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December 12, 2011

Javier Sierra on His First Autographed Book

Posted by Katherine


Javier Sierra, whose works have been translated into 35 languages, is the author of THE LOST ANGEL and the New York Times bestselling novel THE SECRET SUPPER.  A native of Teruel, Spain, he currently lives in Madrid. Here he talks about the fanzine he published when he was a teenager, and how he scored his first autographed book because of it.


It was 1985 and I was barely 14.  In those days I was a very atypical adolescent: I didn’t like soccer, and I wasn’t searching for the perfect excuse to be out of the house later than I should be.  On the contrary, I spent hours upon hours shut up in my room, putting together a fanzine dedicated to the great mysteries of the world. I’d then photocopy it for my friends, and mail it off to them.   We still had a long way to go before the Internet was to become a vital part of our lives, and everything happened at a much slower velocity.  Perhaps this is why I so clearly remember that summer day when I decided to send my humble magazine to one of the most important mystery writers in all of Spain: Antonio Ribera. His novels and essays  --- on life in outer space and in the unknown depths of the sea --- had been an obsession of mine for a long time.  In my letter accompanying the package I asked him what I should be doing in order to grow up to be like him.  And what a surprise --- he answered!  Along with his wise counsel (“Learn English.  The best books on the subjects that interest us the most are written in this language.”), Ribera sent me a signed copy of one of his first novels.  It was the most wonderful gift I had ever received.  He not only convinced me to get to work and become a writer, but he shared with me the greatest gift an author can give to his or her readers:  a dream.

A simple but enduring legacy.