Complementing my interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the three hundred and sixty-fifth, is of Javier Márquez Sánchez. If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at author-spotlights.
In October 1978, in Seville (Spain), shortly before the Spaniards would vote for the Constitution, and around the time that Superman flew through the screen, Javier Márquez Sánchez was born. A child destined to become a writer (for vocation) and journalist (for necessity). Influenced by the adventures of superheroes and mostly honorable cowboys, and then John Ford, Woody Allen, Sam Peckinpah and folk-rock music of the sixties, literature ended up being a cornerstone of his education, almost as much as sandwiches every summer.
From Jules Verne to Arthur Conan Doyle – he never liked “child literature” – followed by Hemingway, Bukowski, Auster, Asimov… and virtually any book which fell into his hands. Soon he got his hands on the masters of the thrillers, which he would read and study with pleasure to find the path to his own creations.
As a journalist he has worked in Madrid, San Sebastian and Seville for various media and radio. He is currently Editor in Chief of the Spanish edition of Forbes. In addition to half a hundred short-stories, he has written several books related to the world of music (Simon & Garfunkel, Elvis Presley, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young and Frank Sinatra’s Rat Pack). The film rights to his first novel, The Feast of Orpheus, was recently sold. He lives in Madrid with his cat, Doc Watson, and also writes noir stories with some rhythm to sing them with his country-rock group The Last Drink.
Lethal as a Charlie Parker Solo, out now from 280 Steps, is his first novel being translated into English. Combining real history and fiction, it tells the story of a problem solver in 1950s Las Vegas, when men were men, women were women and the Mafia and the Rat Pack ruled Sin City.
And now from the author himself:
For a decade, maybe even more, Spain has been in a new golden age of crime fiction. The same goes for other European and South American countries. It has happened, no doubt, because of a new social situation in which this literary genre offers to authors the perfect art form to reflect on the problems of modern society: political corruption, erosion of established economic system, poverty, etc…
This is nothing new. Noir fiction has had its moments of greatest splendor during the most difficult stages of recent human history. Hardboiled stories are about normal men and women: mechanics, postmen, bakers, clerks, saxophonists , politicians, writers… The human mind is very complex, being able to feel the deepest love and hate the most desperate. Above that is the novel. Noir fiction is about a woman capable of killing her husband or a politician capable of leaving an entire village to die. The reason is always the same: ambition. In crime fiction, as in real life, everyone wants something. Almost everyone wants more: to marry another man, more money, more power…
This is the reason why crime fiction has become the universal literary genre. It seems that today any novel can be classified as noir. Books by writers who have never written in this genre are now sold with the label noir. Why? Well, the thriller is fashionable and publishers have realized that almost any story can be classified as such .
In 2014, hardboiled has recovered the main role it had in 1934 or 1944. Those were years of social struggle and change in society, strikes and wars around the world, terrible economic crisis with families who lost everything and people who would do anything to survive and achieve their dreams, and even cross the line to the other side of the law. It is interesting to review many of the novels or films (many of them written by famous noir writers), and note that many of the characters in them are very similar to those we see in current works. The times are changing fast, but men have retained much of its essence throughout the years, and many of the stereotypes from seventy-five years ago are still valid today.
As a writer, I don’t care too much about the criminal aspect of the novel. I don’t care how a character dies, who kills him or how the case is resolved. What really matters to me is the reason. For me, the big question is why? Why does a husband kill his wife? Why did the friendly cashier kill the bank manager? Why did a sweet girl shot her father and three neighbors before fleeing with her boyfriend? Why? This big question is the great engine of noir fiction, and indeed, of our own lives.
You can find more about Javier and his writing via…
- Twitter: @JavierMarquezSa
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