Interview With a Writer: Claudio Tapia

Claudio is a talented writer, musician and filmmaker

Senior Writer

Claudio Tapia speaks Spanish and Dutch, but writes mainly in English. Born in Chile in 1966, Claudio fled the country with his family when he was young. In addition to his work as a ghostwriter, he is an all-around creative person whose professional titles include translator, copywriter, producer and documentary filmmaker.

Claudio also writes fiction. His debut novel, The Hand of Yemanja, came out in 2013. Claudio currently lives in Amsterdam.

Client Sik Liem with Writer Claudio Tapia Writer in Kuala Lumpur 2 (1)Claudio with StoryTerrace client Sik Liem in Kuala Lumpur.


ST: Whose biography would you most like to write? 

There is a shortage of female leads and narrators in my biographies so far. As in my novel, I would like to get inside a woman’s head and tell a story from that perspective. 


ST: Why do you enjoy writing for StoryTerrace?

To write someone’s biography requires you to get to know your subject really well. The process brings you really close to the subject, and vice versa. The work really requires you to make new friendships that in any other context might not happen or might take years to develop. My clients and I tend to stay in touch after the project is long finished. That’s pretty special. 


ST: If you were writing a StoryTerrace book of your life, what would be the title and why?

Packing Roots. I am a migrant. I escaped dictatorship in Chile as a child with my parents in the 1970s, and I was then raised in the Netherlands and in the United States. What I have discovered is that a person who has moved around as much as I have will often have a mental quirk of always keeping a suitcase by the door, so to speak — ready for a quick escape as soon as things become too complicated. The problem is, as you take root, as you grow. It will become increasingly hard to fit yourself into that little suitcase by the door every time, until one day you will see yourself forced to make a choice: either make yourself smaller (travel-size) or stay put and enjoy what you have. 


ST: What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Sunny weather, a morning run, writing until two, grocery shopping, a one-hour siesta and then cooking dinner for friends and loved ones. 


ST: What’s something that people would be surprised to learn about you?

When I first moved to Amsterdam, I worked at a Dutch pancake house. That’s where I learned to make the best Dutch pancakes. I really did become pretty good at it. The secret’s in the batter! 


ST: What trait do you admire most in others?

Real modesty.


ST: If you hadn’t become a writer, what career would you have right now?

Impossible to say. I have done so many different things in that process! A pancake baker, one would hope. 


ST: What is your most treasured possession?

There was a period in my life that I consciously rid myself of stuff. I even lived in camper for a year — not only because it was cheaper, but because I wanted to know what it would be like to wake up in a different place every morning and not have to worry about mortgages and electric bills. However, for decades now, I have traveled around with a little box of things that have sentimental value: a silver coin, a rock I found when I was nine years old, etc. With most of the little objects inside this box, there is not even a good story that would justify me holding on to it. It’s more about the commitment I make to do so that is so enjoyable. Very Shinto! 


ST: Who are your favorite writers?

Henry Miller was huge in my earlier reading life. I am currently really enjoying Zadie Smith’s White Teeth. 


ST: If you could have been born in any time or place, what would you choose?

Speaking of Henry Miller, the 1920s and 30s seems like an interesting period to me. The world was still mysterious and big, yet it would still qualify as modern times. And therefore recognizable. 


ST: Who is your hero?

That’s easy: the person I am currently writing about. I won’t disclose who it is, but what I can say is that I am completely submerged in this person's life at the moment: the way he thinks, speaks, his likes and dislikes, flaws and virtues. His voice is literally bouncing around inside my head right now. 


ST: What is your motto?

Expect to be surprised, every day — so don't forget to buckle up.


Lightning Round!

ST: Dogs or cats?

I really like both.


ST:Introvert or extrovert?

Introvert (most of the time).


ST: Morning lark or night owl?

Night owl.


ST: Paperback or e-reader?



ST: City or country?



If Claudio’s globetrotting lifestyle has inspired you to tell the story of your own journey, get in touch to schedule a free consultation. You can also use our Writer Search Tool  to find the perfect writer for your project today. 

Written by Elizabeth Trach
Image credits: by Claudio Tapia

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