I rarely spoke to him at the 2022 Calendar Awards. Still, it was enough time to feel like I’d meet him again. José Alejandro Cantalopes Vázquez is a secluded and calm young man.
And he didn’t even show off at the awards show, the sugar ecstasy. He seems to be running away from glories, but I don’t think so: this Creator is perceptive enough to realize that one cannot contemplate the sun without being blinded by the light of reality.
His story is so intriguing and promising, that the jury of the science fiction and fantasy category — made up of Elaine Villar Madruga, Jose Miguel Sánchez (Yos) and F Monde — decided to award him the “Thriller” prize for the moral-political, forever-modern problem that is the focus of its plot: a reflection in the nature of The authority of the leaders, their responsibility, and the responsibility of their subjects.” It was the first time, in 17 years, that a work of historical fiction had won an almanac award.
How did the idea of writing come about? tyrant fabric?
“He had two moments. The first in 2020, when I decided I wanted to write a novel whose protagonist was an artist, there was a tyrant away from all current stereotypes, someone who cared about his people and did a great job. It had to be set in the same world that you share In it most of my stories and to be tragedy, in the purest Greek spirit. On its own, I’m still not convinced it was worth writing, and that was the idea, until early 2021, in the think tank where I worked, we had a few discussions about democracy and tyrants and how only laws are capable. To ensure the stable development of society.
So I put the two parts together and decided to make the novel a reflection of myself and tragedy, which is not a popular choice among authors. But, above all, I write the play for myself; If readers like it afterwards and you win a contest, that’s a bonus.”
—How much time have you devoted to the investigation and subsequent creation of this work?
It took twenty days to write the novel. He wrote an average of four pages per day, while the research process took less than ten days. You don’t have to spend months or years researching if you know what you’re looking for and where to find it, although it did help position the novel on a continent where I wrote other stories. The society and its characters are a mixture of my knowledge of ancient Greece and medieval Italian city-states.
– In 2021 you were mentioned in the calendar award. This year you rise with laurel. To what extent has it evolved from one version to another? Where is the difference in your opinion?
– I guess I only had a little development as a writer silence symbol (to be published next year by San Lube Publishing House in Las Tunas) and tyrant fabric. Maybe I improved my grammar a bit, I learned to structure the novel better, but nothing more. However, I think the difference was in the plot.
What attracts you to historical fiction?Toric? Do you consider it a forgotten type in Cuba?
—more than just historical fiction — though the whole genre is somehow imbued with history, tyrant fabric It falls in the sub-genre of political fiction, where historical fiction is viewed as those novels that are based on our history and include magic or speculation as to what could have been, to alter some details. Now, is fiction a forgotten type in Cuba? My answer is yes, especially if you’re talking about publishers who don’t take it seriously. The writing is not. Much imagination is conceived and by people of all ages.
What are the main challenges of a young fiction writer residing in the country?
—The challenges of being a fiction writer in Cuba are many, which is why I always tell those who want to give it a try to take it mathematically and enjoy the process. You will not get rich, you will live in your own capital
The chances of publishing a book, let’s not talk about an epic, are very slim. Chances are three to four times less if you live in any other county. With the exception of the Oscar Hurtado competition, a story, it does not have its own awards. When a contest is announced, it’s science fiction and…fantasy, making it a subset. Because the jurors in these competitions are mostly science authors
Fiction, and this ends up tipping the balance towards the genre. You just have to notice it tyrant fabric It is the first calendar-winning fantasy novel of all these years.
—How do you rate your experience at the Onelio Jorge Cardoso Literary Training Center?
“It was extraordinary. As for the tools, it has kept the name of some techniques and quite a bit of others. The classes were very good, but as a writer I am learning slowly and when I received the highly compressed version of the course they offer for those who live outside Havana, I was confused. I would recommend passing the course, despite what happened to me. Choosing Onelio not only gives you the opportunity to meet other writers of your generation, but also gives you a very powerful emotional boost and makes you look more like a writer in literary circles.
Did you suffer from a depression after passing the course?
I wouldn’t call it a depressive crisis, but a creative crisis, and it’s something so common among those who’ve gone through Onelio that it has a name: Post-Onelio Syndrome. According to many of my acquaintances, who have passed it, this separates those who will be writers and those who are not. I felt unable to write anything that would work. I spent six long months ready to give up writing. Then, I decided to send away everything I learned and write what I liked, learning what could be useful for me at a slow but steady pace. So I came here.
—You defined yourself as an “amateur translator”, however you won the Uneac José Rodríguez Feo Prize for Literary Translation with the book Prayer answeredby Truman Capote. How was that possible? Would you like to develop your career as a literary translator along with writing?
– My case is similar to that of a pair of Italian and European figure skating champions and one of the ten best pairs in the world, but their hobby in their daily life is working as policemen and skating. It’s just a coincidence that I’m good at doing something I love and it’s hardly hard for me. For example, I translated the Uneac Award winning novel in my spare time (September 2019). He had no other pretensions than to prove to me that he could translate the book.
“Translation and writing are two things that I hold separate and neither conflict with the other, although I translate five times more than I write. Now, from there to working as a literary translator, I’ll count on finding publishers who are interested in the books I’m translating, that are copyright-free, and don’t exceed 150 pages. If possible, great, if not, I continue to translate books and articles on my blog. ”
—How much improvement do you owe to your blog The Last Bridge?
To The Last Bridge, as well as to the entire community of readers who have supported me for nearly five years, I owe everything I have achieved as a translator and writer. What I know about literature and fantasy I learned by translating Limyaael and other authors I have published there. The blog has become a place to promote the work of national authors, publish my stories and solicit opinions, as well as translations of everything I find useful to the fiction reader/writer. It started as a patriotic thing, but it has grown and I now have readers from all over Latin America, Spain and the United States. Even before moving the blog to WordPress,
It is ranked as the third most read fantasy blog in Spanish, with over a million and a half visits.
“I have many plans to improve the blog, as well as the unpublished content, but to implement them, I have to make the blog pay for it. However, these are projects that should wait for better times, when you have a business that balances leisure and income or there is the possibility of an artistic sponsorship system in our country “.