Lucky 13 Interview

1. Can you start by telling us a little about your current book?

Embers is a YA Mystery and crime novel set in the fictional mining town of Svartjokk in northern Sweden. It tells the story of 17-year-old Ellen Blind, who travels to Svartjokk with her brother Simon, a 14-year-old with Aspergers. They’re on a holiday arranged by their parents, who claim that the siblings should bond, visit the birthplace of their late grandfather, Lars-Erik, and discover their Sami roots. Ellen, though, knows that her parents also want them out of the way so they can sort out their marital problems. The holiday turns upside down when the siblings discover reindeer heads in the forest. Simon’s findings at the scene suggest the reindeer have been poisoned, and he suspects people in the town. Frustrated with the police’s lack of interest, he is determined to solve the case himself. The siblings’ investigation takes them to the local Sami village and the owner of the dead reindeer, Per-Anders Thomasson. It turns out that Per-Anders knows far more about Lars-Erik’s past than the siblings did. The more they learn, the more Ellen suspects that the reindeer killing is somehow connected to their grandfather and the reason he left his home-town and the Sami community behind. As Ellen and Simon are to discover, embers of the past rarely burn out.

2. Are you a plotter or a panster?

A bit of both! I do plan out the skeleton of the plot and basic character profiles, and also make a lot of notes on chapters and scenes as I go along, but often find I learn new things about my characters as I write, and figure out the next points of action as I write. The story kind of unfolds itself during the writing process, and it’s very difficult to predict how it will unfold before you start.

3. Savoury or sweet!

Sweet! Dark chocolate is my weakness!

4. Three books to a desert island. Go!

The Old Man and the Sea – Earnest Hemingway (One of my favourite books)

Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe (Have never read it, but can’t think of a more ideal location to do so!)

Life of Pi – Yann Martel (Another favourite, and again, a perfect book to get lost in on a desert island)

5. Star Wars or Star Trek?

I’ve never seen either of them, but would probably go with Star Wars.

6. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

Spirit walking into another animal/ being in an animal’s mind. This was always the superpower I was most excited about when reading fantasy novels as a kid.

7. Music or Silence when writing?

Silence if I’m writing in the morning/weekend. Ambient, nordic background music if I’m writing in the evening – it keeps me motivated and awake.

8. If you could live anywhere in the world, and take everything that you love with you, where would you choose?

Anywhere with mountains, deep forests and lakes, really, but if I had to be specific: Canada! (Always wanted to go there).

9. Your favourite karaoke song?

I don’t do karaoke.

10. One piece of advice to an aspiring writer?

Ask others to read your work! Even from the first draft! Perfection does not exist, and striving for it before you’re willing to share your story can kill the heart of the work. T

11. You win £1 million, but you must give half of it to charity. Which charity do you chose, and what do you do with the rest of the money?

Charity – Rainforest Alliance. Rainforests are the lungs of our planet and essential if we are to have any remote chance of battling climate change.

The rest of the money, I would use to fund the PhD in creative writing I’m hoping to do next year (though where is yet to be decided) and pay off my study loans. If there’s any left over after that I’ll use it for travel.

12. Horror films, yes or no? if so, any favourites?

No. I’ve just always felt rather icky about that genre. Psychological horror – maybe. The Orphanage (Spanish film) is a good one. (And keeps you on your toes!)

13. What are you currently working on?

My second novel, titled Wolf Hour, which is an adult literary thriller set in Sweden. It tells the story of a hunter, Gustav Khron, who is out on a mission to track down wolf hybrids with his team. The runt of the litter escapes and is later found rummaging through his rubbish bin outside his house. Out of compassion, seeing what a weak state it’s in, he takes it in, with the aim of releasing it into the wild conceits recovered strength – thereby effectively breaking the law. Matters soon get complicated, though. He discovers that the wolf hybrids are linked to a local drug network and the illegal production of moonshine – in which his own uncle, Roland, is implicated. When Roland’s body is discovered in a mire, Gustav finds himself knee-deep in a murder investigation in which he himself becomes a suspect. In all of this, the wolf-hybrid becomes an unlikely ally, and Gustav soon realises that the cause behind all these events may lie a lot closer to heart than he expected.