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Leading Normal Lives in Abnormal Situations

"Las fant?ísticas" is all about the real-life stories of the women of the famous drug lords

By Anjanette Delgado
Published on LatinoLA: October 26, 2009


Leading Normal Lives in Abnormal Situations


This month, we welcome a new book and TV series from the authors of the successful TV series "El cartel de los sapos," the real-life story of a man's quest to transcend a life of drugs, secrecy and crime, played on TV by leading man, Manolo Cardona.

The new book is titled "Las fant?ísticas: Las mujeres del cartel" and it's all about the real-life stories of the women of the famous drug lords we've heard so much about. What drives them? What are their lives like? Why do they sign up for such a dangerous life? Authors Juan Camilo Ferrand and Andr?®s L??pez L??pez tell all in their book, but here, they consented to talk a little bit about themselves and their writing process, exclusively for LatinoLA:

Q: How is "Las fant?ísticas" different from "El cartel?"

A: In LF, the focus is the women. This is a story about women who lead lives of love, death, danger, heartbreak, jealousy, fear and, yes, sometimes drugs. But these, or the drug lords are not the focus, as they were in El Cartel. Besides, this is a softer story, a more emotional story. It's about real women caught in extraordinary situations.

Q: What is the message behind the stories? What do you want readers to take away from the book?

A: The message is very clear: do not do what these girls did. We are showing the special situation in which these women lived. Our purpose was, first, to let our readers and viewers know something that we as a society already knew, and that is that drug dealers have wives and girlfriends like everyone else. That seems very obvious at first but nobody had taken the time and effort to explore how this situation affects the fabric of an entire society. What does it mean to live with a drug lord? How can somebody lead a normal life in this most abnormal situation. And second, we wanted that readers and viewers to open their eyes and have enough information so that they can do what these women couldn't or didn't: choose another path.

Q: Did either one of you have a political agenda in writing this book? If so, what was it and why was it important to you?

A: We just wanted to tell an unknown story with real, down to earth characters. The content is hard, and true enough that it speaks for itself. In each specific story there are harsh realities that could be seen and understood easily without having to imprint our own opinions on the stories.

Q: How is the book being received in Colombia? To what do you attribute this response?

A: The book has been very well received by the Colombian public. It was THE bestselling book for a few weeks and now stands as one of the top ten books for the year. We think people liked it because the topic is very powerful. It is a very revealing book. It talks about something people know exists, but don??t really know much about. So, there's curiosity, a desire to know, and an appetite for new information.

Q: Are you denouncing the plight of women in Colombia or the issue of a society supported by drug-trafficking? Which is at the forefront in this book?

A: We did not want to denounce anything. Just show a reality that, as much as we'd prefer it didn't exist in our country, it does, despite the war on drugs fought by the US and Colombian Governments. The country is full of drug lords. And whenever you have drug dealers, you'll have fant?ísticas. They are complementing. If anything, we wanted to tell our readers that life is, and means, very different things when you share it with a drug lord.

Q: Will we see this book in English anytime soon? Movie? TV Series for the US?

A: As of this moment, our agent in New York City, Jonah Strauss from Strauss Literary, is handling the sell of this book to American Publishers. There are a few that have showed real interest, so we will see. It would be fantastic if the American people could see, and read, this reality. We think it would be a huge success. A movie still too early to tell. What is already a reality is the TV series. We wrote it for the Colombian Market, with the title, "Las Mu??ecas de la Mafia," and it's on the air now in one of the two National TV Networks in Colombia with very good ratings. It is just a matter of time before we can see it on either Telemundo or Univision. One of them is going to buy it from Caracol and launch it in the US, we're sure.

Q: What is your next project about?

A: We just finished a dark comedy about two hitmen that create a corporation in order to kill bad people for other bad people. Kind of Laurel and Hardy meet Pulp Fiction.

"Las fant?ísticas" is out this Hispanic Heritage month from Aguilar (Santillana) and available wherever books are sold. Hear a bit more from these authors here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3w2DrMuZW5A

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9fpnNEV9jA&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CgD1VF5YN4&feature=related

About Anjanette Delgado:
Anjanette Delgado is the author of 2009's Latino Book Award for Best Novel/ Romance/ English for The Heartbreak Pill (Atria 2008), out in Spanish as La p?¡ldora del mal amor (Atria 2009). She's a book editor with Santillana USA.
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