La hija de Jacob: Or how I stopped worrying and started to write a novel

In the first of a series of articles, we see the start of the writing process and how, sometimes, you have to take the leap.

Taking the leap is terrifying.

Whether it’s literal or figurative, throwing yourself into a new project (if you are like me) needs a series of previous preparations just to make sure that project goes down the right track.

(Though, let’s be real, in a lot of cases it won’t go down the right track, no matter how much you try.)

In my case, that need to ensure that everything was perfect before starting to write had reached an obsessive point. I’m not kidding when I say that I have notebooks that have lists of prices in England in the 16thC and their modern equivalents.

It was as if I did not feel capable of facing a project if I didn’t have everything milimetrically planned. Even when I had it, I wanted it to be a little more.

But there’s always a moment when you have to take the leap, no matter what happens.

That moment arrived for me when I started to write La hija de Jacob.

I had an idea, yes, one that I had mulled over and over in my mind. I wanted to write something about the Vikings in Spain. That it also had a love story (I like them, any problem with that?), but that it had something more. After all, even if we are in the so called Dark Ages of Europe, we actually know that very intereting stuff happened, from the Viking invasions, to the splendour of cultures as the Byzantines or the Ummayyads.

So this time I decided to stop being so obsessive and I started to write without tracing such a milimetrical plan. Everything started to work, to put itself in its place, and so it continues. If I have any question, I either check Internet or my books, but I do not live as a slave of perfection.

George RR Martin, the author of A Song of Ice and Fire, has a curious explanation about this. According to him, there are two types of authors, the architects and the gardeneres. The architects need to plan everything right down to the last detail before they start writing, whereas the gardeners simply start writing, and let their creations grow as they have to.

Definitely, I find myself in the first category, but I’m trying to get the best of both worlds and to be a little more gardener.

That’s why for me, La hija de Jacob is a journey. Not only the one that I am following with Jimena, Eirik, Juan, and Freydis (and the readers of the novel), but a journey of self discovery. Of testing my own limits.

Of trying that leap that I recognised at the beginning scares me.

And, above all, doing it without a net .

In the meanwhile, by the way, have the booktrailer.


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