Let’s start putting the I for International into the EIBF. I am delighted to welcome Eduardo Mendoza from Spain to Lizzy’s Literary Life. Here is his account of an event that was truly serendipitous. How was I to know that both he and Carmen Posadas would appear in Edinburgh on the same stage this year?
LS: How did you become part of the 2009 Programme?
EM: I was invited by the organisation through my publishers or the other way around, I don’t remember.
LS: If you’re part of a double-bill, what do you think of the book you’re paired with?
EM: There are many connections between The Mystery of the Enchanted Crypt and Carmen’s book, Child’s Play. (Wicked children, the framework of a classic crime novel, use of humour). And Child’s Play is excellent, as are all the books by the author, Carmen Posadas, whom I know quite well.
LS: How did you prepare for the EIBF event? Have you obsessed about your ticket sales?
EM: I don’t prepare in any special way. At my age, one has to be prepared or to retire for good. And no, I’m not obsessed about sales or about anything else.
LS: It’s the morning of your event – what happened beforehand? Are there any rituals to be followed before you step on the stage?
EM: Not rituals in a proper sense. I concentrate, I try to put a few ideas in order, I don’t drink alcohol.
LS: How did the event go?
EM: Very well, I think, at least for me. The presentation was serious and well done and the atmosphere was very friendly.
LS: How did you choose which extract to read?
EM: That was easy: a theatre adaptation had been made in Spain from the book I was reading (No Word from Gurb), so I had some idea about the parts the public could appreciate more.
LS: Which was the best question and why?
EM: I’m afraid I don’t remember particular questions. I do remember a dialogue with the public with intelligent questions and, as I said before, a very friendly attitude.
LS: Book-signing – love it or hate it?
EM: I like it provided they don’t expect witty sentences. It’s the only quasi-physical contact writers have with our readers.
LS: What did you do after the book-signing?
EM: I spent some time looking at the books on the shelves. I bought one. Then I went for dinner and drinks with a couple of friends.
LS: How do you feel about book festivals in general? The EIBF in particular?
EM: No particular opinion. It depends on the festival. Some are too formal, or too crowded. I didn’t know the EIBF and had no time to make a valid judgment. The first impression was good.
LS: Thanks, Eduardo. It was lovely to meet you. And I look forward to reading City of Marvels in Barcelona next year! Have a good trip home. You wouldn’t like to take the rain back to Spain, would you?