Carlos Ruiz Zafón (born Barcelona, 25 September 1964) is a Spanish novelist who has lived in Los Angeles since 1993, where he spent a few years writing scripts whilst developing his career as a writer.
His first novel, El príncipe de la niebla (The Prince of Mist, 1993), earned the Edebé literary prize for young adult fiction. He is also the author of three more young adult novels, El palacio de la medianoche (1994), Las luces de septiembre (1995) and Marina (1999).
In 2001 he published the novel La sombra del viento (The Shadow of the Wind), his first "adult" novel, which has sold millions of copies worldwide and more than a million copies in the UK alone. Since its publication, La sombra del viento has garnered critical acclaim around the world and has won many international awards. Ruiz Zafón's works have been published in 45 countries and have been translated into more than 30 languages. According to these figures, Ruiz Zafón is the most successful contemporary Spanish writer, along with Javier Sierra, whose works have been published in forty-two countries, and Juan Gómez-Jurado, whose works have been published in forty-one countries.
Ruiz Zafón's eagerly awaited second novel, a prequel to The Shadow of the Wind, has been acquired by Weidenfeld & Nicolson. The English edition was published in hardback on June 16, 2009. Titled The Angel's Game, it also is set in Barcelona, but during the 1920s and 1930s. It follows (and is narrated by) David Martin, a young writer who is approached by a mysterious figure to write a book. The Spanish edition, titled El juego del angel, was published in April 2008 by Planeta. The English edition was translated by Lucia Graves, daughter of the poet Robert Graves. The Dutch translation was done by Nelleke Geel. Ruiz Zafón will tour to support the book after its publication and has stated his intention for it to be included as part of a four book series along with The Shadow of the Wind.
An English version of El príncipe de la niebla (The Prince of Mist, 1993) is to be released on 27 May 2010 through Orion books.
While Zafon is rarely specific about any one author that inspires him, he is keen to describe genres that have influenced his work and his writing process; he has referred to his love of the 19th century classics, revealing once that his list of favorites includes "Dickens, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Balzac, Victor Hugo, Thomas Hardy, Alexandre Dumas, Flaubert." On the other hand, Zafon has also described a passion for crime fiction, ranging from "Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain, and the classic noir authors" to more contemporary names such as "George Pelecanos, Dennis Lehane, Michael Connelly".
Apart from books, another large influence comes in the form of films and screenwriting. He admits in countless interviews that he finds it easier to visualize scenes in his books in a cinematic way, which lends itself to the lush worlds and curious characters he creates.