As part of the Tomorrow Pamplona Blog Tour, all those involved were given the chance to ask the author and translator of this wonderful book a question. Now, originally I posted the author Jan Van Mersbergen’s response as part of a Literary Bloghop organised by The Blue Bookcase, but on receiving Laura’s (the translator) answer, I contacted the publishers with the idea of putting both together, hoping to understand what influences affect either individual & how that reflects on their different roles. So to the question..
What Influences affect your Reading experience (Social,cultural etc.) Do these influences enhance or detract from the experience & specifically how do they feed into your own writing?
First over to Jan,
Difficult question. I just can see that for writing reading is the most important thing. You need to find out how other writers build up a novel, what they tell and more important, what they don't tell. What they hide. I guess reading is influenced by your background, because people who grew up with books and reading often like to read when the are a bit older. I think a book is the same book for everyone, but everyone can make their own story out of a book. I don't really think about that when I write. Writers who think about their readers produce books with very much explanations. I like it when a book is made while reading. I let readers find out about the story and the characters. Give the reader a clue but not to much. The connections between clues are made in the head of the reader. I think everyone can do that, as long as the language is down to earth. I'm from a family of workers and farmers, from the south of Holland. We don't talk like intellectuals. I can be seen as an intellectual cause I write novels, and writing is a hard job, but from my background I cannot write in any other language than the one of my family. I don't know, maybe that's why I like American novels from the countryside...
the same question to Laura
translators immerse themselves in literature from the period or style of the
book that they're currently working on, hoping that the reading experience
will feed into the translation. Sometimes you just happen upon the perfect
solution that way. Judging from the critics' comments on Jan's writing, I
should have been focusing on Hemingway while I was translating his book!
However, although I've read some Hemingway, I wouldn't count him as one of
my personal influences.
When I'm working on a book, I focus on that book and on the voice of that
author. Jan has a very powerful voice as an author and I'm not sure that I
was aware of any other reading experiences informing my work as I translated
him - although there were probably plenty of unconscious influences going
I definitely had a strong idea about the way I wanted the characters to
sound. Danny and Robert had to seem very real and believable, so I aimed to
stay true to Jan's text and not to tone down any of the aggression or
Thank you both Jan & Laura for your responses & all that’s left to complete this is to say how much I enjoyed this book & to recommend it wholeheartedly.