Born in 1965 in Germany and after finishing my school years, I decided in 1987 to emigrate in search of sun. So I arrived by train in Spain and not only found sun, but also a husband and work. I started working as an editorial assistant and later editor for children’s books at a Spanish book club and left the company in 1997 to work as editor-in-chief at the publisher Ediciones B. Ten years after, I decided to start my own business, the literary agency ST&A (www.stasociados.com). My agency is dedicated to representing international publishers for the Spanish-language market, as well as offering translation rights of Spanish and Portuguese authors for international markets. The agency’s catalog covers all genres, from thrillers and contemporary literature to non-fiction and children’s books. I live with my husband Ignacio and my 18 year-old-son Johannes in Barcelona.
What is a typical working day for you?
I start work at 7.30am responding to emails I have received during the night from my co-agencies in China, Korea, New Zealand and South America. Our correspondence is about our latest book deals, details of contracts and information about the books we handle. Later in the morning I do conference calls with my clients and representatives and leave the office to meet some of my Barcelonese publishers to present our newest authors and rights lists. Each day, from 14.00 to 15.30 p.m. I make a break for lunch and do a one-hour walk along the beach – my office is quite close to the city beach of Barcelona. I continue work in the afternoon updating my website, sending book information to my clients, phoning my authors or associated literary agencies, working on contracts, negotiating book sales, or skyping with colleagues. I work until 7.00pm, but after work I always find some time to read manuscripts.
What are your three favourite books of all time – and why?
The Castle by Franz Kafka – a novel about frustration, bureaucracy and courage. Although unfinished and written during his illness in 1922, I consider it Kafka’s most emotional and brilliant novel.
The World According to Garp by John Irving – a non-realistic story that makes me laugh about surreal situations and tragedies. I consider John Irving an example of overcoming: being dyslexic, he is an excellent writer.
O teu rosto sera o ultimo (Your face will be the last), by Joao Ricardo Pedro – the story of three generations using as background the recent history of Portugal. I love the combination of humor and drama mixed in this short, fast-reading book.
What author do you most admire and why?
I admire Joao Ricardo Pedro, author of ‘O teu rosto sera o ultimo’. When he lost his job as an engineer at a telecommunications company in Portugal, he decided that it was the best time to do what he always wanted to do: to write a novel.
Three years after making the determination to become a writer, Joao Ricardo Pedro has not only succeeded, but he has become the revelation writer of his country. His novel ‘O teu rosto sera o ultimo’ (Your face will be the last) won the 2012 Leya Award, the most prestigious prize in Portugal.
What tips would you give to aspiring writers?
Do not despair and be patient. Take the time to write and even to re-write your novel before completion. Ask many people with different literary tastes to read and think about your novel and don’t be afraid to accept their criticism.
What’s your most memorable experience at a literary event?
I had the good fortune to accompany the author Astrid Lindgren during her trip to Barcelona while she presented her autobiography some years ago. She wanted to take a souvenir from Spain and asked me to accompany her to buy blue booties. So we escaped for an entire afternoon shopping. Then 90 years old she loved fashion as much as her dearest character, Pippi Longstocking.
If a movie was made of your life, what three songs would you want on the soundtrack?
‘Theses boots are made for walking’ by Nancy Sinatra
‘Don’t give up’ by Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel
‘Barcelona’ by Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé