All my friends who wanted to write had got nowhere trying to write the great European novel. So I deliberately steered clear of that and set out to write something story-led.
Crime fiction is a genre for writing stories about people - about conflict, about guilt, about passion, about the human condition.
Normally I start with a plot, and write a synopsis, and the ideas come from the construction.
My influence is probably more from American crime writers than any Europeans. And I hardly read any Scandinavian crime before I started writing myself. I wasn't a great crime reader to begin with.
Ever since I was in my teens I had plans at one point in my life to write a novel.
I tell myself I write because I want to say something true and original about the nature of evil. That is very ambitious - to say something about the human condition that hasn't been written before. Probably I will never succeed but that is what I strive to do.
They say that every writer, they write about himself, and I think that to a certain extent that is true. But also we are creators of fiction.
I write something that I believe I've made up, and it's only when a friend later points it out to me that I realise I've been writing about myself again.
For me, the best places to write are on planes, trains and at airports. Not hotel rooms but hotel lobbies. I'm really happy when I'm waiting for a plane and the message comes that it's three hours late. Great, I'll get to write!
Thanks to the success of Henning Mankell and Peter Hoeg, there wasn't the same stigma attached to writing genre thrillers in Scandinavia as there was in many other cultures. Quite the opposite, in fact.
I don't have any writing routine. Sometimes I go to my local coffee shop and I write there for some hours. Apart from that, I am traveling most of the time. I write in airports, trains, hotel rooms... I can write anywhere.
The only pressure I feel is to write good books. And to not replicate the previous book. Whether you have a thousand readers or a million readers it doesn't change the pressure. I never feel tempted to give the reader what I think the reader wants.
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