Interviews talks to Carlos Rubio talks to Carlos Rubio

(This interview appeared online in May of 2000) Where are you from? How-if at all-your sense of place colored your writing?

C.R.: I was born in western Cuba and came to the U.S. while still in high school. From an early age I realized that Latin America is truly a magical place. I believe this sense of wonder permeates what I write in Spanish. My work in English has nothing to do with the Spanish-Speaking world, but rather with the paradoxes and uncertainties faced by twentieth-century man. When and why did you begin writing? When did you first consider yourself a writer?

C.R.: I believe that my mother’s influence (until this day) is evident in my work. As a poet herself she had a love of words that I have inherited. It was inevitable that I should become a writer. As a sophomore in college I had my first short story published, so I suppose that in my mind I was officially a writer since that moment on. Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way? What books have most influenced your life?

C.R.: My mother’s love of language, of course. It was through her that I came in contact with the classics. The writers that have most influenced me are Jose Lezama Lima (Cuban poet/novelist), Albert Camus (French novelist) and Aldous Huxley (English novelist). Each has impacted my way of looking at the world in his own way. What is the most romantic book you have ever read? The scariest? The funniest?

C.R.: Most romantic: Green Mansions, by Hudson; scariest: Dracula, by Bram Stoker; funniest: Candy, by Maxwell Kenton. What music, if any, most inspires you to write? What do you like to listen to while writing?

C.R.: Jazz. This is one of my great passions. There isn’t a day that I don’t listen to jazz. A few years ago I mentioned in a newspaper interview that in my next reincarnation I will come back as a jazz musician. I also wrote a novel, Orpheus’ Blues, about a struggling jazz musician in New York City. What are you reading now? What CD is currently in your stereo?

C.R..: I am currently finishing Beyond Star Trek (Physics from Alien Invasions to the End of Time), by Lawrence Krauss. In my stereo I have Mamacita, a superb recording by Rumba Club, a group from Baltimore, Md. What are you working on?

C.R.: I am trying to fix my riding lawn mower, but I think you mean writing project. I just finished a novel entitled Orisha that I started in the fall of 1996. I am now reading it for the last time (I hope) and then I will send it to my agent in Barcelona, since the book is in Spanish. Use this space to write about whatever you wish.

C.R.: I wish that young people would take more time to listen to jazz. I hope they would realize that these artists are not in the business for the sake of making money, but for the music. As with writers, money is of secondary importance, what truly matters is the work of art.

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