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Spanish writer thriving in Utrecht

Last updated 2 years ago by Jon Wilkins

When I spoke with Belen some months ago, she mentioned that she had written a book  and now we can all take a look. Belen loves to write and this comes across in her debut novel “Tiempo de Breitner”  which is about the challenging  experience of moving abroad, from a womanly and generational perspective. A novel about the trip between expectations and reality of the thirty-something generation

You are thirty-two years old and, in just a week, your partner leaves you and you get sacked of your job. Thus we are introduced and can follow a year in the life of Júlia, a journalist from Barcelona who, after losing his boyfriend and her job overnight, decides to pack and move to Amsterdam. Once there, the beginning euphoria will soon stumble to reality: to begin again is not as cool as in the movies. Living with a foot in each city, Júlia will have to build a new life while she discovers that time by itself it is not enough to solve problems and that, sometimes, it is necessary to go back in order to go a step forward in your own life. Contemporary and close to the readers in style and references, the story reflects over distance and closeness in the social media era but, above all, Tiempo de Breitner talks about taking your own decisions or letting others take them for you.

Barcelona and Amsterdam are the scenes of “Tiempo de Breitner” (Breitner’s Weather): a fiction based in part on real stories which dig into the bewilderment of a generation to whom life hasn’t been what they expected it would.

As Belen tells us:

“By self-publishing your first book, you can build your own community”

“I landed into self-publishing by a process of elimination. I’m a little bit impatient and, after three “noes”, I felt I won’t find my chance in the traditional Spanish publishing market because they didn’t seem interested in authors who didn’t own a community of followers.

So I went for my remaining option: self-publishing me. From my experience, this way has its advantages and disadvantages, as everything does. You have to face the whole process on your own, from editing to marketing, and that is exciting and overwhelming at the same time. You learn by trial and error but, at least, there’s definitely less pressure: nobody depends on you and you have just to deal with your own expectations.

Moreover, you can build a really close relationship to your readers since you go to find them by yourself and that makes them feel closer to you. That closeness lets you build your community and reach more to people but, at the end, what matters is if the story connects to them or not. By now, it seems that my story really does!”.

There is no better way to reach potential readers than going out to look for them. That is the reason that “Tiempo de Breitner” has a relevant presence in Facebook and has starred different events in order to gather potential readers around the novel. The goal: letting people discover the book and the story behind it in a cool and relax atmosphere. A trendy bikes shop and a brewery in Barcelona, a cosy book-shop in Lleida and a traditional Catalan bar in the heart of Amsterdam have hosted the four events that have been organized around promoting “Tiempo de Breitner”.

Over a hundred people have discovered the book this way and have had the chance to meet and greet its writer in person, letting them build a closer relationship between the fiction and the reality behind it. As a result, almost 300 books have now been sold without the intervention of any publishing house.

This is an incredible achievement for a first time novelist and self published one at that. Belen deserves great credit for taking on the traditional publishing houses and coming out on top.

Although this is her first novel, Belén C. Díaz has been living from writing for more than ten years.

“Before moving to The Netherlands, I was working as a scriptwriter for a TV programme in Barcelona and, before that, I had written anything from cooking books to local news and even several specials over Twilight for a teenage magazine. At the end, my job has been always the same: to write.”

“It is a craft like carpentry but, instead of using wood, you work with words”.

As we know, for almost four years , Belén C. Díaz has been living in Utrecht. where she writes for Dutch and Spanish clients through her one-person company Looping the Loop.

And, when she has some free time, she invests it into her biggest project: writing her own stories.

Belen is an independent, self-published novelist in Spanish and her book is on sale worldwide via Amazon

Belén C. Díaz




Jon Wilkins
Jon Wilkins
Jon Wilkins is Welsh and lives in England. He is a writer. A Europhile and Remainer, he is a regular visitor to Utrecht and has set his crime novel series in the city.


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