Gav: Thanks for taking the time for answering a few questions on NextRead. European crime is slowly and surely becoming a part of my reading and that’s being reflected on the blog. So I guess I should ask why do you think that the UK is slowly catching up with the rest of Europe and now reading more European crime especially novels set Scandinavia ?
Camilla: I think there are a few excellent Swedish crime writers that have really opened up Europe’s – and now UK’s eyes – for our novels. I believe that Henning Mankell and Stieg Larsson have been in the forefront of this new interest. Also, there seems to be a lot of curiosity for the country Sweden in the rest of Europe.
Gav: What makes Scandinavia such a strong setting for crime stories? I know you’ve set your series around your birthplace, the small Swedish west coast town of Fjällbacka is that because it’s easier to write about home, or is one place as good as another as long as the characters are strong? Or is it something else entirely?
Camilla: I chose Fjällbacka because I once got the advice to chose the place I knew best. And the place where you grew up is always the place you will know best. Also I find a small town much more psychologically interesting than the big city.
Gav: And related to the above have do you think you’ve affected tourism there? I really want to visit just to see how close fact is to fiction. Though I’m worried I might be slightly bored?
Camilla: Fjallbacka is pretty much accurately described and it is really one of the most beautiful places on earth I think. But it is small and if you want a big choice of restaurants, night life etc it’s not the place to go… However if you enjoy nature, and calm, it’s perfect. And there are guided tours around my books now there….:-)
Gav: The Stone-Cutter is your third novel in English in the UK but book eight, Fyrvaktaren, was published last year. Is it strange to see the focus being placed back on your earlier work? Is it weird looking back? Or is exciting to see them getting a new audience?
Camilla: My books are published in over 30 countries now and all are on different stages of which book it is. But it is quite weird to go to another country and for example promote my first book “The Ice-Princess”.
I started writing it ten years ago, and frankly can’t quite remember everything about it so it’s a little bit difficult when I sometimes get detailed questions about it… But I love the fact the books are reaching people all over the world now – from Japan to UK….
Gav: The cover points out that your translator is Steven T Murray, who translates Henning Mankell, Do you have any thoughts on being translated? How important is having the right translator? Does Steven bring a part of himself to your books?
Camilla: For me it’s impossible to judge the translation – most languages I don’t even understand. And I don’t read for example the English translations, so I have to trust the translator. But I have met Steven and talked to him about the books, and I also hear that people think very highly of his translations.
Gav: There is a quite but strong sense of humour to your books. Is it important to have some light in events that are so dark? I know I can’t help smiling every now and again but was it hard to inject those moments?
Camilla: As an author I love contrast. Laughs and sorrow. Good and bad. Fast pace, slow pace. So yes, for me humour is a very important element and it helps highlighting the darker passages.
Gav: Erica has to take a bit of a backseat in The Preacher after being the main focus in The Ice-Queen can you give any clues about what we can expect form other investigations that Erica & Patrick get involved in? Do they spend more time working together? Or does juggling a growing family get in the way?
Camilla: It changes over the books who is the main character, Erica and Patrik, but I actually love that it’s a little bit of an “organic” process to who is the focus. But for me they aren’t two separate entities or two “heroes” – they are a unity to me and my “hero” is actually the couple. Even when one of them plays a stronger part in a book – the other one is an absolute must also.
Gav: Speaking of family. They seem a central part of your stories and you spend a long time exploring the relationships and connections between all the characters. Do all families have their secrets just waiting to get out?
Camilla: Yes I do that all families have secrets, big or small. And for me it is very intriguing that the place where we are most safe or are supposed to be most safe – also is the most dangerous place. Nine out of ten murders are committed by someone close to the victim, often within the family, and I play a lot with that in my books.
Gav: We also get inside the heads of several of the main ones. What do you think their viewpoints adds to the story?
Camilla: For me that is the joy in writing. That I get to explore and develop so many characters. In one section I can be a fifteen year old boy – in another a eighty year old woman. And for each one of them I have to find their unique “voice”.
Gav: Finally, if you were take Patrik and Erica on holiday where would they go and would they have a quiet time or would they get involved in something a little darker?
Camilla: No I would let them have some time off. I think a long weekend in New York is something they would appreciate – or why not London!