I want to read Dolores Redondo’s novels in order. Where do I start?
The first installment in the Baztan trilogy is The Invisible Guardian; the second is The Legacy of the Bones; and the third is Offering to the Storm.
All This I Will Give to you is a stand alone novel that can be read at any point. And so is The Angel’s Privileges.
The North Face of the Heart is a prequel that can be read either before or after the Baztan trilogy.
What is the Baztan Trilogy?
The Baztan Trilogy is the first books written by Dolores Redondo, which have become an international bestseller with more than 1 million books sold in Spanish, and it has been translated into more than 30 languages.
Tell us a little bit about The Invisible Guardian and the Baztan Trilogy. Did you intend it as a trilogy from the outset?
Yes, the story is based on a ritual crime that happened several years ago in a place close where the Trilogy is set, and from the point of view of the consequences memory has. Detective Salazar is a woman who will have to return to the town where she was born to direct an investigation on a serial killer of teenagers. The nature of those crimes, and coming back to that town, will revive a dark secret from the past –this secret is what the reader will find out throughout the tree novels while Amaia Salazar works as a crime detective looking for a killer with motivations way more complex than what they seem.
The Baztan trilogy was powered in large part by a female protagonist, homicide inspector Amaia Salazar. All This I Will Give To You features a gay man as its main character. In what way, if any, did this alter the way in which you approached writing the story?
A writer knows how to put herself in someone else’s shoes. In my other novels, there were many complex, very well-drawn and thought-through male characters, so it wasn’t a novelty for me to have a male as a main character. The creative process is exactly the same. The thing here is that Manuel is a writer, and I am a writer, so I am deeply connected to this character and the distance between us is much shorter than with many of my other characters. We’re linked through our creative minds, through our jobs, through who we are as we both identify ourselves as writers. In the novel, the fact that Manuel is gay is secondary really: he’s defined for the loss of his husband, he has to face this loss, and the loss of the world he felt safe, the world he lived in and thought as true.
What is the inspiration behind The North Face of the Heart?
I was first inspired by a family murderer, the American John List, who escaped the justice for eighteen years. When I studied the profile of this man, who had coldly massacred his whole family in 1971, I knew I had to do something with it. Then, in 2005, at the time of the hurricane Katrina, when I saw the images on TV and New Orleans destroyed by the storm I was very impressed. But I was in a bigger shock when I realized that the city and its people had been abandoned to its fate while America was supposedly the first and most powerful country on the planet, with an army supposed to be very organized to attend any emergency, anywhere in the world…
How important is the setting in your novels?
Landscape and setting are crucial for me. I treat it like another character in the novels, and an important one. It is not important that I chose Galicia, or Baztan; it’s the North, that’s important. I grew up in this place in the North, within a very matriarchal family with important men around, in a culture of hard work, and hard physical work. With my admiration for Mario Puzo, I dreamt of living in the U.S., in big cities, and writing about that kind of life. When I grew up and matured, I realized I couldn’t disregard the place I had grown up in, but had to embrace it, as that place was powerful. My universe is the North, and that’s the setting I always chose for my novels. It doesn’t have to be the Spanish North, it can be any North. The essence of the North is part of me.
What other writers inspire you, whether crime or other genres?
I am a huge fan of PD James, Agatha Christie and Ruth Rendell, but also of Dickens, Juan Rulfo, Ernesto Sabato and Juan Benet.
How much research goes into your books?
I do a lot of research mainly for the technical issues, everything that has to do with how the police work, etc., also for the historical part of the novels. However, I really believe in instinctive writing, I don’t like a novel that sounds like a technical manual. I prefer personal description, filtered by my very own point of view, by how I see the world.
How do you write, do you have a routine?
Of course I have a routine. I would love to write during the night and sleep the whole morning, but I am a mother and a wife, and if I want to spend time with my family I shall live by their time schedules. I normally work the same hours my children are at school, except when I am about to finish the novel, when I only live by writing. When I am at the last 100 pages, I just write, write and write, until I reach the end. Then I celebrate with my family!