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Welcome to Unwritten, Rui! Looks like you hail from Portugal. What else can you tell us about yourself? What do you do when you're not writing?
Well, I’m 31 years old and I work in IT/Statistics/Business Analysis. Yes, it can become infuriatingly dull on occasion, but it’s a nice job overall. Apart from working and writing, I spend as much time as I can playing the guitar and composing. Music and writing are definitely my main hobbies/passions, time seems to have a way of standing still when I’m working hard on some new story or tune. But the clock never stops ticking, sadly.
I enjoy long walks with my wife and the little dog we got last year, as well as attending concerts and going out with friends. Having fun and relaxing, basically, whenever I can.
In Era of the Spectre, are the tales connected in any way? Do they have the same theme or are they completely different?
They aren’t really connected, but the general themes of darkness, nostalgia and supernatural presence are constant throughout the anthology.
Can you tell us what inspires your stories? For Era of the Spectre, did anything specific inspire those tales?
I wrote them over an extremely long period – about 14 years, I reckon. I basically started working on the first few as a teenager, so obviously I went through a lot of different moods and stages since then. As for more direct, literary influences, I’ll have to mention the mightyH.P. Lovecraft – pretty clear to anyone who reads my book -,Arthur Machen, Edgar A. Poe and Percy Shelley. Some possibly less obvious names would be R. L. Stine, Antero de Quental, Frank Herbert andJ.R.R. Tolkien. I’m really inspired by movies as well, mostly within the genres of fantasy, sci-fi and horror, but I’m always happy to watch something slightly left-of-field whenever I get the chance.
From reading your interview on the Melange website, looks like you play the guitar. I like to listen to music while I write. Do you? Do you find songs that fit specific scenes?
Even when I’m not actually listening to music, I have some tune pounding away in my head, so it’s always an inspiration. I can’t say I fit songs to individual scenes in my stories, though I usually have this song that I’m really absorbed by and suddenly lots of images, different atmospheres and moods will crop up when I least expect them to. I’ll write something down when this happens, either a basic idea for a story or a few sentences – not necessarily the opening lines. If I could write the whole story right away, it would be far easier to keep that particular mood in my mind, but that’s never the case. I can get back to that same music any other day, however, and that’ll usually help me recreate the original atmosphere.
Are you working on anything right now? Can you tell us about it?
It’s been going on for ages. Basically, it’s a short story about a tribe of cave-dwellers – not primitive people, more like voluntary hermits – whose lives are disrupted by the presence of a large black box. I’ll try to finish this story before I move on to develop any of the countless ideas I’ve been collecting and nurturing for years.
Brace yourself for today's random question: When was the last time you did something for the first time, and what was it?
I played live for the first time with my metal band, Dawn of Ruin, back in 2008. It was really something for me. And, of course, my first book was published last year, something I had never thought possible! So I guess the last few years have been kind to me in some ways.
Finally, Rui, can you share with us a short excerpt of one of your works or a work in progress?
Certainly. Here are the first few paragraphs of ‘Demise’, from Era of the Spectre:
“After so much time, I am still haunted by that chill I felt when her hand slowly fondled my hair. I did not know her then, though she had watched me for years, looking after the quietness of my sleep and the placid hedonism of my dreams. Her nature at that time may be likened to that of a guardian angel. But how bizarre that sounds, how unfitting it is to white-wing a damned being. She is a ghost, a lost soul, cursed, bold enough to gnaw at the fetters that held her in the world of spirits and reach for me with velvet touch and satin voice.
In that strangely quiet, warm night, Adelie unwittingly revealed her presence, so worried was she with my condition. Of late, grief had taken quarters in my mind, putting Morpheus to fear and tormenting me for the best part of most nights. Very awake was I when she came with that oddest of touches, a vague caress that startled me to my feet. I frantically groped the surrounding darkness, looking for some unseen disturber, yet found no one in my room. It was very late, and I lay partially uncovered, sweating profusely. I swore later to any who cared to listen that I had felt, other than the caress itself, the intruding presence of some entity in my room, and its rapid vanishing after my arousal. Needless to say, that night was waned in strict vigil.”
Thanks for stopping by, Rui, and I wish you much success and a great weekend!