Interview by Nancy Todd
Nick Snelling runs Culture Spain an information site on Spain and he is the author five books, three of which are about Spain, including ‘Taking the Heat’ and ‘How to Buy Spanish Property and Move to Spain – Safely!’ He has just had a further book published called ‘The Laptop Entrepreneur’ which is a basic user’s guide on how to make an income using the Internet. Nick has lived in Valencia Province, Spain for the past nine years with his wife and two children.
1. What motivates you as a writer to sit at your computer and hammer it all out?
I do not think any writer can stay in front of their computer for long unless they have a genuine passion for writing. Certainly, I love the English language and I always get a buzz from starting out with a blank sheet and then creating something that works: that is compelling, well-argued and interesting.
Probably like many writers, my true love is writing fiction, which can be immensely challenging and exciting. However, unfortunately, fiction does not pay the bills and so I find the vast majority of the writing I undertake is factual. There is some pleasure to be had out of this although the research to what needs to be written is often more exciting than the writing itself! That said, writing articles and factual books is an excellent way to hone a writer’s craft, particularly as brevity and clarity are crucial, given the short attention span of readers (particularly on the Internet).
2. Why did you decide to start your site?
Initially, my main web site Culture Spain was started as a promotional tool for my books about Spain. However, almost immediately, the site developed its own momentum and it has turned into a popular authority information site, known for its ‘no holds barred’ approach to any analysis of Spain. As such, it has exceeded my original expectations and has become an income earner in its own right.
3. What overlooked gems in Spain do you recommend to travelers?
Aragon! Travel around the Beceite area of the Province, for example, and you come across a Spain that is enchanting. There are fortified medieval villages perched on the top of small hills, long, tree lined valleys with rivers (that you can swim in) and endless walking and climbing.
For somewhere coastal – Gandia is a ‘must’ if you want to visit the last ‘secret’ of the Spanish Mediterranean coast. It has the best beaches in Spain, dramatic green mountains rising up almost from the coast, excellent walking, climbing and riding and a vibrant town that has completely avoided mass international tourism. Brilliant – as a place to live or holiday.
4. How do you see the future of the internet affecting your business?
I hate to state the obvious but the Internet is the future, not just for me – but for almost everyone. It is an unavoidable part of business life and crucial to anyone wanting to earn an income independently, a point I make in my new book The Laptop Entrepreneur. Of course, the Internet is constantly evolving but the fundamentals remain much the same and, if you can understand these, then you can use the Internet (as many friends of mine do) to power your business or to develop an independent income.
How will the Internet change things for me, directly? Well, if all goes well, it will provide me with an income wherever I want to be in the world – so long as there is an Internet connection! This means freedom to live where I like and to move when I want to, a mobility most of us crave…
5. What are your favourite foods in Spain?
I am ashamed to say that they are all traditional English dishes! After nine years here, I crave British cooked roast beef or roast lamb, shepherd’s pie and English gammon and (heresy, I know) – if I never see another paella then I shall have reached nirvana!