Thursday, May 10, 2007

a little q+a with Swedish writer Helene Tursten

I met Helene Tursten (another Soho author) and bestseller in Sweden in Los Angeles. We were on a panel at the Swedish consulate somewhere overlooking the Pacific ocean along with Swedish crime writers Inger Frimansson, Kjell Ericksson and Hakan Nesser. I love Helene's series with Detective Inspector Huss and asked her some questions.

Q - The murder in the 1980's of a Swedish minister and more recently the murder of Anna Lind, a member of Parliament, has brought attention to the world that Sweden is more than the land of the Nobel Prize...did these or other events prompt you to write crime novels? Did you think crime fiction was a way to explore the changing society in Sweden?

A - I can truely say that the murders above did not promt me to start writing. It was more my intention to tell a really good story and show the effects of the changing society in Sweden. I´m very much of a story-teller and my stories takes place in todays Swedish society.

Q - I love that your protagonist is married, has a family life and a husband who cooks. Who's the inspiration for your protagonist Detective Inspector Huss? Is it true you were a policewoman...and are now a dentist?

A - I´m not an ex-policewoman. I´m a registered nurse and also a qualified dentist. My husband was a policeman for six years, before he started to study and become a dentist. We met at the university when we both started at the dentistry school.
My inspiration for Irene Huss were all the real female policewomen that I had met, thanks to my husband. They where all "normal"; they had families and normal social lifes.

Q- Does your husband cook?

A - No. That´s me.

Q - I hear that your novels will be filmed for tv and a movie. Did you get to consult and advise on the filming?

A - Yes, I have worked as an editor of the scripts. But I told the scriptwriters that they could use me as a resource and not look at me as a threat. They didn´t have to change in the scripts as I thought they should. It was up to them to decide. And we have cooperated very well!

Q - Can you describe Detective Inspector Huss in a few short sentences?

A - She is intelligent, has good intuition but is not intellectual. Her whole life is her work, her family and her training. She has no time for other things.

Q - What's she investigating next?

A - No idea! Do you have any good ones to spare?

Q - Who influenced your writing?

A - I really try to write as "myself". It´s important that a writer has his or her own voice. But I like the AngloSaxon writers: PD James, Ruth Randell, Ian Rankin, Val MCDermid, Denise Mina, Michael Conelly, Dennis Lehane, Elisabeth George (but her books really are a bit too long!). I think that my books suits the American readers, because they are not "slow" as other Scandinavian crimenovels tends to be.


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