The Portuguese author Nuno Nogueira Silva in an exclusive interview on bellasrealworld talks about the reasons that led him to write books, the difficulties he encountered, the advice he would give to the aspiring writers and, he also gives us intriguing information about his last book O Mistério MH 370 ; a book which puts us in the dark path of the mysterious disappearance of Flight 370 of the Malaysian Airlines in March 2014 that cost the lives of 239 people…a thriller book in which imagination goes hand in hand with reality…
Bella: I am very happy to have you on bellasrealworld. I have been following your writing path in the last years and I believe you are a talented and promising writer. Is this your first interview for an English website?
Nuno Nogueira Silva: Thank you for the invitation. In fact, this is my first interview for a foreign magazine, in English. Some interviews had already taken place, for magazines and newspapers in Brazil where Portuguese is also spoken. Books are almost like a passport. Once published, they travel around the world and break through various borders, in order to give the author some fame. This is the wish of any author.
B: When did you start your career as a book author?
N: Well, actually, I do not even know when I started my career. I knew I liked writing and telling stories, and, at some point, I had to make a decision. Either, to publish what has been for quite some time just sheets of paper, that I wrote only for passing my time or, to continue writing stories and leaving them in the drawer, as always. We all make our decisions and we have to respect them. For someone to consider himself as a writer he must share what he writes. Writings are parts of the life that passes through each of us. The author shares a vision or a view. Perhaps his writings are the path that crosses and leaves behind, for the others to follow. He may also know the same path you have already passed…
B: So, what made you start writing books was your inherent talent that was asking for a creative outlet . Or maybe, there was some other event ?
N: I believe that Love is the essence of Life. At some point in my life, I fell in love with books and writing. Then, that love consumed all my time, with that desire. I think deeply inside me, it was meant to be like that, but I did not know it, at the time. First, I said: “Whenever I tried to speak, I felt like nobody was listening to me”. I thought they did not pay the attention I wanted and, that made me start writing, so nobody forgets the meaning of my words. There are some signs that appear on our way throughout our lives. We can either ignore them or think about them better. It is like when we have a headache. It is the sign of our body that something goes wrong. You know, we only have one life and we have the responsibility to do something with it. What we do is the mark of our existence.
B: When you made the decision to dedicate time and effort to your career as an author, had you thought about the difficulties of this job?
N: This is a sensitive issue of this job. I started writing for my pleasure, and I do so until today. However, as time passed by, with me making the most demanding step towards publishing, things changed. It is my own duty now, as it is of the other authors, to make the next book better than the last one. This comes as a goal; it is the indirect commitment of the writer.
The first book of a writer is a commitment to readers. A secret deal made with a promise; the promise that readers cannot be left without reading more books from the author.
It’s a much more demanding job than I originally thought, though. But, these daily demands are parts of the writer’s role. This is the only way to go on with this job; to do a lot of research, read a lot and spend many hours in front of the computer.
B: How do you deal with the loneliness of this job?
N: That part that some consider as negative exists but, in my opinion, it is necessary in life to find the positive ones, as well.
Loneliness can also be good. It is that moment that you choose to be alone, listen to a song, wishing no one interrupts you. During this moment, you realize some of your dreams. You put your thoughts in the correct order. You allow the mind to travel elsewhere, while the body rests in a corner. In these lonely moments, the author creates his characters.
Thanks to the imagination we give to our emotions at every moment, we transmit those feelings to our readers better. I laughed writing a happy moment and I cried writing a sad chapter. Loneliness allows us to reveal certain fears, desires, or even our illusions.
B: Was there any moment that you said “I quit”?
N: No. I’ve come to the conclusion that being an author is sometimes difficult. Writing is a very lonely moment. It is not easy to write when you have to find time for everything else. The author’s job is not just to write a book and throw it at the bookstores, where there are already hundreds of books; it won’t make any difference; your book will be just another one. There are so many other things that need to be done, like the presentations. To make your work known. Accept the compliments and live with the criticism. The good thing of this job, though, is that it allows you to take some trips to places that you wouldn’t have visited otherwise.
B: Can you remember your thoughts and feelings when you saw your first book published?
N: Fear. I think the first feeling was fear. The fear of not having met the expectations. Publishing a book means that you expose your creativity to the world but this does not mean that they always agree with your point of view. At the same time, there was that great desire to have the final product in my hands. I think, it is this huge joy that happens to everyone who completes a project. A book is an accomplished project.
B: So far, you’ve written 5 books. Would you be able to distinguish some of them as your ‘’favorite’’ children or, are they all the same to you?
N: I cannot say I like this one more than the other. I know that sometimes we like to talk about one book more than another for different reasons. Perhaps a book does not cover a sensitive to us subject or, one of the books was more successful than the other and, that is synonymous with praise and pride. All books are special. They represent a cycle. A moment in life. A message that needed to be shared. A different trip. Each book has a different message. I try to leave a message in each book. A thought, so that the reader at the end of reading my book may have had a pleasant time.
B: I would like to stay a little bit in your last book ”O Mistério MH 370 ” which refers to the tragedy of March 8, 2014 that cost the lives of 239 passengers and crew. How did you decide to get involved in this?
N: On the one hand, I believe that the author should leave a message in each book he writes. Writing is also living, so I think an author should also write about what happens at the time he lives. On the other hand, I was looking to get away from the line I was writing. From the first day, I thought that this plane would be a mystery to the world. No one would have the courage to tell the truth. Therefore, I decided to write about this mystery. Four years after the book was published, the plane still is nowhere to be found! That’s a little weird. So, you have to read the book to get an idea!
B: There are so many rumors around this story, so I would like to ask you, is the “O Mistério MH 370 “, a book written based only on research results or the book is a combination of real facts and imagination?
N: To write this book, much research has been done. Very much. It took me more than 6 months to collect the information needed. It was necessary to explain where everything began. In this book, fiction goes hand in hand with reality. The reader during the reading of this book can understand what happened. How interests sometimes condemn the lives of others.
B: I suppose it wasn’t easy to get in touch with the right people and gather those information…
N: It was very difficult indeed. The family members were contacted by dozens of journalists, who tried to tell the story. There were many theories but the evidence was not conclusive to prove anything. You never know for sure who the right people are, and what is true or false. You listen to many theories. It was necessary to filter everything we were able to gather. You have to be prepared to filter out all the information that is collected. When you write about an event where there are lives at stake, you have to be careful about words, so to not hurt other people’s feelings.
B: What was the biggest obstacle you encountered while the investigation was in progress?
N: One day when I opened my computer, I realized that my email had been violated. Some information that I had collected disappeared. I could say it was a coincidence, but I do not believe in coincidence. They violated my e-mail and my website. Maybe because I was asking too many questions about this disaster…
B: That’s quite strange, indeed. Do you have any idea who might did this?
N: No. I can only let my imagination fly and make a list of possibilities. And imagination is something authors rarely lack. But it would be difficult to come to some conclusion. Hard to prove. I’m always careful to keep everything I do on paper. A bad habit that I have. I still like to write by hand. In this case he saved me. I was able to save some information, which otherwise I would have lost.
B: The survivor you mention in the book is part of reality or fiction?
N: The survivor is part of that moment in which the author unites fiction with reality! There had to be a character to tell the story. People only know that the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777-200 has disappeared, but apart from that they know nothing. I cannot unveil the book, though, one has to read it to understand it.
B: What do you think happened to this flight? Was it an accident or a deliberate action?
N: Well, the truth cannot be told. Only part of the truth can be revealed. Never the whole truth. It would not be easy to tell the truth without proving what really happened. And, to prove reality, it would be necessary to reveal some secrets about the way some countries operate around the world. Especially in this case the guilt will have to die alone. The theory that the pilot committed suicide is not enough. The plane did not disappear just like that. I am not saying that the pilot acted on his own free will. Maybe he was forced to do what he did not want to.
B: Did the whole story affect you emotionally?
N: Yes. For weeks, I was thinking about where could those people be. I volunteered to the research for the survivors. I joined the investigation, when I registered on the platform that was made available, to look for the plane wrecks at sea. Knowing that none of those people could return home made me sad. While searching for debris at sea, I always believed that I could find some trace of the plane. Something that never happened. The relatives were mourning their people. I believe the story may be longer than I wrote in the book.
B: The book, as far as I know, it’s successful and popular in the Portuguese reading audience. Should we expect its English version soon?
N: These decisions are decisions made by Editora. I have not yet discussed this matter- that an English version will be made. I hope there will be soon a translation into other languages. Having a book translated in several languages is always good.
B: Where can someone find your book?
N: Book lovers can find my book O Mistério MH 370 on Amazon following this link https://www.amazon.com/Mist%C3%A9rio-MH-370-Portuguese/dp/1503128539/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1529937174&sr=1-1 , on the official site of Chiado here https://www.chiadobooks.com/livraria/o-misterio-mh-370 and, of course at bookstores!
B: Before we end this interview, i would like to ask you what advice would you give to someone who wants to become an author.
N: The advice I give is the same as other authors gave me when I started writing. I know some of my advice will not be taken under consideration. I did not take under consideration all the advice I had been given at the time, either. Today I see that they were right. We have great difficulty in always doing everything as we want , perhaps this is the reason we have to deploy our creativity. The author should not be in a hurry to publish what he writes. He must write every day, anything. When you don’t write, you should read. Only by writing and reading, the author maintains the necessary balance to succeed.
B: … so that’s the secret of this work that makes you a successful author?
N: The secret of work is work. Practice makes perfect! The author has to draw a line and follow and respect it. When you see a book that has not the desired success, you should continue. You must write a new book. Maybe a book of a different theme. If you get off this line, you’re making a mistake.
B: thank you very much for this interview. I wish you all the best with your book sellings!
N: thank you, too!
Interview by Sotia Bella