- When you do not work as an IP, what do you do?
I write fiction. I have written a novel and a collection of short stories, plus a bunch of material that I thought would make up for new novels but has not fitted anywhere so far.
- When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer & where did you get inspiration from?
I became a reader first. I was not so precocious though: I remember getting hooked up on a book for the first time at the age of fifteen or so. My mother used to read a lot and continues to do so, and I suspect seeing her reading had a great influence in my picking up reading habits. Then, while at university, I started reading great novels and authors, and got very much into writers like Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Faulkner. I wondered whether I could write like them, which of course I cannot but the idea started to develop there.
In terms of inspiration for themes, plots, and characters, “of course you bank on your experience, but only as a sounding board”, as the writer Philip Roth once said. And since I’ve spent a considerable amount of my adult life in offices, planes, and hotels, surrounded by colleagues and clients, as many of us consultants have, I have explored such exploits in my writing, and have tried to make dark comedy out of it in my first and, so far, only novel (“A Place Under the Sun”, by Luis Urtueta, which is my pen name).
- What are the biggest challenges in writing a book?
From my point of view, there are three challenges. The first one would be around the logistics of it. To write, in theory, you only need a piece of paper and a pen, or a computer for that matter, but to write more seriously you do need of course time. Large amounts of time. And this time is taken away from time you would spend with family, friends, or in having a job. So there are undeniable sacrifices, because it isn’t just a day here or there that you need to make yourself unavailable for. You need a systematic and somewhat enduring approach to being unavailable. More so when you are writing something long, say, a novel. Then of course you need an emotional involvement in your writing, which presents its own challenges. You need to take risks and drain yourself, or “bleed by the typewrite” (as Hemingway once said). The third challenge is a technical one – being able to write well – which is not easy and demands dedication, creativity, and discipline. And there is probably a motivational challenge too, in keeping yourself invested in something which will probably not bring much in the form of worldly returns.
- How does being an IP influence your career in writing?
It allows me to be able to have the right balance between writing and working, and I have come to realize that the two feed in each other. On my projects as an IP, I am able to apply some of the skills I’ve developed while writing, such as structuring, story-lining, proof-reading, being rigorous, and so on. And, overall, I suppose I am a happier, more at ease person, being able to dedicate my time to what I like doing. Being able to have time to write allows me to be more motivated and concentrated while on a project as an IP.
- Any plans for a next book?
I have two novels abandoned at different stages which I should pick up at some point. Lately though I have kept myself busy working and doing stuff outdoors. Since lockdown, I can’t quite stay at home and write. Also, now I have a daughter and another kid on the way and that is keeping me quite busy. I feel like an ex-writer, in a way. But hopefully, when the time is right, I can pick it up again.