Today, we are honoured by a visit from an angel, my very special friend Sadie Duarte, who, I originally stumbled upon on Twitter. When my son accused me of having thousands of fake friends, he was sorely mistaken. Like in real life, cyber friends are humans too, and they come in all kinds of quality. Sadie Duarte, is among the most precious. When I shouted out an invitation to review my book, Sadie Duarte took it up. She happened to like it, especially, as I found out later, she herself has been living with disabilities for quite a time. When I asked her, Sadie promptly went on to translate my work to her native language, Castilian Spanish, which, to my astonishment, she completed amazingly fast. This brilliant author and poetess is very thorough, and works very efficiently.
Born in Zaragoza (Spain), Sadie Duarte is a writer/scriptwriter who holds a B.A. in English Studies at UNED and an M.A. in Textual and Cultural Studies in English Language (British & Hollywood Cinema) at the University of Zaragoza. She has received eleven literary & academic awards and also works as a teacher of English & a translator.
Hello Sadie. Thanks for visiting. Would you be so kind to give readers a one-sentence synopsis of Alas para Soñar (Wings to Dream)?
“Silence can dance too”
What inspired you to write this book?
When I was a child, my dream was to be a dancer. Not that I dreamt of being famous, but I needed to escape from the world I was living in, my daily life, the everyday problems… I wanted to be free. Nobody taught me how to dance, but I had some kind of talent which I used to participate in the school festivals and with my friends, just for fun. I was hoping to take up dancing classes, but then, I had an accident which led to a major operation when I was only 18. All my dreams shattered. There was very little chance for me to walk again, but the worst thing to me was when I was told that I’d never dance again.
It was so difficult for me to face up reality and start living a life where the word “disability” was in front of me, just like a label attached to the strings of my heart. Since that day, I devoted myself to trying to get my life back. I thought there had to be a way to bring back the same person I used to be. It was incredibly hard, but fortunately, I recovered from everything.
I’ve always said that no matter how difficult life can be, you just need to have will power to fight and get what you want. Nobody can silence you for even silence has so much to say… even dance to the dance of life.
I thought that I could tell my own story in a fictionalized way so other people, especially teenagers with similar problems and their own families, would know there’s always an open door waiting for you. In this way, Alas para Soñar should be considered not as an elaborated short novel, but more like a teenager’s diary where feelings are much more important than the story.
That is very touching, Sadie. I congratulate you on being a survivor and on your contribution in motivating others. How real are your characters?
They’re all true to life. My friends inspired me as well as other people who I found along the way, though I changed their names and jobs. The two sisters in the story, Marcy and Eileen are both myself. Eileen is the voice of the conscience, the one that tells you where you should go, which road to take and what’s best for you. She’s supposed to be sensible, though sometimes she’s wrong. Marcy is the voice that comes from the heart, the rebel, the one who needs to shout out to the world that she has something to say.
Brilliant! You and your alternate ego. Don’t we all need one? I wish you success in helping people with that one. Now please tell us about your upcoming book, Almas de Fuego (Souls of Fire). What is it about? How did you come up with the title Almas de Fuego?
This is an illustrated fantasy novel for young adults and is part of a trilogy. I wanted to write a story involving mythology, alchemy, magic, reincarnation, love and passion, without forgetting to give readers the chance to unveil a message between the lines.
The story is set in mysterious places like Shamballa, Hades and the African desert. It has exotic protagonists like a water-diviner, a thief of souls and the legendary alchemist Fulcanelli. The storyline conveys some kind of a dreamland atmosphere where everything is possible.
The book brings to the fore the old-time confrontation between good and evil and also makes readers wonder to what extent people’s destinies can be influenced or changed. One way or the other, most people are looking for something: happiness, love, a comfortable life… I guess we are all ‘souls of fire’, just trying to make our dreams come true.
How much do you have in common with your characters?
Well, there’s always something about me in all the stories I write, though not in every character. Those characters that stumble, fall, learn from their mistakes and keep trying are very much like me.
What’s your latest news?
Almas de Fuego (Souls of Fire) will be published in English and Spanish versions in March 2013. The book will be available worldwide in paperback, PDF and Kindle. I intend to have an illustrated tale for children published later on this year and also have an ambitious project to shoot a short movie in Spain.
You translation of Sydney’s Song has received glowing praise. Readers have come to me to say they like your work. Why did you agree to translate it? How long did it take you to translate this book?
It was the first time I was offered to translate a book into Spanish, so I really liked the idea. At the same time, I knew it would give me the chance to let other people know about the kind of work I can do, so I agreed. I really enjoyed the experience as Sydney’s Song is such a compelling story, so touching and full of life. I’ll always be grateful to Ia Uaro for thinking of me as a translator.
The translation took me about one month and a half. I spent about 15 hours per week each time and once it was finished, I also revised, re-read and corrected the manuscript a couple of times too. I’ve always been a perfectionist, so if I ever feel that something should be improved, then I go for it!
Thank you! My deepest gratitude for a job very well done!
What is your favorite line in Sydney’s Song, Sadie?
I’d choose the line where Nina tells Sydney, “No one will think badly of you, except the low people. Nobody will honour you, except the honourable.”
Would you visit or live in Australia, Sadie?
Sure! I love travelling and as I’ve never been to Australia, it’d be great to make a trip there in the near future.
Looking forward to your visit then, I really hope we can meet for real.
Now, wo would you say have been the most influential authors in your life? What is it that really strikes you about their work?
I believe the Spanish author Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer (1836-1870) has been the most influential to me. His rhymes and legends are so romantic and inspiring. The same goes for Antonio Gala and Alberto Vázquez Figueroa, who are not only good writers, but brilliant poets. I love good literature in general, Ovid, Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Jerome K. Jerome, Jane Austen, E. M. Forster, Nicholas Sparks and… even Hugh Laurie! When I read a book, I also want to ‘feel’ something. That’s what matters to me the most.
I hope one day you can introduce the great Spanish authors to us by translating their work into English; perhaps someday when you aren’t busy.
What story would you like to share about the joy, challenge, or hardship of writing?
I’ve been writing since I was 7-seven-year old. I still keep several folders full of short stories, tales, poems and two novels. They may not be very good and I have no idea if I’ll ever have them published, but they’re part of my life. No matter what happens, they’ll always be there, in writing, waiting for someone to read them, hoping to inspire. So many times people have told me to stop writing ‘cause ‘it’s a waste of time’. I disagree. I believe if you have a talent, you should not put it aside. My piece of advice is that everybody should be free to try and make their dreams come true.
Who gives you the most encouragement? Why is that important to you?
Other artists, not only the famous ones, but also normal people who are good at something and yet don’t know what to do to be noticed. That’s why I opened my Twitter and Facebook accounts. I want to give artists from all over the world the chance to be heard.
You have a caring soul, Sadie.
You are also a perfectionist with attention to details. Any tips for us in writing or translating?
Just listen to your heart. We all have something to say, so take a look deep inside your soul and try to put it in writing. If it’s hard to do it, if it’s painful and takes you some time, then you bet it’s something good.
What courage! Very inspiring when plenty of people simply give up when faced with difficulties.
Would you take translating a career besides writing?
Yes, I would. Actually, I’d be very pleased to translate into Spanish other author’s books. I enjoy doing many things and being busy, so I’m looking forward to that.
I can attest to how fabulous your work is!
What are your hobbies? When do you find the time to write?
I enjoy listening to all kinds of music, going to the cinema, theatre… anything that has to do with the performing arts. I absolutely love musicals!
I only write if I have something to say. When I have a good story in my head, I try to write it in a couple of months. It’s compulsory. I sit in front of the computer every single day and write until the story is finished, even if I don’t feel like it.
Excellent discipline. What one thing is important for your readers/audience to know about you? Why?
To be or not to be a best-selling author is not important to me. I only want to make people ‘feel’ when they read my stories. I want them to close their eyes and think of the message between the lines. That’s the meaning of success. You’re successful if you manage to touch people’s hearts. And that’s not easy. So many times we read stories that are easily forgotten. If they remember mine, then I’ll be grateful.
Looking forward to read your work, Sadie. Tell us about your Spain.
In my opinion, Spain is a fine place to go on your summer holidays, but not a very good country to live in because of the economic crisis. More and more people are going to live overseas now as there are no working opportunities here. I truly hope that things change in the near future, though many of us are already sad and disappointed.
Sadie’s first fiction novel for young adults, Alas para Soñar (Libros Certeza)—a story about a ballerina who has to deal with disability—was published for charity purposes in November 2000.
Readers, watch out for Sadie’s upcoming book. Authors, contact Sadie for a translation that you will be extremely pleased with. Find her on:
Book Purchase Links: http://www.certeza.com