Benalmádena-based British author with a passion for Andalucía has recently published her debut novel. The flamenco-theme love story, published in both English and Spanish, is set in Andalucía, London, Los Angeles and New York and focuses on the ethical and social issues that confront modern society.
Flamenco Forever: An Andalusian Amor is the work of Julie Silverton, a former journalist who has lived in Benalmádena since 2015.
Julie studied English Literature and Philosophy at Warwick University and she discovered the beauties of Andalucía and the mysterious world of flamenco while holidaying in southern Spain. As a result of her fascination with flamenco, Julie decided to enrol in a flamenco dance studio in the UK. She continued with her dance lessons when she arrived in Spain to care for her elderly mother, who has lived in Andalucía for most of her life.
Love of authentic flamenco
"It was during those early years when we holidayed in southern Spain that I discovered flamenco and I was entranced. It was a combination of my love of the Andalusian region, coupled with my passion for the dance, that inspired me to write the book," Julie explains to SUR in English.
The book's central character is an English school teacher who, coping with the betrayal of her boyfriend, starts a new life in Spain. She finds herself hopelessly attracted to a celebrated flamenco dancer and the story takes the reader on a roller-coaster ride through enchanting Andalusian towns and a collection of colourful Gypsy-flamenco characters.
"I have always had a love of flamenco ever since I witnessed authentic flamenco years ago in a Gypsy encampment in Seville. I knew I needed something more and always had a desire to write. When I arrived in Benalmádena this time round, the Andalusian culture and environment again filled me with wonder: it was the perfect soil to plant the story's roots," she declares.
Julie describes the book as contemporary women's fiction with deep social, spiritual and ethical issues underlying the whole story. She also focuses on the duende of flamenco, a phenomenon which is usually only experienced during a traditional Gypsy performance.
"I won't give away too many of the plots, but one of them concerns the scourge of people-trafficking throughout Europe, which has a central part in the story, as does the use of flamenco duende by my hero to resolve his deep emotional issues. A faith dimension is touched on," she says.
Ramón Ruiz, one of the UK's leading flamenco guitarists, describes the book as "a true immersion in what authentic flamenco is truly about".