Wednesday, August 18, 2010

TAKE TEN: Author Juan Gomez-Jurado

International bestselling author Juan Gomez-Jurado is living the dream of many aspiring writers at this point in his life. His first book GOD'S SPY was a runaway success, garnering the attention of critics and eager readers. Now his second novel THE MOSES EXPEDITION is mesmerizing some of the biggest names in the literary world along with others who are finding out about this skilled wordsmith.

Conversations' own Cyrus Webb had a chance to ask a few questions of the author* just as the book was being released in August 2010, covering how he feels about what he has accomplished, what it feels like to be so well-received and even what he would say to those who feel as though they have a book inside of them but haven't taken the steps to bring it to life.

Juan, thanks for taking out the time to talk with us. Before we talk about your latest book, I want to first of all congratulate you on your success.Are you surprised at how your work has been received all around the world?

Thanks a lot and yes, actually! When I finished writing my first novel I thought that my wife and my parents would be my only audience. That feeling was fortunately wrong. 

I know that before you were a published author you were a journalist. When did you realize that writing was something you were interested in and that you had a love affair with words?

When I was a small kid I always said that I wanted to become a journalist. When people asked "Why?" I always said "Because Clark Kent is one". In Spain there's an old refrain for that kind of situations: God writes straight with twisted lines.

Was writing something that those around you initially supported?

Yes, actually I would be nothing without my father. I grew up in a very poor family. When he came back home from his second job, he found me in bed. He was so tired that he always had black circles around his eyes, but even so he always came to my room and told me a story that he invented on spot. A different one, everyday, since I was born till the moment I was able to read by myself. He never repeated a plot. I think that my father was the biggest narrator I've ever met.

With your first book taking off the way it did, were there any worries with the release of the new book when it came to the expectations game?

Great question! There were worries. Tons of them. I'm still worried! You know, I met once the Nobel Prize Camilo José Cela. He was in his eighties and was literally swimming in money and awards. After a couple of hours of conversation I asked him about his new novel, coming out the following week. He told me that he was scared to the bone about it. How do you think that a 32 years old author can feel about his sophomore book?

The newest release is called THE MOSES EXPEDITION. Tell our readers about it.

It's the biggest adventure novel since War and Peace. No, seriously, it's a thriller about an expedition to the Jordan Desert in search of a big secret buried in the sand for centuries. Let me tell you something: this Expedition is based in a thorough research and many real facts. And I will tell no more!

The discussion of religion and politics is one that all of us are involved in from day to day. How much do your own personal views of the two influence the world you create for your characters?

I've visited 37 countries and counting. I've lived in tents in the desert with bedouins, eat rats in the Amazon, rode camels in Saudi Arabia, prayed in the Ganges and watched the Jerry Springer Show. I had a full life! I mean, the more you travel and see other people and cultures you discover that we are all the same. Finding differences between a bedouin and a Manhattan lawyer is harder than it seems. I think that a little bit of this can be found in the book, along with explosions and SUV chases in the dunes.

Like the first novel, it seems as though THE MOSES EXPEDITION is garnering great reviews from not just critics and avid readers. Your own literary peers are singing your praises, too. What does that feel like to have authors you respect enjoying your work?

That means I have a lot of dinners to pay. Just joking! I think that Atria Books, and specially Johanna Castillo and David Brown did an amazing job asking well stablished authors to read The Moses Expedition. It happens that months ago I was a mere fan of people like Brad Thor, Matthew Pearl or Steve Berry. When I see their names in the cover of the book I still feel amazed.

Aspiring writers are always wondering what advice authors like you have for them in their careers. What do you normally tell them?

Write, write and write. What elsa can be said? The only way to publish a book is to write a good book. If your first book don't find an audience, write another one and so on. Obviously is easy to say than to accomplish. But hey, who said that good things in life were free. 

For some success would have been having one book published and available in stores. You now have two. How have your ideas about success evolved, and what is the definition of success for you now?

I think that books are a success of their own. I mean, I have a good idea and write a good story. That's nice. But then it cames an incredible process in which you have very little to say. Editing, designing, promoting, distributing... and if you are very very lucky, the book, one between thousands, it happens to sell. And that's why I always say that success is not mine, but reader's. There are 3 million of them out there, and I only can give them a big THANK YOU!

Thanks again, Juan. How can our listeners keep up with you and your upcoming work online?
Thanks to you Cyrus! You can always follow me in Facebook:  or check The Moses Expedition website ( I would like to share with you also the booktrailer:  and the making of The Moses Expedition: (

*Thanks to David Brown at Simon & Schuster for making this interview with the author possible.

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