Tell us about your books.
My novels are a series of crime fiction novels that are set in my adopted home town Sydney. My main character – Detective Sergeant Morgan Callaghan – has a chaotic home life, and he doesn’t always get along with his colleagues, but he’s very good at his job. In the first novel in this series ‘GAME’; Sydney is hosting the FIFA soccer World Cup in a few weeks’ time, when three dead women are found in different public places around the city. DS Morgan Callaghan is assigned to lead the murder investigations; and he’s under pressure from the FIFA committee and his superiors to find the killer before more murders are committed, and tourists and media from all over the world descend on Sydney to see the soccer World Cup games. Meanwhile; Morgan’s mother is dying, and his family is less than understanding of the time that Morgan has to spend at work. When Morgan’s girlfriend Lisa disappears, he knows his work and personal life has merged and sunk into a depth he can’t get out of – and he finds himself in a darkness he’s never experienced before…
How did you come up with the title of your book?
When the word GAME came to me, it stuck; as it represents many things in the book: the games of the FIFA soccer World Cup, the cat-and-mouse game the killer plays with the police – and the word ‘game’ as in someone being hunted also refers to the victims of the killer.
How long have you been writing?
I started writing poetry and short stories when I was eight years old, and I started writing novels when I was nineteen years old – but by then I had started backpacking around the world, and I left many unfinished manuscripts in my wake… It wasn’t until I had settled in Australia that I finished writing a crime fiction novel – a novel that was published in Sweden, by a Swedish publisher, year 2002.
What makes your book stand out from the crowd?
I am a Swedish author living in Australia, and I write novels set in my current home town Sydney. I grew up in Sweden – reading Swedish crime fiction novels and watching Swedish crime fiction movies – and I still carry within me everything I grew up with in my home country; and this, married with all my travels and my experiences of living in Australia lends something to my writing style that no other writer has. Plus, I write my novels in both English and Swedish; as I prefer to ‘own’ the words of both language editions – other people have other ideas about which words to choose, and I have read many Swedish novels translated into English which did not sound like the Swedish editions at all and it felt like the authors’ voices were lost in the translators’ voices. What also helps to make my work stand out – is that the Swedish language edition of ‘GAME’ has been # 1 Best Seller on Amazon twice!
What real-life inspirations did you draw from for the world-building within your books?
I am a victim of crime: during the six years that I spent backpacking all over the world by myself, I encountered many people and I found myself in many different situations. But the one situation that triggered my need to write about murderers and violent crimes; is the time I was alone on a beach in Perth (in Western Australia) and a guy put a gun to my head… I was very lucky to get away and police later told me they were looking for this guy, according to my description, as he and another man were suspects in a string of rapes in the area. A few years later, I heard on the news that young women had started disappearing in this same area, and their bodies were later found in shallow graves… The thought of what could have happened to me that day still sends shivers down my spine.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I mainly read about serial killers and the psychology behind how they think and operate. I also research real life crimes and police procedures, as well as forensic data. Other research is more based on inspiration; such as real life places around Sydney – where I place my characters and events in my books.
How do you develop your plots and characters?
I use a lot of my life experiences in my writing, as well as memories of people I’ve encountered: everything I know is mixed up and made up into other things and characters in my novels. Plots grow in the back of my mind constantly when I’m in the writing process, and I make notes of all my ideas – notes that I use when I sit down to write. I am also an artist – I’m a graduate of Stockholm School of Arts – and I find it very useful to paint portraits of my characters; in this way I can look at them and they become more real in my mind.
What do you think most characterizes your writing?
My upbringing and life in Sweden (I lived there until I was 24 years old), plus my world-wide travels, plus my life in Australia – have all brought me many experiences that I use in my writing. But in the end; I’m Swedish and I think this shines through in the way I write. Us Swedes tend to be quite melancholic and see the world in a darker way – perhaps it’s the long, dark winters that colour our perceptions of life… I’m not sure. Either way, these perceptions comes handy when writing about such dark subjects as murder and crime.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
When my first book was published in Sweden, the publisher edited my book – and I was not completely happy with the language that was used in the end result; as it didn’t sound like me… As an artist, I was not used to having my work scrutinized and changed. This experience taught me that my writing did not entirely belong to me – and it scared me. Now that I have self published books, I have learned all about the publishing process and if I had to say which method I prefer now, I would say that I prefer to have a traditional publisher publish my books – for in the end, I’ve had to hire an editor to edit my writing and most of my time now is spent on other things than writing; so paradoxically I have drawn the conclusion that working with a publisher gives me the most freedom to do what I do best: write books!
If your novel was made into a movie, who would you pick to play the lead role?
I loosely based the portrait I painted of DS Morgan Callaghan on (Australian actor) Ben Mendelsohn – so it’s an easy choice for me!
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