"I've always read a lot. I come from the world of letters". It is with great humility and simplicity that the Spanish novelist, who sold millions of copies of the book "The Spy of Tangier", shares her memories.
Maria Dueñas was a hard-working, dedicated and committed woman who spent years passing on her knowledge to her students at the University of Murica while raising her two children. Beautiful years in spite of a "stress" that she still remembers.
A new lease of life
One day, while on a work trip to the United States, her life was turned upside down. "I felt I needed something new." Maria felt the need to write for the first time. But what was it?
And so the idea came to her to write about a place that was dear to her, northern Morocco. A familiar and warm place where her mother and her family lived during the Spanish protectorate. But she wanted to know more. Maria the novelist was born. She began months of historical research to understand history. Her story. From Tetouan to lieutenant colonel Juan Beigbeder and her mistress, the spy Rosalinda Powell Fox, Maria plunged into a world as fascinating as it was unknown. It is in a context that blends reality and fiction, where world war is wreaking havoc, that the novelist gave life to the character of Sira, a young woman of modest origins who owes her survival to her only talent, sewing. A talent that will open the doors of the greatest houses but will also arouse the interest of the British secret services...
Two years of work. Two years of research and writing. The manuscript was sent to a Spanish literary agency which decided to send it to a large publishing house. However, a small branch of the latter decided to publish it... in a limited edition. "3,500 copies". That's not much. But we couldn't take any risks.
The snowball effect
The novel was read. By tens, then hundreds, then thousands of readers. A word of mouth that, little by little, made an impression. The "snowball effect" said Maria. From the public to the media, the spy from Tangier won hearts. From one day to the next, Maria Dueñas was propelled onto the media scene. She was everywhere. Solicited in all the fairs, shows, television sets. The novelist had to put her teaching career on hold. Initially, she decided to take a two-year leave of absence. She never came back.
Her new life
Maria's life is not the same anymore. Now millions of viewers follow Sira's adventures on Netflix and the name Maria Dueñas is known to everyone. "I am free". The freedom she had wanted so badly, she got it. Through her talent, her perseverance, her sincerity. The personality of the Tangier spy, like Maria, had a touching effect. A humble, true character, whom we want to protect, to love.
The Dueñas magic is a beautiful lesson in life: you must always believe in your dreams.