Ramona was great fun to write. I delved back to my time in southern Spain in the late seventies, meshed it with my undergraduate experience of Cambridge, and then constructed the plot in the early years of the twenty first century. The novel catches the mood of Europe in transition, as Ramona, brought up in a quiet village in southern Spain, moves into the cosmopolitan world. Her strange background holds a mystery, revealed as the novel develops, but then events that we know to have happened suddenly take on a different hue as a new perspective emerges. But that is not all, and reality seems to bend further, but does it? We see the transition from a simple upbringing in rural Spain through Cambridge to the cosmopolitan world of literature and film.
The plot of Ramona is supposed to be bewildering, and I think it is, as the rug is time and again pulled from beneath the feet of the reader. But I can assure you that when you reach the end, the very end, it all becomes clear, and does work after all. What is really happening here is that different perspectives cast a different light on what we know so that we “unknow” it and then know it again. You will understand when you read the book.
As a recent entrant to the world of writing (i.e. this year, 2002), I have yet to win a major award, so I decided to have a novel within a novel, with the fictitious novelist winning the Nobel Prize for Literature: that way, I argue, I get to win a major award, albeit fictitiously and at second hand as it were. Oh, and there’s a film in there too, by the way.
I do not want to say more and destroy the suspense, but my first readers have given me feedback that made it really worthwhile to write the book.
I hope you enjoy Ramona as much as I enjoyed writing it and then reading it.
JJH – July 2002.