CK: What is the main aim of the book?
JF: To add to the conversation on Venezuela. I don’t aim to change it, simply to change the one dimensional element of it. I believe so many people are missing out on an understanding of Venezuela and it’s society and communities due to the nature of coverage, whether it’s right or wrong misses the point; it’s a narrow window into a multifaceted and far-ranging population.
CK: What have been the challenges writing the book?
JF: The first challenge I faced was actually deciding to go ahead with the project. Before I tied my flag to the mast and launched the Kickstarter, many people told me not to do it, not to go to Venezuela, not to start conversations that could have no end or close doors on me. For me, writing a book on Venezuelan football without ever having gone would’ve been pointless, halfhearted and without authenticity. I either write it and went or didn’t at all. In that sense the challenge was easy.
The second challenge was selling people a book that is yet to be published and does not exist in a finished form. That is a completely different task to selling a book that is complete and on the shelf. It has required a completely different approach. I’ve essentially asked people to buy a book that does not yet exist. It hit fully funded within half its campaign length, so it’s gone well so far.
Time will tell whether it’s naïveté, but I feel as if the biggest logistical challenges are behind me. The only one I still envisage is being away from my wife and baby daughter while I am in Venezuela.
CK: How did the title come about?
JF: The national team’s nickname is “La Vinotinto” - The Red Wine. Arepas are a bread like product made of corn flour. Bread and wine have religious connotations as does the power and all-consuming nature of football. The two staples of national identity - Red Wine and Arepas - paired up with the notion that ‘Football is Becoming Venezuela’s Religion.’