“I don’t think that when I write a novel, it has a single message. It has a lot of things to tell and maybe you don’t even know what the main message is. You have a story and this story has a lot of different points of view. For instance, one reader can hold to the love story another on more existential part so maybe in the end the readers will tell us what the book is about.” – Francesc Miralles
“For me to write is something very personal and I write on my own, the stories are mine. But they are going to be mine until they are published and then for the rest of my life they are not going to be just mine anymore. It is amazing to think that the story that you write in your bedroom, in your hotel or in the bus going somewhere, connects then with someone from here or Italy or Latin America and in the same way that the story connected you to the characters.” – Javier Ruescas
Quoting Frances and Javier, the authors of the world-wide popular easy to read “Pulsaciones”, we are honored to announce the most pleasant and free -spoken interview with these two, exclusively for “Skopje se nosi”, in addition to the charming photo shoot on the go.
The two talented and creative authors came to Skopje from Spain about a week ago for the promotion of the Macedonian edition of their book , published by “Ars Lamina”. Having met them in person, we noticed that it is no wonder they have created such a lovely and fast-paced story together: you can feel they are both on the same page, easy complementing their thoughts, just as easy as a long-year companionship, the one they cherish, becoming friends since the moment they met.
After reading their novel, we can for sure conclude that, if youngsters in Spain are really as presented in the book, then Spain does not have to worry about its future. :)
Very well constructed, it conveys a story for the second chances in life, for the unconditional, idealistic love; it is “a one breath” read, full of fresh and contemporary communication among youngsters that leads to a surprising and very human ending. Among youngsters, but not youngsters reserved only. Get to read it, and get to meet the authors behind it who showed us what’s “in their case”, talked about their inspiration, their (life) experiences and memories, what makes and made their hearts beat, their lifestyle.
Early memories from childhood?
Francesc: The first memory of my childhood is going with my mother through Las Ramblas and stopping in front of a shop with birds and there was a parrot there and somebody from the street had given him a strawberry. The parrot took the strawberry with the claw and took it to his mouth. This is my first memory. I was very surprised. I was maybe 3 or so. Yes, I remember it that clearly.
Javier: I can’t remember really… :) I haven’t done much of this retrospective thing…. For me one of the most important memories is getting some of my first books because, I’ve always been surrounded by books, my parents have always been giving me books and there was once this time when I was 6 or 7 years old and my mother gave me a huge box full of books, like a collection for kids which a friend of hers gave it to her because her sons were older now and she didn’t want the books and it was like a treasure when I opened it, so many books. Each night I read one of those books and every time I finished reading it I had to shout “I have finished my book!” while my parents were like “Shut up, we know!” :) Eeevery night! Two years later I was still like, „Heeey, I’ve finished my book!“ – and that’s why I became a „booktuber“. I talk about books on YouTube.
How did you two meet?
Javier: We met in Barcelona. I had written my first book while he had already written a lot of novels and I read his book because I was working in a book magazine and I wrote a review of his book and then we had the chance to meet on the 23rd of April, like in one week it’s going to be our anniversary since 2009. There is this party of books in Barcelona, Sant Jordi, have you heard about it? It’s a day when everyone gives and receives books and roses. So the whole city is crowded with books, people buying books, and everywhere there is the smell of roses because everyone has a rose and a book and it’s amazing. It is huge and it is the biggest book party in Spain. We met the day before on a train station.
Francesc: Yes, our first encounter was on a train station, literally, and quite romantic. :) Javier was leaving for Madrid and we sat there for a coffee, commenting each other’s books, I knew at that point that he started publishing and that was the beginning of something we couldn’t even imagine it would end up here.
Javier: We’ve been friends since then and we’ve talked about books and we’ve done trips together… when I go to Barcelona, when he comes to Madrid we meet, have dinner or whatever. I mean we not only live from the books we write, we also work as publishers in many ways… he also helps lot of authors through their own stories and we have plenty to talk about; and when our book was published all over Spain we had the chance to travel around together… which is much better than travelling alone. :)
An unforgettable piece of advice?
Francesc: The first promotion I did by myself for a book, it was just in the beginning…. I published a very difficult book to sell because, it was quite literally with many stories and I had this big illusion of having to show this book. So, I was invited by a librarian, in a new library out of Barcelona where they had a big auditorium and I was quite excited about it. I went there with an actor, a young one, I had also prepared several piano pieces… I had prepared some sort of a show for the book: certain parts of the book, the actor, the piano… a friend of mine who worked in a hospital wanted to attend but, he said “I cannot come because tonight I’m working at the surgery room… but, I wish you good luck.”
So I stood there with this actor and… there was nobody else there. Except for the person who run the auditorium, nobody else. Then, an old man entered to look what was in there and he was obliged to remain. They obliged him to sit. So all in all there was this woman, the old man in the end and the two of us, performing this show…. And then, on the way back to Barcelona my friend from the hospital asked, “How did it go?” I said, “There was nobody there.” And then he gave me one of the best pieces of advice in my life. He said, “Francesc, bare in mind that better things in life don’t happen on the first attempt. There are things of which you need to try twice, or three times… sometimes, the first time is not enough.” That was a good piece of advice.
Javier: In my case, my father told me to always remember the tale of the “Milk Girl”, the Aesop’s fable…. It is the story of a girl that has a bucket of milk on her head and while walking with the milk on her head she’s thinking what is she going to do with the milk; that she’s going to sell it, that she would get some eggs, and these would hatch and she would have chicken and then the chicken would grow up and, while thinking of it all, she falls on the ground and the milk gets spilled and everything disappears. So, he told me that story and it’s true. You always have to be careful, you have to have the plan but, you have to be one step at a time and this is very important. Because, usually we start thinking about what’s it going to be in the future, future, future and we stop thinking about the present, the moment, which is very important.
What’s always in your case?
Francesc: There is always the computer, a pen and a block.
Javier: Because usually when the computer is not working and you are out of the hotel you have nowhere to charge it, you still need to write down something…and the book you are currently reading.
And a phone charger! It’s like a life-savor! :)
What thought, intention, you never travel without?
Francesc: To discover something new.
Javier: And to meet someone new like, someone who I can relate this place to. There is no place without someone to relate it with.
Any piece of clothing that has an emotional value for you?
Francesc: Yes, I have brought 3 pieces that have emotional value: one is a t-shirt of a wolf, which was the icon/logo of a band where I’ve been playing for 8 years. The wolf was the symbol of the band. The other is a David Bowie tee which is a present of a very good friend of mine who now lives very far away and it’s a way of remembering him and then, there is a mountain Fuji t-shirt that I use when I give some courses of ikigai.
Javier: My t-shirt of the bear, which I love because it says “Sorry for what I said when I was hungry”. :) I always, well, usually, wear something from Harry Potter; maybe a tee, now are the sock. I love the color.
Francesc: I have also the Gola shoes. Typically English. Same model since 1968 and it’s still made with the original machines.
Do you think that people express some of their characteristics through the way they dress?
Javier: Yes. Even the ones that say they don’t, they do. Maybe because they feel comfortable; maybe they want to hide something, or they want to show something more, or they want to be attached to a part of them that is not always present. If it’s something from your favorite movie, from your favorite book, whatever… they are saying a lot of things without having to explain.
Do you believe in coincidence?
Francesc: Yes. It’s not a matter of believing but how observant you are. If you are with your eyes open and you are relating things you’ll find a lot of coincidence and actually these synchronicities grow even more if you are attending what’s happening it is going to happen much more rapidly because normally we don’t pay attention to the things. But, if you start paying attention then a lot of coincidences will come to you.
Javier: I prefer consequence to coincidence but usually you mistake them… you think that’s a coincidence but it’s a consequence for something you have done. I prefer consequence than coincidence.
One thing that holds your attention at first glance of a person?
Francesc: The gaze of a person. The way the person is looking at you, it gives a lot of information.
Javier: And the smile. Yes, eyes and smile. And nose. No, not the nose. :)
Do you consider social network’s communication as a form of regression, do you think that nowadays communication has lost its beauty, truth and warmness because people are more and more addicted to “getting closer” through social networks and do you think that we are becoming more alienated instead of more attached and less interested in real, face-to-face conversations?
Javier: No. I think that as much as you are willing to have that face-to-face connection, sometimes it’s impossible. So, when we wrote a book where we said that we are not addicted to phones but to the people that are on the other side of the screen, you know. It’s that I have a lot of things to do on the internet, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and I spend a lot of time there and it’s amazing to see that all those teenagers and young readers are willing to see me or come to my signing and presentations and they are asking me to come to their towns, to their countries or whatever; so, even though they have almost everything, at least that’s what it seems because of Youtube and stuff, they want that encounter. But for some people it’s easier, it’s a way of communicating things that they wouldn’t communicate without the social networks.
Francesc: For me, it’s not a regression, it’s something very good especially for shy people. I remember when I was a youngster, the guys of the classroom who were not talented to talk to others were always alone. They didn’t have a tool to connect with people like them; instead they were in a corner, always. These kind of people nowadays can connect with many other people like them… it is much easier, even to flirt, than it was before; you had to be courageous to get an appointment with someone while now it’s much easier, because you can simply write them before meeting them. What I’m saying is that we have this substitute: the amount of information, the quantity of information for the quality. A lot of information is being exchanged but emotionally there is much less quality. So there are people who behave themselves as if they were friends but you don’t really know who they are…
Javier: I think it’s difficult nowadays to remember what it means to be friend with someone, to have friends. On the outside, the way we treat other people it’s the same… you can’t find any difference between a hug with someone that is unknown to you and your friend. I mean, it’s the same kind of hug, so passionate and everything while, 10 or 15 years ago, I think, it was easier to know your friends. Maybe because now that we have all this “ocean” to talk to many people, maybe via twitter or whatever, maybe those connections are not fake but, they are superficial. Or more than superficial it’s like they are ambiguous. Like, you have those because you want to be kind but, you use a lot of exclamations and things that maybe you wouldn’t use if you have just met that person that you don’t even know.
The craziest thing you’ve done?
Javier: I’m gonna have 2 cats. That’s insane for me… having 2 cats! :) Let me think about it… that’s kind of crazy, I haven’t had any pets my whole life and now this is a huge step for me, taking care of an animal…I don’t even have plants, so it’s gonna be really important for me. They are beautiful.
Francesc: For me, the craziest thing was that after fighting many years to get a good position as a publisher when I got the contract I and had a good salary and all the advantages of it, quitting this job, going to India and deciding not to work evermore in an office and so starting as a translator, a writer, a journalist, moving from total security to total insecurity.
Javier: I was 22 when I had my first contract and it was crazy in Spain, it was very difficult to find a job but I got this contract and they wanted me there… I told them “no.” Because of the same reason, if I want to write and do my own things and if I have to stay 8 hours in the same building it’s gonna be difficult. And my parents went crazy, “What have you done?!” But then, they supported me… :) although in the beginning it was very difficult for them. Now they are still asking me, “Are you still good with money and stuff?” I say, “Yes mum”, “…because you are travelling a lot, can you manage to live?” But, they support me and that’s really important for me.
In respect to this, can you tell us what were your first job and what did you do with your first advance?
Javier: I know this question, very good. I was studying engineering for 6 months and I quit it because it was horrible so I had to do something, my parents told me that I couldn’t be like on holiday. So, I started working on a gas station and it was crazy. I woke up at 5 or 6 in the morning and worked until 3 pm, I was so tired. With my first payment I went to London, with two friends. That was my first trip without my parents out of Spain.
Francesc: My first job was waiter. I still consider that to be a waiter is the best job in the world. And I have quite nostalgia of that. Provided you work with friends, the person who runs the bar is a friend of yours or a good person, because you have the opportunity to get to know so many people and to talk to people who are sad and you make some jokes with these people – it’s like being an alternative therapist. So for me working as a waiter, it was in a night club with a piano man, was one of the most exciting experiences of my life. I met a lot of people who are very interesting, actors, people with many dreams. With the money, all of us who worked there, went together in Amsterdam.
If you didn’t write or didn’t blog, what would your occupation be?
Javier: I would be still telling stories since that is something I’ve known my whole life. My mother is one of the best story tellers I’ve met although she doesn’t write, the way she speaks is lovely so I think I would be writing a script for movies. I was an actor before I turned 20 and then I couldn’t, I didn’t want to. I wanted to write the stories not to become the characters of others stories.
Francesc: Maybe travel guide or something.
How did the acceptance of your book by the readers influence you after being published? Did you learn something or gained any new experience from the readers’ feedback and response to your book?
Javier: Yes. You learn what they like. For me to write is something very personal and I write on my own, the stories are mine. But they are going to be mine until they are published and then for the rest of my life they are not going to be just mine anymore. So, in that moment when I am writing I do not listen to anyone about my stories and what I want to tell but then when the book is published, the feedback I receive, I can use some of that feedback to learn maybe about the mistakes from my past novels and how not to repeat them. Usually we get really nice reviews and people are really nice. It is amazing to think that the story you write in your bedroom, in your hotel or in the bus going somewhere, connects then with someone from here or Italy or Latin America and in the same way that the story connected you to the characters.
And I guess you are surprised when people understand the story in a different way than in the way you wanted them to understand…
Javier: When you write the story sometimes you don’t know what are you talking about and once you are finished you get the idea. And then it’s amazing that you find people that see different things and also is funny when those people are someone that knows you and they relate different things from you to the story and it’s kind of: “Wow, I didn’t see that coming from you.” But it’s true, it was there, you know…
So, you didn’t have the idea about the message you want to convey through the book?
Javier: I know the idea but usually, in some cases is not there at the beginning. In “Pulsaciones” we knew what we were talking about from the beginning but I don’t know if this happens to you…I usually know the theme and the essence. Maybe I think that I am talking about love but then I get that it is not about love but about friendship or achieving your dreams and that love stories can be the main plot that will connect the points. And once the stories are finished and sometimes when I am doing the edition of the book I am trying to accentuate the theme that now I know is the best part of it. Then, half of the work is done by the readers.
Francesc: I don’t think that when I write a novel, it has an only message. It has a lot of things to tell and maybe you don’t even know what the main message is. You have a story and this story has a lot of different points of view. For instance, one reader can hold to the love story another on more existential part so maybe in the end the readers will tell us what the book is about.
Did you write it in one breath?
Javier: We had the idea, we knew the whole plot, like in movies, you have to know its scene and once we know that we started writing it and we didn’t have any conflicts. It is impossible to have conflicts with Francesc. With me it’s easier but with Francesc is impossible. :)
Francesc: We have worked a lot before, the plot, the characters, we knew how everyone was, the progression of everyone, the changes, the turns, otherwise we couldn’t have done a book like this.
Javier: Usually when you write with someone you have to be generous. Generous in a way you accept the idea and you give your ideas. Every time you give one idea you have to explain why. You have to explain why, what it’s going to happen, what happens if you don’t use that idea. He understands what I am trying to do and vice versa.
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