Words from the Author
It gives me pleasure to think of readers enjoying my stories when they have a few hours of leisure. How about bringing my books along when cruising the Mediterranean Sea or traveling the syncopated tracks of the Orient Express? If you prefer solid ground, why not read them under your favorite tree in the nearest botanical garden?
Born in Portugal, I currently divide my year between Manhattan and Sintra. As I have traveled over the Atlantic Ocean more times than I can ever recall, my books reflect this diversity. I enjoy characters who cross international settings and have a cosmopolitan outlook on life. In Istanbul once, old friends showed me a piece of art that might well be the center of my next book. The city's exoticism surprised me above and beyond all expectations. But I must decide the genre - short fiction, a novel? - and the time frame I want to explore.
The two collections of short stories I have published describe two historical settings - Portugal and the former Soviet Union - with unique cultures of their own. The Ariadne thread linking them is that my protagonists walk all spheres of life: from the prison to the parlor, from the shady shop to the distinguished attorney's office, or from the family court to the diplomatic reception. They all pursue universal dreams, never knowing what awaits them at the end of the journey.
Writing is fun and, regardless of my stories dark side, I am often amused by the tales I create. I love how stories have a beginning, middle, and end. Since I write in English instead of my mother-tongue, Portuguese, I consider fiction a vehicle to achieve a goal: to tell my tale in the sharpest possible manner. Plot and character, how people move around and interact when turning points occur, are paramount to my literary compositions.
I recently finished my debut novel, A Most Unusual Request. Besides the research for the book, it took me five years to write the story. I find the Enlightenment the most fascinating period of human history. Thus, I created a triangle formed by three historical figures at the turn of the 18th century across the Atlantic Ocean. I love the way my protagonists, undoubtedly flawed, created the world we still inhabit today.
I have lived through unique world events: the "hot summer" that followed the April 25, 1974 revolution in Portugal, when the country seemed ready to become the European Cuba. I witnessed the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986, when I was part of the diplomatic community in Moscow. I was in Zagreb when the civil war erupted in the Fall of 1991. In a slow-moving diplomatic car with my four-year old son, the two of us left a city now under military occupation, only to miss the last plane leaving Ljubljana that day. What followed wasn't pretty; Julian had a chance to describe these events, years later, in his college application. And I was in Washington, D.C. the day of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
My path has been daring, exciting, and unquestionably more dramatic than I could have ever imagined. Challenges met me at every turn, teaching me how to forge new ways whenever necessary. With Robert Frost, I have always followed the road less traveled. Thus, I enjoy stories that speak to the heart without being sentimental. I enjoy characters who travel through time and space and find not only who they are but also a glimpse of truth along the way. My settings are reminders of how rich and empowering exceptional people and colorful places can be.
In my next life, I would like to be a poet, a musician, a dancer, or all three.