We talked with Ramón Campos, author of the novel The goldsmith and creator of the scripts of some of the most media and popular series in Spain, such as Velvet, Fariña or The girls of the cable.
Ramón Campos It presents a magnificent adventure novel and a beautiful love story. Romantic love, love of the family and love of a profession. Set in the Barcelona of the late s. XIX, The goldsmith tells the story of a young goldsmith with a promising future who knows Isabel, the daughter of an impoverished aristocrat, the Marquis of Terrassa. He announces that he will grant the hand of his daughter to the one who offers him the largest diamond in the world, and the goldsmith offers to find him. With this commission begins a surprising adventure in which the young, naive and deeply in love, will face a fascinating journey of thousands of kilometers and endless dangers.
How did the story of The goldsmith? Is it inspired by a historical character or event?
The story of The goldsmith born after finding in an old bookstore a manual of diamond cutter published in Barcelona at the end of the 19th century. From there I started reading about the world of diamonds and that's how I came to discover the history of the Kimberley mines in the center of South Africa, and the diamond fever that led thousands of men to travel there. The character of the goldsmith is not inspired by any real personage. On the other hand, his antagonist, the Marques de Terrassa, is freely inspired by a real person: Antonio López, Marques de Comillas, who was nicknamed "el negrero".
How was the process of documenting the book? We have been told that you came to travel to South Africa to prepare it properly, and even that you tried dishes similar to those that the protagonist had eaten in the s. XIX
The documentation process was arduous because in Europe it was not easy to find books that talked about life in South Africa at the end of the 19th century. For that reason, when I was halfway through the written novel, I decided to move to South Africa and visit the places where I wanted my goldsmith to go. So, I traveled first to Cape Town and then to Kimberley. On that trip I was able, among many other things, to try the food, mainly casquería, that my character would have eaten during his trip. An experience, this is the culinary, very interesting but I would not repeat …
What do you consider to have been the main differences between writing a script and a novel?
The main difference is that the script is a work tool for a team of more than 150 people. Each of them draw from him what they need to build the final work, the audiovisual. For this reason, the script as such has no value. Meanwhile in the novel what is written reaches the final recipient without any intermediary along the way that transforms your work into another. This means that communication is direct and therefore, as is logical, the literary work does have value.
What motivated you to capture your creation, this time, in a novel?
In the audiovisual one is always fighting with budgets. It can not be created freely but there are many teams thinking about how to carry out that work and each one of them has some conditioning factors that it transfers to the scriptwriter. This time, with this story, I did not want to feel those conditioning factors. With The goldsmith I wanted to be free to create and enjoy an epic story without any kind of hindrance.
Would you like to take the story to television?
I do not know if it is on television or at the cinema, but I do believe that sooner or later it will end up adapting to the screen. I am surrounded by people who are dedicated to the audiovisual and it would be strange that at some point the possibility of doing so was not put on the table.
Do you remember when your interest in literature awoke?
Since I was a child I have been an avid reader, especially because of my father's influence. He, who was a merchant seaman, read continuously during his travels and I did nothing more than imitate what he saw at home when he was on vacation.
What are your literary influences?
In this case I started very influenced by three readings: Silk, by Alessandro Baricco; Snow, by Maxence Fermine; Y Opium, by this same author. Then, as I was writing, I was distancing myself to find a voice closer to the adventures readings of my youth.
If you did not work creating stories, what would you have liked to do?
I can not imagine doing a job other than this.
And finally: what classic do you have to read on your bookshelf?
Many … Too many … But if I have to stay with one for which I am always looking for the right time I would say Moby Dick, by Herman Melville.