Chat With an Author Giveaways

Chat With An Author (and Giveaway): An Interview With Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Today, we are delighted to bring you bestselling Spanish writer Carlos Ruiz Zafón, author of 6 novels, including one of Ana’s all time favourites, The Shadow of the Wind. His first novel, the YA Horror The Prince of Mist has finally been translated into English and published last month and it is our pleasure and honour to present you with our chat with Carlos Ruiz Zafón and an opportunity to win a signed copy of The Prince of Mist.

Ladies and gents, please give it up for Carlos Ruiz Zafón!

The Book Smugglers: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us. The Shadow of the Wind is one of our all-time favourite books and it is an incredible honour to be talking to its author.

CRZ: My pleasure entirely. I’m always in favour of a little smuggling, specially when it comes to books and ideas.

The Book Smugglers: Your book The Prince of Mist, is being published by Orion Books in English but it is in fact the first book you published, in 1993. How do you see this interest in your earlier books?

CRZ: I’m very happy to be able to finally see The Prince of Mist translated into English. The reason for this monumental delay was essentially legal. Luckily that got all solved and now English readers will be able to enjoy these earlier works of mine. Never too late.

The Book Smugglers: Both The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel’s Game are atmospheric books with a touch of mystery and Fantasy – can readers expect the same from The Prince of Mist?

CRZ: Very much. In fact they’ll find a lot more mystery and fantasy in the prince of mist than on these later works. Although The Prince of Mist is mainly aimed at young readers (but aspires to be enjoyed by readers of all ages) I believe that a lot of the main elements of my later work are already very much present in it.

The Book Smugglers: You started off writing Young Adult novels, and only recently started writing for adults –how was this transition?

CRZ: Smooth as strawberry jam from Fortnum & Mason’s. I started publishing novels for young adults by accident, I think. I never thought I would become a young-adult author. If anything I just write for people who like to read and I’m not inclined to ask them for ID to check their ages. At some point, after having published 3 YA novels and a fourth that nobody knew how to classify, I decided to venture beyond the limits of what is considered YA literature and started working The Shadow of the Wind. To me it is just storytelling and despite the differences between these books I find more elements that unify them than separate them.

The Book Smugglers: Your books are generally found in the literary section of a book store despite their obvious connection with Speculative Fiction and Crime. How would you categorise your writing? Do you see yourself as a “literary author” or more of a genre author?

CRZ: I see myself as a novelist and to be honest I’m not very interested in these labels or in being categorized in any way or manner. I believe there’re only two kinds of writing: good and bad, and you can find plenty of both in the so-called “literary” section and in the so-called “genre” sections. Quite often in the inverse proportion of what conventional thinking would suggest. At the risk of being politically incorrect, I’d say that these distinctions tend to be a bit naïve and quite often misguided by prejudice, snobbery and sometimes plain and good old fashioned cluelessness.

The Book Smugglers: Book Blogs are increasing in importance when it comes to book reviewing – especially with a number of newspapers’ review sections diminishing or ceasing to exist entirely. How do you see this trend? Do you read blogs at all?

CRZ: I think any kind of exchange of ideas and communication is good. The entire market of information is being transformed and traditional journalism is evolving into new and different forms. The marketplace for opinion and subjective perspective has exploded and, despite the noise and the fury of some of it, probably that is a good thing. In the end I believe we’ll just have the same essence in a different packaging, with the good and the bad.

The Book Smugglers: What books do you recommend for readers, keen for more books like yours?

CRZ: I recommend readers to be adventurous and to try things they’ve never heard of or considered reading before. Get out of the comfort zone and discover something new and exciting. If you’d never be caught dead in the mystery section go and read some George Pelecanos, Dennis Lehane, Michael Connelly or many others. If you only read thrillers get deep into the literary fiction aisle and let yourself be seduced. If you only read non-fiction pick up a Ian McDonald novel or a Joyce Carol Oates novel. If you only read comic books, get acquainted with the great Charles Dickens or a certain Monsieur Dumas. Pick up something at random and read a page. Feel the texture of the language, the architecture of the imagery, the perfume of the style… There’s so much beauty, intelligence and excitement to be had between the pages of the books waiting for you at your local bookstore the only thing you need to bring is an open mind and a sense of adventure. Disregard all prejudices, all pre-conceived notions and all the rubbish some people try to make you think. Think for yourself. Regarding books or anything in life. Think for yourself.

The Book Smugglers: if you had to pick three authors who influenced your writing, who would they be?

CRZ: I’d need at least 300 to get started. I believe an author is influenced by everything she or he reads, analyzes and learns something from. Sometimes it is stuff you don’t like, sometimes it is stuff you love, but I think you can learn from anything.

And finally a question we always ask:
The Book Smugglers: We Book Smugglers are faced with constant threats and criticisms from our significant others concerning the sheer volume of books we purchase and read – hence, we have resorted to ’smuggling books’ home to escape scrutinizing eyes. Have you ever had to smuggle books?

CRZ: I make no apologies for my love of books, my friend, like I make no apologies for my love of music or architecture or any of the great things in life. If anybody has a problem with that, well, that’s just too bad.

About the Author: CARLOS RUIZ ZAFÓN was born in Barcelona and is the author of six novels, including the international phenomenon THE SHADOW OF THE WIND, the most successful novel in Spanish publishing history after DON QUIXOTE. His work has been translated into more than 35 languages and has received numerous international awards, including the Edebé Award, Spain’s most prestigious prize for young adult fiction.

Make-believe is Carlos’ business and his books have sold over 15 million copies worldwide, with THE ANGEL’S GAME being the fastest selling book of all time in Spain. Carlos now splits his time between Barcelona and Los Angeles.

A HUGE thank you to Carlos Ruiz Zafon for chatting with us.

And good news for those in the UK. The author is touring the UK right now and will be at Foyles Bookshop on Wednesday 2nd June) and login to Twitter and follow @waterstones at 5.30pm on 3rd June for Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s first ever ‘Twinterview’ – a live online interview via Twitter. Simply tweet your questions to @waterstones using the hashtag #CRZafon beforehand, or on the day itself. For more info check out the Waterstone’s website. Carlos will answer as many questions as he can and Waterstone’s post the transcript as soon as possible.

Now, for the giveaway!


We have ONE signed copy of The Prince of Mist to giveaway. This book giveaway is open to all. The contest will run until June 4 at 11:59 PM (PST). Entry is easy – simply leave a comment here. Only ONE comment per person, please! Multiple and duplicate comments will be disqualified. Good luck!


  • Allison
    June 1, 2010 at 12:15 am

    Oh my goodness, I absolutely love what he said about abandoning all book genre prejudices. I am going to add that to my favorite quotes on Goodreads so I don’t forget it 🙂

    Thanks so much for the giveaway, I have been dying to read this! Shadow of the Wind is one of mhy favorite books too, and I am definitely in favor of reading everything he publishes as it is translated.

  • Ellaanabeth
    June 1, 2010 at 12:32 am

    Wow, I now have the heebie jeebies because my cousin was JUST telling me about this book the other day, apparently she’s a big fan of Zafon and reads a lot of his books in spanish, she was super excited to hear this book was coming out in english. ^_^ Sign me up, I’m convinced that this book needs to go on my TBR list!

  • Van P.
    June 1, 2010 at 12:46 am

    this sounds like a great! looking forward to reading it.

  • Misha
    June 1, 2010 at 1:14 am

    I love him! Please enter me . Thanks!

  • Nicola
    June 1, 2010 at 1:19 am

    *Sigh* I think I have a bit of a crush now!

  • Carol Thompson
    June 1, 2010 at 1:22 am

    I first read him following a rave from Pat of Pat Fantasy Hotlist and immediatly became a fan.

    When I heard his earlier four books were to be translated and published in English I added them to my wish list for purchase when funds allow.

    This is a great opportunity to get the first one and I shall be suffering from agonizing hand cramps until the contest is over from holding thumbs that I get lucky !

    Many thanks for making it open worldwide.

    Carol T

    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

  • Karen Mahoney
    June 1, 2010 at 1:41 am

    What an amazing interview! I loved everything he said – so wise and true. 🙂

    I’d love to win this, I don’t think I can go to the Foyles event. *crai*


  • Christine
    June 1, 2010 at 3:40 am

    Eeeee! I adored The Shadow of the Wind. It’s, by far, one of my favorite books ever! I’d love for a chance to win a signed copy of Prince of Mist!

  • Dominic Ryan
    June 1, 2010 at 3:54 am

    Having read Prince of Mist I can say it is my third favourite book ever. First is Shadow of the Wins, second is The Angels Game!

  • Hannah
    June 1, 2010 at 4:55 am

    I think these books are a spectacular example of me judging them by their cover – before I’d read a single word about them I was thinking ‘oh I want want want!’ based on the awesome cover art. I am very impressed, particularly with ‘The Shadow of the Wind’!

    Then I read the actual interview and think they also sound incredible. I’m so sad I had heardly heard of them before today (I think someone mentioned ‘Prince of Mist’ to me a while ago…), and will definitely be stopping off at the book depository soon.

    Thanks also for the heads-up re: Waterstones. I won’t be able to make the signing but will definitely try and be around for the Twinterview!

  • Lisa
    June 1, 2010 at 5:33 am

    Wow looks awesome! I’m entering!

  • Katie
    June 1, 2010 at 5:47 am

    Wow! I’ve never heard of CARLOS RUIZ ZAFÓN before, but his books sound great!


  • Nikki Egerton
    June 1, 2010 at 5:49 am

    Hi, I havn’t come across these books before but they definately sound worth reading, please enter me for the competition.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:54 am

    Thanks for the interview and the chance to win!

    Paul Bishop

  • Lucy
    June 1, 2010 at 6:21 am

    I adored Shadow of the Wind and have been watching and waiting for more of his books to appear. My wish has been granted! So looking forward to reading it, he’s a magical storyteller

    Please enter me in the giveaway : )

  • eva sb
    June 1, 2010 at 6:32 am

    Shadow of the Wind is one of my all time favourites but this is the first blog interview I’ve discovered with CRZ – excellent. Thanks.

  • Arhcadia
    June 1, 2010 at 6:39 am

    Sounds amazing. I stumbled upon Shadow of the Wind randomly somewhere (can’t even remember how/why), picked it up, and loved it. As a fan of YA, I’m excited to read this older book. Thanks!

  • Marie
    June 1, 2010 at 7:29 am

    I’ve never heard of Mr. Zafon’s books! Where have I been?!? More books to add to the list (unless I win, of course! 😀 ).

    I loved what he said about there being two different types of writing, good and bad. Can you just imagine a bookstore set up that way?

    Ana and Thea, thanks for another great interview!

  • GSM
    June 1, 2010 at 8:14 am

    Zafon is a new author for me. Great interview. Count me in, please.

  • Elizabeth
    June 1, 2010 at 8:22 am

    I too love Shadow of The Wind!

  • Stella (Ex Libris)
    June 1, 2010 at 8:31 am

    Please enter me, I have heard great things about this book! I already have The Shadow of the Wind on my TBR shelf.

    Thank you!

    stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com

  • Carolyn
    June 1, 2010 at 8:51 am

    I loved Shadow of the Wind – I hope I get a chance to read the Prince of Mist as well!

  • Lindsay Elizabeth
    June 1, 2010 at 8:52 am

    Oh my god, if I won a signed copy of anything by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, my life would be complete.

  • Alexandra
    June 1, 2010 at 9:32 am

    He’s a great author! 😀

  • Caroline
    June 1, 2010 at 9:36 am

    I loved Shadow of the Wind, was reading it on a long train journey and wished I hadn’t reached my stop coz I hadn’t finished!

  • Teresa W.
    June 1, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Sounds good, count me in!

  • Simon
    June 1, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Nice interview, thanks for the chance to win 🙂

  • laarni lopez
    June 1, 2010 at 11:08 am

    weee! another giveaway open to all! nice interview! 🙂 i sure hope i win this time!

  • Tran
    June 1, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Such profound wisdom. I’ve never thought of the reading being simplified into two piles of good and bad. lol That makes my book smuggling habits much easier to categorize with that frame of thinking!

    You guys always have the best giveaways X3

  • Tiffany Trent
    June 1, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Huge Zafon fangirl here! Count me in!

  • Thuy
    June 1, 2010 at 11:16 am

    Please count me in. I absolutely love The Shadow of The Wind. One of my all time favourite book.

  • Rob Chilver
    June 1, 2010 at 11:50 am

    Sounds fantastic and hopefully as good as his first two. Would love a signed copy!

  • Megan
    June 1, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    Sounds cool!

  • Michelle M
    June 1, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    I would love to try out one of his books – I’ve heard many good things about them. Thanks!

  • Beachreader
    June 1, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    very interesting interview. A new author for me to be on the lookout. Thanks for the giveaway.

  • Heidi V.
    June 1, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    I like the cover and the story sounds interesting! The Shadow of the Wind sounds interesting also… 😮

  • danielle
    June 1, 2010 at 2:12 pm


  • Melanie
    June 1, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    I read The Shadow of the Wind and loved it, it’s one of my favorite books too. I have never read any of his other books, but I would love to. Thanks for the great interview and giveaway.

  • Alison
    June 1, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    I’d love to read this. I’ve had Shadow of the Wind on hold at the library forever.

    reddyrat [at] gmail [dot] com

  • Kevin
    June 1, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    Just finished Shadow of the Wind, and I’d love to see how this one compares.

  • Alex (Tales of a Teenage Book Lover)
    June 1, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Sounds like a really great book!

  • Ashley
    June 1, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    Count me in! Thanks! 🙂

  • Tricia Scott
    June 1, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    Shadow of the Wind is my favorite book of all time. Please count me in!!! thank you. 🙂

  • Carol M
    June 1, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    I just started reading The Shadow of the Wind and I’m enjoying it very much! I would love to read The Prince of Mist, too! Please enter me! Thank you!

  • Bethie
    June 1, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    Please count me in. Thanks for the giveaway.

  • Pamelia
    June 1, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    Sign me up please! thanks!

  • Martin
    June 1, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    I havnt heard of this author before but you guys speak pretty well of him and that makes me want to try him out 😀

  • NLMars
    June 1, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    That was an inspitational interview. I really got so much of of it. Thank you for this great oppurtunity.
    And I would also like to participate in the giveaway. 🙂

  • csaket
    June 1, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    I would love to read this book

  • Jill
    June 1, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    I’ve heard great things about this book and it does sound VERY intersting! Thanks for the giveaway!

  • vvb
    June 1, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    I loved the Shadow of the Wind. Interesting to learn of the YA creations.

  • Amanda
    June 1, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    love his books!

  • Erika (Jawas Read, Too)
    June 1, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    I’m not entering the contest, but this was a wonderful interview. 🙂 I had no idea Carolos Ruiz Zafón wrote YA titles first. It goes to show how strange the world of publishing translated books is.

    The Shadow of the Wind is still one of the best books I’ve ever read. I haven’t had the fortune to read Angel’s Game yet, but do have a copy of The Prince of Mist coming my way soon! 🙂

    I would also really love to read any of his books in Spanish…

  • Tiah
    June 1, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    I can’t even tell you how much I love The Shadow of the Wind. This was a great interview!

  • sarac
    June 1, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    I’ve wanted to read one of Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s books for a while now. Maybe I’ll start with this one!

  • Mariska
    June 1, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    I haven’t read any books from him. so Count me in !

  • Megan
    June 2, 2010 at 4:29 am


  • Ammy Belle
    June 2, 2010 at 6:09 am

    This is amazing! One of my most favourite authors! I just finished “The Angel’s Game” – so well done! I am in awe of his mind! Thanks so much! 😀

  • Anonymous
    June 2, 2010 at 6:10 am

    This is amazing! One of my most favourite authors! I just finished “The Angel’s Game” – so well done! I am in awe of his mind! Thanks so much! 😀

  • Christine H
    June 2, 2010 at 6:20 am

    I’ve never read anything by him before but I haven’t even been reading a year yet. So please enter me I’d love to read the book! 🙂

  • Shirley H
    June 2, 2010 at 6:21 am

    This sounds like a great book. A lot of people have great things to say about his books. I’d like a chance to win. Thanks!

  • Tina
    June 2, 2010 at 6:25 am

    I’d love to read this book. I’m going to check out his website or on Amazon to see if there’s any books that preceed this one. I’ll have to order then and give them a try. Thanks for the great book giveaway!!

  • Mishel
    June 2, 2010 at 6:42 am

    I’ve wanted to read this for a while and I gotta say this interview was wonderful. I’m very glad that The Prince of Mist was finally able to be translated to English =) I’m looking forward to it!

  • Rebecca
    June 2, 2010 at 6:45 am

    Please enter me. The Shadow of the Wind was amazing.

    winterlyre AT hotmail DOT com

  • Giada M
    June 2, 2010 at 6:54 am

    He’s a new author to me. Thank you for the interview and great giveaway! Please count me in! 🙂

    Giada M.

    fabgiada @

  • Martha V.
    June 2, 2010 at 7:35 am

    My faculty book club read The Shadow of the Wind and absolutely loved it! I’m looking forward to reading The Prince of Mist.

    Thanks for the great interview.

  • heather
    June 2, 2010 at 11:25 am

    i absolutely love ruiz zafon and have been looking forward to this book! thanks for the great interview.

  • Good News Comes in Threesomes | Literary Escapism
    June 2, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    […] Carlos Ruiz Zafón, author of The Prince of Mist, by the Book Smugglers […]

  • Ari
    June 2, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    I see this book everyday in the display case at Borders (I have to pass a Borders on my way to school, everyday knowing that I can’t buy anything. tragic! 😉

    I agree with Mr.Zafron I think readers and writers can learn from anything, good or bad. You learn what you like and what you don’t like.

    Thanks for this interview and giveaway!

  • debp
    June 2, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    I would love to read this book, please enter me.

  • Heather (DarklyReading)
    June 2, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    Great interview ladies! I have some of Carlos Ruiz Zafón books on my tbr and I would love to get one. I was thinking for some books that they need to be shelved in multiple locations in a book store because they fit with so many different genres and sometimes people are afraid to venture outside their favorite. It sounds like Zafon’s books with fit that category!

  • Rise
    June 2, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    I’d love to join this giveaway. I’ve read The Shadow of the Wind and loved it.

  • ritu
    June 2, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    Can i just say the cover is amazing? I love the cover. Love to join the giveaway.Thanks!

  • Grace
    June 3, 2010 at 2:33 am

    I’d love to join this giveaway! 🙂 thank youu

  • Iris
    June 3, 2010 at 4:36 am

    I’d love to win this. I’ve had my eye on it for a while now.

  • pixie13
    June 3, 2010 at 8:35 am

    Sounds great. Count me in, please. Thanks!

  • Amy
    June 3, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    I’d love to win this. I’ve had my eye on it for a while now.

  • Angie D
    June 3, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    I’ve heard great things about this author and would love the chance to read this! Thanks!

  • Jacqueline C.
    June 3, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    This one caught my eye a while ago. I’ve never read anything by Carlos Ruiz Zafón before so I’d love to win!

  • Ladytink_534
    June 4, 2010 at 6:52 am

    I’m almost too late! I adored The Shadow of the Wind so I would love to be entered please!!! I agree that his books can’t really be pigeonholed into just one genre.

  • Chris B
    June 4, 2010 at 7:07 am

    Wow! I look forward to reading your work.

  • Bohemienne
    June 4, 2010 at 10:07 am

    I am SO excited to read this translation!!!

  • Llehn
    June 5, 2010 at 7:47 am

    I’d love to play please.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.