This weekend I was fortunate to be able to hear Danish crime author, Sara Blaedel, speak about her mysteries featuring detective Louise Rick who, Blaedel calls, 'one tough cookie'. Blaedel is hugely popular in Denmark and she has won numerous awards for her books. Her novels, there are five that have been translated into English, have been published in more than 30 countries.
It's always fascinating listening to writers talk about their books and writing process. Sara really brought her character to life for the audience. You can tell she feels passionate about her writing and about Louise. She has her stories more or less sketched out ahead of time and does quite a lot of research. She knows who the perpetrator is, how the crime will be solved and fleshes the rest of the story out as she writes. It sounds as though she is occasionally inspired by actual events and has used local settings in her books, which of course causes lots of speculation by local residents as to if everything is fiction or not. Sara has worked as a journalist and she builds her characters up around the things she knows. Louise's best friend in the book is a journalist as well, which allows for a different perspective on the crime and another way to tell the story. For Sara, characterization is really important, creating a convincing and believable cast of characters complete with foibles and flaws.
She gave quite a long talk and was really articulate and I am always so impressed by authors who write in other languages but can speak so easily in English about their books. She was also quite gracious about taking questions and expanding on her work and writing process. I asked if her books have been filmed for Danish TV, but she said she was hesitant to let the books be filmed. Not all her books have been published in English (and then they have been published out of order here, too), but they are very popular in Denmark and the rest of Europe, so at this point the series really doesn't need the boost that adapting the books to TV usually offers a newer or less established writer.
Although her newest book is The Killing Forest (while it can be read as a standalone, it works well to have read the book published previously, The Forgotten Girls), I like to read from the beginning of a mystery series if I can, so I asked if she would sign my copy of her first (first translated into English, though it is actually the second Louise Rick mystery), Call Me Princess. Apparently the last two books have Louise Rick changing jobs within the police department, so she sets off down a slightly different path. And I always find it interesting to hear which authors another author likes to read. Sara's favorite crime writers are Michael Connelly and Karin Slaughter. She is a great fan of Harry Bosch and was hugely flattered to hear that Michael Connelly read and enjoyed her books, too. Now I really must get around to reading both Connelly and Slaughter myself!
This was not a good reading weekend for me, so no short story today--maybe during the week. Otherwise it will be back to stories next Sunday.