I have a theory, correct me if not, and that is that Carmen Mola’s pseudonym was born when one of you suggested Carmen and another replied that that name was cool.
(The three laugh) JORGE DÍAZ. It was literally like that. We think of a name in English. But someone said: “No, it has to be Spanish: Carmen.” And Carmen… cool. It may seem like a joke. We thought about the novels a lot but the pseudonym was sudden.
“We wrote with six hands because we thought it would be fun, we never imagined success”
There are examples of novels written with four hands, but to six it already seems like a feat.
AGUSTÍN MARTÍNEZ. The three of us are screenwriters and we are used to the ‘writer’s room’, a system in which we get together and start to craft stories. It was Jorge who pulled the project by suggesting that we take this practice into a novel.
JD We did it because we thought it was just going to be fun. We did not imagine the success that the first novel would have, ‘The gypsy bride’.
That Carmen Mola was a secret in the Elena Ferrante style was also planned from the beginning?
ANTONIO MERCERO. Once the novel was finished, we saw that it made no sense to put three names because we were not going to fit the title. And our agent liked the idea.
They announced that Carmen Mola was from Madrid and a high school teacher. Did they also invent a life for her?
JD As each one answered the questionnaires separately and we did not remember what the others had said before, in some interviews we said that he had two children, in others three. We even plan to create a Facebook page for you.
Ag. M. At some point we revealed that he had lived in Tirso de Molina, an area of Madrid, where many gypsy merchants live in the Rastro. Also that he was hidden by his sisters-in-law who would not understand the violence of his novels. He ended up looking like a weird Frankenstein.
“We have three very different sensibilities, but none of us would have been able to write ‘The Gypsy Bride’ or ‘The Beast’ alone.”
Beyond these data, what they got was a literary voice for Mola that has little to do with the novels that each one writes separately.
Ag. M. Yes, it is very curious. We have three sensibilities and three very different voices, but none of us would have been able to write ‘The Gypsy Bride’ or ‘The Beast’ alone. Instead, three came naturally.
Let’s get down to business. What is the system? How do they write these collaborative works?
Ag. M. We start from many meetings, we talk tirelessly about the plot, the characters and we are shaping the story.
JD One writes, not always the same, a scene and the result passes to the other and from this to the third. If someone thinks that writing between three is going to be faster, they are wrong. This takes a lot of coats of paint. And the best thing is to get to that point where we don’t really know what each one has written.
“The plot of our first novel, with those worms devouring the brain, marked us”
Carmen Mola’s DNA is loaded with truculence. That has helped more than one to speculate that it was not a woman.
An. M. Today women and men describe violence with the same intensity. From the beginning we wanted to do something very hyper-realistic about that topic. In addition, the plot of the first novel with those worms devouring the brains of corpses marked us.
JD Everything has happened as by chance. We were forced to maintain the level of extreme violence in the second novel and upping the ante in the third. And in the end, mocking mocking, the series is built.
Will the fourth novel in Elena Blanco’s series be released in Alfaguara?
Yes in March.
Is it then the farewell of the seal?
We don’t want it to be like this.
Why move to the 19th century?
JD We have written this during lockdown and through online meetings. The feeling that the future was absolutely unpredictable was imposing itself on us. So the past has been a safe place for us as writers.
The Madrid of 1834 with its anger and its burning of convents does not seem like a very welcoming place.
An. M. We were interested because that was a moment of transformation regarding the social reality and urban planning of the city.
“The Madrid of ‘La Bestia’ was heavily mediated by the priests, a year after the confiscation of Mendizábal and the clergy began to lose their privileges”
In addition, the regent María Cristina, who ruled at the time, came to amass a personal fortune at the expense of the people.
JD There is always a critical accent on society in our novels but we do not emphasize the political aspect. That was a society highly mediated by the presence of priests, a year after the confiscation of Mendizábal and the clergy beginning to lose their privileges.
An. M. Madrid fought cholera with mostly magical remedies, but regardless of whether they worked or not, only the rich had access to them.
A television series on ‘The Gypsy Bride’ is in preparation. When will we see it?
An. M. It is in pre-production and will begin shooting in January. It will most likely be seen in the fall of next year. Jorge, I and a group of scriptwriters have worked on the adaptation.
How did it feel to go on stage to collect the award?
JD I don’t remember what I said or what happened. I would say that a very tall guy gave us the award.
Ag. M. Really? That was the King. (All three laugh).
Will Carmen Mola be around for a while? Revealed your personality makes sense to continue?
JD Novels must defend themselves and ours have done it. What difference does it make who wrote them? It doesn’t matter if it’s a 25-year-old lady or a short guy. If readers like it, that’s fine.
An. M. Collective creation is common in other arts but rarer in writing. We still have to learn to get rid of that exquisite way of looking at literature.
Ag. M. Nobody disputes that a Beatles record is a masterpiece and is a collective creation.