, the most subtle and enduring trick was to convince everyone that magic does not exist. I myself just used this handkerchief. But for true magicians, the handkerchief doesn’t conceal a trick, but a much more ancient secret. So remember,’ he said with a mischievous smile, ‘always remember: magic does not exist.’ He clicked his fingers and another goldfish jumped into water.’ Magic does not exist.
Q. What/where is your favorite place to write?
A. Any desk looking to a window with some sky and green of trees.
Q. How did you spend your book advance – did you buy anything extravagant or special?
A. I bought a house.
Q. Which fictional character would you most like to meet? It doesn’t have to be a character in your own work…
A. Lolita, at the time of the novel (with the most innocent intentions). Justine, of Lawrence Durrell. And the two girls of my novel.
Q. Do you have a motto or an inspirational line taped to your computer, wall, bulletin board, etc? What is it?
A. I don’t have one, but I think from time to time in the motto of a cultural magazine which was very famous in my country. “Say your word and vanish” (sorry for the bad translation, should be something closer to “break yourself” instead of vanish). The line is from Nietzsche.
Q. Are you a Mac, PC, or ballpoint person?
Q. Who would star in the movie version of your book?
A. Gael Garcia Bernal as the young student and Ed Harris as Arthur Seldom. I am not sure about the women.
Q. Which songs would be on the soundtrack?
A. Sorry, I am not a very musical guy.
Q. What are your three favorite names?
A. Milagros and Julia, the names of my daughters, and also Milena, as Kafka’s wife.
Q. What is your most treasured possession?
A. My mental health and my eyes to see. I guess that political correction prevents me to consider my wife Marisol as a possession.
Q. In which season do you write/create your best work?
A. I am so slow as a writer that I go through every season many times. I cannot tell the difference.
Q. What is your favorite book that you won’t admit to liking at parties or literary functions?
A. Many books by Agatha Christie, unless Truman Capote were invited (he was also her fan)
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