Amazon Exclusive: Félix J. Palma Interviews María Dueñas Félix J. Palma has been unanimously acclaimed by critics as one of the most brilliant and original storytellers of our time. His devotion to the short story genre has earned him more than a hundred awards. The Map of Time, his first book to be published in the United States, received the 2008 Ateneo de Sevilla XL Prize and is being published in more than thirty countries.
Félix J. Palma: The Time in Between features many real life characters. How did you ensure that these individuals were accurately portrayed? I imagine that you had to be especially careful given that people who knew them are still alive.
María Dueñas: Some of the characters in my book belong to our recent history and played a prominent role in the Spanish Civil War and WWII in Spain. Ironically, however, a few of them have been obscured by time, and so my task was to bring them back to the forefront in order to recreate some significant events during those febrile years. For this purpose, I used a wide variety of sources: academic works, archives, old newspapers and even interviews with people who personally knew these people. I was very thorough in my research, and I think the outcome has been positive. Many readers finally get to meet these historical figures and no one has complained that the personalities I've managed to reconstruct are inaccurate.
FP: It's unusual to come across a heroine who is a seamstress. How did you decide upon this occupation for Sira?
MD: I needed an independent female character who was able to support herself so that she could move about freely without depending on a man. In the late thirties and early forties few occupations offered women this ability, but a seamstress was one of them.
FP: Many novels take place during World War II and yet you've done a wonderful job of taking a fresh approach. Can you tell us about it?
MD: WWII took place when Spain was immersed in post-Civil War reconstruction so many people think that the war had no effect on Spain. But this is not true. Our territory was coveted by Britain and Germany, and there was a lot of espionage in the country at that time. I also added a new ingredient to the traditional view of this period by incorporating a female character into the war game. I think the combination of both these things--an unexplored environment and a new type of heroine--is what sets The Time In Between apart.
A wonderful novel, in the good old tradition, with intrigue, love, mystery and tender, audacious and well-drawn characters." --Mario Vargas Llosa, Nobel Prize Laureate
“It's exciting to find a deftly paced first novel with an engaging heroine, satisfying historical detail, and emotional balance. Love it!” --Esmeralda Santiago New York Times bestselling author of Conquistadora and When I was Puerto Rican
"The Time in Between is an epic novel with an unlikely Spanish heroine, Sira Quiroga, that takes us through one of the most turbulent times in Europe: the onset of World War II. Sira travels on a journey through romance, love, loss, and intrigue, all while discovering traits that she never dreamed she had. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough, and once I reached the end, I couldn't wait to start it all over again!" --Daisy Martinez, author of Daisy: Morning, Noon and Night and Daisy's Holiday Cooking
“Maria Dueñas is a true storyteller. She weaves a spell, conjuring the heat and the glamour, the hardship and the thrill of Morocco and Spain in the late 1930s. The world of Casablanca comes to life as war breaks and Sira Quiroga, a beautiful and betrayed seamstress, is forced to discover her own strength. At a time when everyone must do what they can to survive, some will go beyond. Resistance will be formed and history will be written. Read this book and prepare to be transported.” –Kate Morton, New York Times bestselling author of The Distant Hours
"Engaging, romantic, vivid and captivating. Who knew a story about a seamstress in Spain could be so intriguing and captivating? If you love thick, juicy female-led novels that sweep you away from all sense of time and responsibility, you need to read The Time In Between by María Dueñas." - Kathy Cano-Murillo, author of Waking Up in the Land of Glitter and Miss Scarlet's School of Patternless Sewing
"Evocative, tender and lush; a wonderful experience of times and lives in turmoil." --Diana Gabaldon, author of the New York Times bestselling Outlander novels
“This thrilling debut is marked by immaculate prose and a driving narrative, establishing Dueñas as a writer to watch.” --starred Publishers Weekly review
"Packed with engaging characters, flawlessly researched, and breathlessly paced." --starred Booklist review
"It is no surprise this debut novel was a runaway success in Europe. American fans of historical fiction looking for a dramatic, uncomplicated escape will be similarly entranced." --Library Journal
"From a terrific opening line to the final page, chapters zip by at a pulsing pace." --USA TODAY
"The Time in Between is a magnificent novel that flawlessly brings together history and intrigue. Sira Quiroga – the seamtress – won’t be easily forgotten.” -- Juan Gómez-Jurado, author of The Moses Expedition
"How can a novel be both cruel and tender, dark and luminous all at the same time, and keep the reader glued to its pages with a complex, captivating narrative? María Dueñas's novel manages to make this possible with a tale that is destined to become a literary classic." --Javier Sierra, bestselling author of The Secret Supper and The Lady in Blue
"An enticing debut novel from Spain, The Time In Between is luxuriously landscaped with exotic geographies and international intrigue. María Dueñas delivers a hefty book that's as smooth to read as the tailored lines of the haute couture her unforgettable protagonist creates." -- Fabiola Santiago, author of Reclaiming Paris.
“With its detailed depictions of fashions and the fashionable crowd, exotic settings like Portuguese beaches and crowded bars in Tangiers, and a growing sense of danger and intrigue, The Time In Between is a stunning novel.“ --Fort Worth Star-Telegram