In an exclusive interview for our magazine, writer Isabel Allende talks frankly and with humour about the way her wonderful books are born, about her family and about intimate themes like love and sex. The famous author of „Paula”, „Eva Luna” or „The House of the Spirits” unveils herself just like she does in her novels: passionate, full of life and, above all, authentic to the last word.
How is it to live in Isabel Allende’s world? How does the interior universe of a person like you look like?
I live in a world of stories and imagination. I read a lot, I love movies, I ask people to tell me their stories. I have inside me a treasure of accumulated stories, emotions, images, experiences and memories, that is the raw material for my books. In practical terms that means that I am absent minded, I get easily distracted, I can’t remember anything that is not crucial for my work. For example, I can’t even remember my own phone number or my husband’s birthday, but I remember every detail of a conversation I overheard in a restaurant that I could use in my writing. My family says that I am charming when I write because they don’t see me; I am locked away in my studio. When I finish a book my family gets scared because i have too much energy: I start remodeling the house and bossing everybody around.
What is the greatest thing about being a writer? And the most miserable part of it?
The best thing is that I am my own boss and that words are free, I can use as many as I want. The worst thing is sitting down so many hours a day.
How do you know if a story that you’re planning to tell is worth writing or not? What is that inner detector that drives you away from the uninspired leads?
Every story is a seed that has been in my belly for a long time. When the seed starts to grow and bother me like a tumor, it is ripe to be written. I have never started a book that I have not finished because I allow a lot of time between the first idea and the moment I start writing it. Sometimes it takes several weeks to get the book flowing because I need to find the tone and the narrative voice, then I get scared because maybe this time it is not going to happen. But if I keep trying, sooner or later the story starts to unfold.Semnat de Corina Stoica