Carmen Mola had been giving interviews by email for years. She seemed comfortable in the role of “the Elena Ferrante Spanish “that the media and the mechanisms of editorial promotion had so comfortably assigned her. It suited the character that she was not such an extraordinary anomaly: Carmen Mola was a pseudonym, yes, but that of a woman who wanted to go unnoticed. 48 years old , a teacher in Madrid, married, with three children. It could be anyone, but in reality it was the robot portrait of a credible character made by three television scriptwriters. Last year a journalist from La Vanguardia asked the supposed writer what she would have to do stop by to reveal his identity. “I would never voluntarily discover it. In addition, it is not very interesting, I assure you “, was the answer.
The best endowed prize in Spanish letters falls 78% of the time on them
But there was a price to uncover the trap that he had held so solidly for three years and a trilogy: one million euros.
The general public did not know it, but it was not such a well-kept secret: in the publishing world it was rumored that the Carmen Mola phenomenon – more than 300,000 copies of her trilogy, translated into 11 languages, rights sold for television – was scripted. The writers still have to explain why, in an endless series of interviews, this time face to face, that they will have to dispatch as winners of the Planet. Beyond the game and fun, the publishing market does not go without a thread, so the enigmatic figure of a writer had to be more beneficial, in every way, than the truth.
When on the night of this Friday, October 15, the veil of Carmen Mola’s fiction fell, the woman writer evaporated and the three men who had invented her appeared: Antonio Mercero, Jorge Díaz and Agustín Martínez. All three are authors of discreet novels but writers for television series with many millions of viewers behind them: Central Hospital it is the most important of them. “As you can see, behind the name of Carmen Mola, as in the rest of the lies we have been telling, there is not a high school teacher but three writers, three screenwriters, three friends,” said Jorge Díaz when accepting the award at the gala of the Planet Prize number 70.
United by a hospital
Antonio Mercero, 52, has television in his blood. He is the son of another Antonio Mercero, the creator of On-call pharmacy (1991-1995), Blue summer (1981-1982) o Duty shift (1986-1987) and died in 2018. His son worked as a screenwriter for him on Pharmacy open, recently graduated as a journalist from the Faculty of Information Sciences of the Complutense University of Madrid. He worked for Manu Legineche in the news agencies Lid and Fax Press, and was a collaborator of The Business Gazettes in New York. Soon after, he left journalism and dedicated himself to scriptwriting, creating with Jorge Díaz and Moisés Gómez the successful Central Hospital (2000-2012). He has worked on three films with film director Gracia Querejeta and has written two short films with Goya nominations.
Jorge Díaz, 59, is not only a friend and companion of fatigue in Central Hospital, but he also did the same compliment as Mercero to journalism, having both studied at the same faculty. Right there he discovered that journalism was not his thing, but that Complutense building it was a “fun” place in the 80s. He saw that his thing was rather to tell made-up stories. Jorge himself jokes, or perhaps not, when he says that he built the character of Dr. Vilches —incarnated by the recently deceased actor Jordi Rebellón– as a transcript of himself. Díaz lived his childhood in Alicante, and his adolescence in Portugal and, already settled in Madrid, he directed television programs and wrote for MIR, the spin-off from the famous medical series.
Carmen Mola’s construction triad is completed with the inventiveness of Agustín Martínez, the youngest of the group, born 46 years ago in Lorca (Murcia). His career in series is different and he has gone through Without breasts there is no paradise, Crematorium, Acacias 38, Brothers and detectives or the second season of Victor Ros. If for Díaz his reference series are The Sopranos, For Martínez it is, or at least it was the trigger for his profession, Twin Peaks.
What the TV does not leave
Mercero, Díaz and Martínez have more in common, besides the paternity over Carmen Mola and her novels, written in six hands in a way that they have yet to explain. The three of them were out of television.
Antonio Mercero has published six novels. The last one is High tide, launched last April; a crime novel that he decided to set in the world of youtubers and instagrammers and that it is carried out by two inspectors. The end of man (2017) was the first in the series starring the trans police Sofía Luna. In 2018, he published the second installment, The case of the dead Japanese women, and has already sold the rights for a television adaptation. With the publication of Pleamar, its publisher Alfaguara-Random House also announced that Mercero was working “on the screen adaptation of The gypsy bride, by Carmen Mola “, information that, read with today’s eyes, has a different nuance. In an interview with GQ in December last year, Carmen Mola pretended that the television adaptation gave her “vertigo”: “something that is completely beyond my control,” he added falsely.
The career as a novelist of his close collaborator Jorge Díaz consists of four novels published between 2009 and 2016. In the first, The numbers of the elephant, built a thriller with the postwar Galician emigration to Brazil in the background. His brother Santiago is also a television scriptwriter and author of a crime novel that the non-existent Carmen Mola, perhaps handled by Jorge himself, recommended reading in her interviews.
Of course, Agustín Martínez has also combined Carmen Mola’s novels with his own. His work is shorter: Monteperdido (2015) and The weed (2017), also of a criminal nature, the genre that unites them. “I have a freedom in literature that I don’t have on television,” he said. in an interview with elDiario.es.
In the written interviews that Mercero, Díaz and Martínez wrote for the media, they received questions that were actually intended for an interlocutor. “I believe that equality has come before the characters than the authors, but progress is being made,” they answered in The Fifth Book, not without a certain impudence, to the question about the role of women in black gender literature. “We have female victims, we have authors and we have investigators, but we still don’t have many murderers,” they proposed. Then he fell again the million dollar question: Who is Carmen Mola? “A writer who wants to keep her true identity safe in order to continue living in peace.”