When Reza Emilio Juma was a kid growing up in Sudbury in the 1980s, his favourite time of the year was when the circus came to town.
He'd hang around with the animals and performers until his mom made him come home. “I was really in love with the circus,” he said.
Juma, the son of recently-retired Sudbury cardiologist Dr. Zul Juma, chatted with Sudbury.com during a brief visit to his hometown. He said he drew on this childhood interest in his third book, "La Trapecista" (The Trapeze Artist).
Like his first two books, it's written in Spanish.
That's because Juma has lived in Spanish-speaking countries for the better part of two decades — first in Spain and now in Cozumel, Mexico. His books have seen some success in those countries.
He said he's tried to write fiction in English, but his words just seem to flow better in Spanish now.
"La Trapecista" is about a young man named Picasso who grows up in the Okanagen Valley of British Columbia, and falls in love with a trapeze artist named Esmeralda.
Afraid of heights, Esmeralda falls during a trapeze show. “Does she die? Is she saved?” he said. “He automatically convinces himself she's gone. She's disappeared. It's an emotional rollercoaster.”
Devastated, Picasso flees to the brothels in Tijuana, Mexico and then onto the jungle.
Juma said he decided to set the book in the Okanagen because he had an ex-girlfriend who came from there, and it's a lovely part of the world.
"La Trapecista" is a psychological thriller, Juma said — anything in the thriller or horror genre is popular with Mexicans, who he's specifically catering to with his latest literary effort.
He said he went through many revisions and edits to get the Mexican dialect of Spanish just right.
Unlike his first two books, "Mil Besos" (A Thousand Kisses) and "El Legado Del Principe De Cachemira" (The Legacy of the Prince of Kashmir), "La Trapecista" is self-published.
Juma said he wasn't happy with how little money seemed to be trickling down to him from book sales, so he decided to take things in house.
"La Trapecista" was launched in Mexico in May, and this month, he heads out on a book tour of Spain.