Jag har fått den stora äran att få ställa några frågor till en av mina favoritförfattare: Cecilia Samartin. För mig är det jättestort och jag gick omkring i ett lyckorus i flera dagar efter att jag fått beskedet. (Tack Bazar förlag!) Cecilia Samartin belönades 2010 för ”Bästa roman” i The International Latino Book Award. Hon har just varit på turné i Norge, men kommer tyvärr inte till bokmässan. Vi är redan många svenska läsare som har upptäckt hennes böcker, men fler borde få chansen. Jag säger grattis till er som fortfarande har hennes böcker olästa. Ni har något att se fram emot!
Även Karin Berg har frågat Cecilia Samartin och de svar hon fick hittar du på Enbokcirkelföralla.se
Läs och inspireras av denna intressanta författare:
Jag: Hi! My name is Anette Helgesson. I live in a small town in Sweden where I work as a librarian. I write a blog about feel-good-books and I call my self “The feelgood librarian. I am a big fan of your books and I recommend them to friends and visitors at the library. It is a great honor to get this opportunity to write you some questions.
Cecilia Samartin: Thank you Anette, I love the title of your blog!
Jag: In your books you mix love and war and even although I cried when a read about Noras move to USA I still want to describe your books as feel-good. Is that wrong do you think?
Cecilia Samartin: No not at all. I believe that we need to cry and express our sorrows freely to feel good. Holding in sadness and other emotions can put a lot of pressure on a person psychologically and physically.
Jag: The title Ghost heart, “Dream heart” in Swedish. Why did you choose that title?
Cecilia Samartin: I thought this title captured the essence of the story because Nora is trying to stay true to herself, the heart of who she is, while saying goodbye to the life and the country she loves as she adapts to a new life. There is a ghostly dreamy quality to this experience for her, and she is haunted by many emotions and memories all the while. There are times when she feels she isn’t in one country or another but hovering in-between both worlds. That is a feeling many immigrants experience.
Jag: I understand that you often use your patients histories in your books. In which way do you think your books and books in general can help people?
Cecilia Samartin: Over the many years I’ve worked with clients I’ve come to appreciate the power of stories. People yearn to tell their own stories and to be understood in a deep way. This true in the therapeutic process and also in every day life. This goes hand in hand with stories we read for entertainment. They are enjoyable but they also help us to better understand our world, the people around us and our purpose in life, so it is so much more than entertainment. We have been sharing stories with each other since the dawn of human civilization to encourage, to teach, to express our emotions, our thoughts and our love.
Jag: Ana writes in her letter to sister Josepha in Salvadorena: ” If there is hope for a country to heal there must be hope for one family.” ln a rich country like Sweden where almost everyone has more things than they need, a lot of people have psychological problems. In your books people like Ana for example meet lot of trauma and live under horrible circumstances, but still they find the strength to survive and even to live a good life. How do you think they manage that? How can a woman like Ana who has experienced terrible evil as a child, who grew up without a family, still become such a good human being without venom?
Cecilia Samartin: This is the very question that inspired me to write this book! I have worked with a number of people who have experienced tremendous trauma and loss and yet possess an amazing inner strength that is able to inspire and even heal those around them. At the same time, I have known people who have been nearly destroyed by similar experiences and scarred for life. I wonder how and why people can respond so differently. And while the mystery can’t be completely explained, I believe there are certain things that can make a difference. In Anna’s case, she experienced the deep and abiding love of her mother and that love stayed with her even after her mother died because it became a part of who she was. Also, Anna is a spiritual person who believes that her life has a purpose beyond what she may understand at the moment. This gives her hope and protects her from bitterness. Rather than focusing on her problems and feeling sorry for herself, she focuses her attention outward. This may sound rather saintly and simplistic, but I do believe that it is a very important element to healing – she is a wounded healer.
Jag: I love your language. You use words everyone recognizes but at the same time you choose lovely words and describe surroundings and humans so beautifully that I feel like I am in the story. For example I almost felt the tropical wind and scent of the salty sea and felt as if I sat with Nora och Alicia on their own special beach. From where do you take your inspiration for this beautiful settings? I understand you have not been back to Cuba? Where do you find your inspiration for your language?
Cecilia Samartin: Thank you! This is exactly what I’m hoping my readers will experience. So much of my inspiration comes from the stories I have heard all my life from my family, my parents and my grandparents and others who told me what life in Cuba was like. I suppose that when one is missing home, stories of the past are filled with a heightened sadness and yearning. I try to capture this in my own descriptions and be true to those I love.
Jag: We are a group of 16 people who will meet on a weekend soon to read, converse and have a generally good time. We intend to read and discuss your book ”Dreamheart”. What would you like to say to the participants of ”Book Spa” and what points do you think we should take up when we discuss your book
Cecilia Samartin: Please consider that while this book is fiction, it was inspired by real life stories told to me by family and friends. I have been collecting these stories all of my life. I have never been back to Cuba, but “Dreamheart” was like my psychological journey home. I’m unable to return not only because it is difficult for Americans to go to Cuba but because my outspoken support for those on the island who are calling for human rights would put me in danger. While in Norway on a book tour, the Cuban Consulate wrote critical letters about me which was a little bit surprising. Needless to say, they don’t like me very much for speaking my mind.
Another interesting question might be, how do you define home? Is it a place, a feeling, an attitude? What does home feel like? Can you be truly yourself if you don’t feel at home?
How does a person hold on to the past while making space in their heart for the new? Why are some people better able to do this than others?
Jag:Who is your favorite author?
Cecila Samartin: My favorite author…oh this is difficult because there are so many writers I admire for different reasons. The first author that comes to mind at this moment is Graham Greene. He was funny, profound, concise and prolific, all qualities I aspire to.
Jag: Who is your favorite Scandinavian author?
Cecilia Samartin: Hmm…probably Per Pederson “Out Stealing Horses” . I really loved this book, so quiet and powerful, like the woods under a deep snow. But I must admit that I haven’t read a lot of Scandinavian authors.