A group of friends spending the summer in the Arribes del Duero Natural Park and who decide to take advantage of their ‘dead’ hours to try connect with the afterlife through a ouija board. It is the story told by Arturo Panero, a 42-year-old writer from Salamanca, now an administrative assistant for the City Council, emotionally linked to the charro municipality of Pereña de la Ribera, where he spent most of his childhood. With a degree in Psychology from the University of Salamanca, perhaps his specialization in the clinical branch has helped him to give life to characters like the ones who star in his new novel, ‘Where are you?’, which he talks about for LA GACETA with the “handful of illusions” that he never tries to let go of and that he always tries to show he has when he soaks up reading and writing.
His father’s past as a doctor in the protected natural space chosen as the main place to develop and tell his new plot has helped him to carry forward a book that he assures deals with several themes, starting with terror, but continuing with values such as friendshipeven touching on impossible and youthful loves and in which a ‘tribute’ is made to all those people who have a town.
“The book is a return to the past, to that decade of the 90s that seems so close, but that, in reality, was so different from today’s world, marked by social networks and mobile phones. In it, I tell stories that, in reality, have been real events. They have not been lived by me, but by many of my friends, with whom I have discussed the argument that is exposed several times. ‘Where are you?’ It is the life story of many of us who have had a town, those who like terror or not, will enjoy it just the same”, says Arturo Panero when asked about the story of the novel.
This man from Salamanca, who began to be interested in literature and writing at the age of 18, for which he has been trained by continuously immersing himself in reading, is firmly committed to telling stories giving importance to emotionality. “When I see that something is on my mind, I start to shape itI make an outline of everything I want to tell and I start writing in a rush”, says Arturo, currently immersed in horror stories and novels, within which he finds a reference: the American poet and writer Thomas Ligotti, author of some works like ‘Teatro grottesco’.
In ‘Where are you?’, Arturo Panero tells the story of Javi, the main character who has been waking up in the middle of the night for more than a year and encountering a not unknown spirit: his best friend, who disappeared under strange circumstances many years ago and who has now become a stubborn and terrifying presence that seems to have taken an important part of himself and who keeps repeating a question to him when he appears unexpectedly.
Throughout his career as a writer, this man from Salamanca has received many awards, but, without a doubt, one stands out above the rest. His story, ‘Ecos of the past’, was selected among the 26 finalists of the XXXV International Short Story Prize ‘Max Aub’ 2021. In addition, in that same year, ‘The last step’ won seventh place in the XXI Short Narrative Contest ‘Villa de Torrecampo’ and, this year, was classified in fifth place with ‘El Señor Gómez’ in the awards ceremony of the 1st Astarte Prize for Short Stories and Poetry. Recalling his beginnings in the literary field, he puts himself in the shoes of all those who are starting out in it and recommends one thing: that they write about what they like and fills them.
“Writing about what you are passionate about is much easier. From then on, you always have to keep alive the flame of ‘passion’ for writing so as not to get tired of writing and working on the same work, revising and polishing all the details that you don’t want to forget to capture. That, little by little, makes you carve out your own style, ”says the man from Salamanca, who also emphasizes that it is providential not to lose hope and the desire to tell stories despite the supposed defeats that may occur along the way. , which are overcome in an easy way: “Learning and having an open mind in the face of criticism, taking advantage of every note that others make of their works and understanding and sharing the sensations that arouse them”. “When you establish your style and see that it works for you, you constantly evolve,” emphasizes Arturo Panero.