(Read Part Eight here
Douglas Abrams is the author of The Lost Diary of Don Juan, which takes place during the Golden Age of Spain. It's a historical novel that he wrote to answer a question asked by today's men and women: can romantic love survive modern marriage?
MJR: You started out using an historical figure as metaphor for a subject you wanted to explore, but you managed to create a living, breathing man out of your quest. How did you accomplish that?
Abrams: Over the course of more than four years and 30 drafts, I revised The Lost Diary to try to get as close as I could to Don Juan's world, to understand the decadence and the dangers of Golden Age Spain. The more I researched, the more I discovered that the Muse was leading me down the right alleyways of history. Don Juan's story had to be set in this particular time and place, for the unique combination of rebellion and repression that symbolized the end of the 16th century in Spain helped shape him both as a man and a character.
MJR: How does something like that happen? Do you believe in the collective unconscious?
Abrams: I definitely believe in a collective unconscious. I certainly don't have the creativity to write my novels without a great deal of help from this mythic imagination that we all share. I do feel it's quite possible that reincarnation is real. The issue is that most of us believe we were kings and queens, when in reality we were the footsoldiers and servants of history. Many times while I was researching The Lost Diary and racing down the alleys of Sevilla, I had powerful déjà vu. People ask if I was Don Juan in a past life, and I say that I was more likely his coachman.