Interview – Åsa Schwarz

We welcome the Swedish author Åsa Schwarz to TheCrimeHouse and this interview !

Can you tell us shortly what kind of crime novels you write? (Her latest novel is Nefilimread our review of it here!)
I would say it is a thriller where current realities is mixed with history and religion. A simple way to describe them is that they have similar ingredients like Stieg Larsson, Dan Brown and Stephen King.

What kind of books did you read as a child?
My greatest memories are in this order: Barbapapa´s new House, The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Ring. All together I must have read them hundreds of times. The first of them is really worn out.

What is the biggest reason to why you became a crime novelist?

I worked too much and decided that I needed a Hobby. So I signed up for a writing course. I still remember that the wednesday evenings that I spent there were the highlight of the week. Then the Hobby took over my life.

How much of you is there in the character Nova from the book Nefilim?

I think she has a fantastic taste in music, We are both people who needs independence. Apart from that we are not that alike.

Why have you chosen to use companies that exist and name them by their real names in your books?

I use real names in general to help the reader to get a sense that this is for real. The story is right here right now. When it comes to companies like Vattenfall (A big electricity company in Sweden) , it is because I am genuinely upset with and concern about how they behave and act. I want to supply information and facts that we otherwise never hear or see. My books are built on months of research.

I can see several books, authors, movies and characters that have inspired you Book Nefilim. What do you think about that and can you name some of your sources of inspiration for the book?

No, I think you are wrong there. I know that my books are very similar to some other books that are very popular now. I believe that is because I like to write about things that just happened to be bestsellers now. Lisbeth Salander did not inspire me to write the character Nova, even if many thinks that. I did not have thought in my mind of her when I wrote about Nova since I had not even read the books at the time. I was just very fortunate to write about things that are “inn” to read right now. I get my inspiration from Patrick Süskind, Stephen King, John Ajvide Lindqvist and some of the great authors like Strindberg and Alexander Dumas. When it comes to movies, I like action movies like Terminator and most movies made by Tarantino.

I am always curios on what it looks like when authors write. Is it messy? Do you have any special rituals? Do you you a stationary computer or a laptop? Do you use an office or do you sit at home by the couch etc.
I rent an office space at Horntulls where ten musicians, journalists, photographers and other freelancer sits. I go there daily, partly to concentrate and focus, partly to get nice working colleagues that I can eat lunch with. Everything is really undramatic. I poor myself a cup of coffee and start to write. If it is messy? Yes, my space is not the cleanest of them all. I always have a laptop in my bag since I need to be mobile and connected at all times. The Laptop goes from home to my office, to a location I have picked to use in my books, or just where I happens to be at the time.

Can you list your top 3 favourite Swedish crime novels as well as three foreign authors you think our readers should read.

The Darkest Room, Johan Theorin
Most of the books written by Håkan Nesser
Another Time, another Life, Leif GW Persson

Foreign books:
Panic, Jeff Abbott
The Parfume, Patrick Süskind
The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexander Dumas

When will you finish the next book about Nova?
It will be published in Swedish spring 2011

The character Nova exists as a person on Facebook. Did you realize the effects this PR-trick would have?

No, but it was fun with all the positive reactions and all friends Nova got on the site. To me it was very unexpected and some persons got upset that she did not really exist. Because I also work wit Internet security I think that reaction is both dangerous and alarming. Next time it is a pedophile or a con artist who is behind the wheels. I pu way too much time on Nova on Facebook but that´s because it is so much fun. Right now she lives an ordinary life until the next book will be finished. Many publishing companies and readers from other countries  have added her as a friend. Mostly people in the industry that knows Swedish but also marketers.

If you could make a movie out of Nefilim. Who would you like to direct, play Nova and who would make the Soundtrack?
If I could dream freely i would pick Tarantino, some unknown but talented actress and Trent Reznor. One of the most important parts of the books contains a song by Trent.

What crime series do you watch on TV and can you give us a tip of a really great crime movie?

Unfortunately I have not had any time to go to the movies or even watch TV the last two years after I became a mother. Before I was often stuck by Medium and NCIS. That is not a recommendation. It is rather a fact that it is easy to chill while watching them.

How would you rank these ingredients in a book if you had to?
Good story, thrilling, Great characters, Clear ideology, Great language, something else
1. Good story
2. thrilling (if it is a crime novel)
3. Great characters
4. Great language
5. Thorough research so that the reader learn something while reading
6. Spectacular milieu descriptions
7. Clear Ideology

What are you reading right now?
A script that a friend have written and who is not published yet. I recently finished Något i din säng by Andreas Roman. It is a psychological horror novel that is about a woman who is very successful on the surface. Inside she is lonely, miserable and have invented an imaginary friend. But when she decides to stop her mind games the friend will not have it. I can recommends that you read it by the fire with the lights out.

Thank you Åsa for this interview!
For more info visit

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