José Latour was born in Havana, Cuba, on April 24, 1940. He started reading at a very tender age, progressing from Hans Christian Andersen and the Grimm brothers as a child to Raymond Chandler and Erle Stanley Gardner in his late teens.
By the time the Cuban Revolution came to power, José, who was 19, had become an ardent supporter. He joined the Ministry of Treasury as a junior financial analyst and translator and later moved on to the Cuban Central Bank. From there he transferred to the Ministry of Sugar, ending up in the State Committee of Finance, where from 1977 onwards he swelled the ranks.
Shuffling papers, however, was not challenging enough. In that same year José started writing crime fiction in his spare time. His first three novels (Preludio a la Noche, Medianoche Enemiga and Fauna Noctura), set in pre-revolutionary Havana, were published by Editorial Letras Cubanas in 1982, 1986 and 1989. The fourth (Choque de Leyendas), was launched in 1998, nine years after he first delivered the manuscript to the publisher.
José also joined the Union of Cuban Writers and Artists and the International Association of Crime Writers (IACW) in1988. Two years later he resigned his position as global financial analyst in the Ministry of Finance to become a full-time writer. In 1998 he was elected vice-president for Latin America of the International Association of Crime Writers.
In 1994 José delivered to his publisher The Fool, a novel based on a real-life case of corruption in the ministries of the Interior and the Armed Forces that was uncovered in 1989. This book was considered counterrevolutionary and José was labeled an “enemy of the people.”
Certain that neither The Fool nor the books he wanted to write would get published in Cuba as long as all publishing houses were state-owned, rejecting ideological subservience and adamant about pursuing a career as a novelist, José took a shot at writing in English.
His first novel in that language, Outcast, was published in the U.S., six Western European countries, Brazil and Japan. It got flattering reviews and was nominated for an Edgar. Since, he has penned Havana Best Friends (2002), Havana World Series (2003), Comrades in Miami (2005), The Faraway War, under the pseudonym Enrique Clio (2009) and Crime of Fashion (2009).
Seeking creative fiction and fearing dictatorial repression, the author and his family moved to Spain in August 2002 and to Canada in September 2004. In October 2012 he released as an ebook Riders of Land and Tide.
To all Members: Some of you may not know that the October 11th-17th issue of The Economist has an interesting essay titled From papyrus to pixels that I found extremely informative for authors.
From Network Effects, an article in The Economist, December 19 issue, pages 142 to 144, I condense below a few paragraphs.
“Some technologies produce dramatic upheavals.
“When in May 1844 Samuel Morse connected Washington, DC, and Baltimore with the electric telegraph, the status quo and business model that had served the newspaper industry for years was disrupted.
Sellers go to marketplaces to make money by offering goods and services, and the same rules apply to marketplaces the world over. Make, harvest or extract something, price it accordingly and offer it for sale. It seems, though, as in the last one hundred years the ever-increasing role of promotion has profoundly changed the buyer-seller relationship.