Interview with Anders de la Motte

It is said that you are a “debutant”…is that really true?

It depends on how you look at it. [geim] is my first published script so in that aspect I am a 100% debutant. I started writing in early 2008 (after some friendly encouragement from my wife). Before [geim], which I wrote in 2009, I had completed two other scripts. None of these were ever published, but the feedback I received was extremely helpful when I started writing what would become the novel [geim].

When I started this story I had a much more structured approach and I tried to identify what type of reading experience I wanted to accomplish, but also what tools I thought would work.

In the gaming world the word “gameplay” is often used to describe a total experience or a positive feeling for a game and my overall goal was for the reader to experience that feeling when the last page was finished.

Among other things I wanted to keep a fast pace throughout the novel (difficult), build an unpredictable story (more difficult) and create an “I don’t want to put this novel down” feeling for the reader (very difficult).

One of my solutions was to work with two main characters with very diverse traits and ways of expressing themselves – another to sometimes shake the story’s premises and create unexpected turns.

I am very satisfied with the result, but in the end it is the readers who will determine if I have succeeded or not.

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How would you describe [geim]?

A fast paced contemporary novel with a lot of pop cultural winks and with a refined and surprising plot.

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How did you come up with the idea for [geim]?

I thought of the main idea when I was on an airplane and looked through the seat pocket in front of me during takeoff (or landing), and I started thinking about what kind of things you could find there.

In my mind it started with a USB drive containing pictures and from there the idea changed to a camera. Eventually the camera turned into a phone that communicates with the finder and invites him to some type of activity.

Phones and games are close to each other so I made that connection fairly quickly.

To make the story easier to tell I moved it to a train and there I had my opening scene.

When I thought of a game I started exploring the many types: mind games, multiplayer gaming, alternate reality games, etc. Since the online gaming world has its own dramaturgy and language, many of the English expressions came from there, e.g. the chapter titles and eventually the title of the novel.

The word game is very grateful since it has so many meanings.

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How would you describe your narrative style?

It is relatively driven with a mix of longer complex sentences and some very short ones. I am attracted by the dynamic between the two styles, as well as by the mix of Swedish and English expressions.

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[geim] is exciting from the first page to the last. Did you have to rewrite a lot to get rid of the slower (read more boring) sections that otherwise often are included?

Thank you, and ha ha…what an original question! You are wondering if [geim] was more boring during the script phase?

Actually several of the sequences I have reworked or added have been of a more narrative nature. Early on I aimed at trying to mimic the dramaturgy of a great video game where there is very little downtime. Instead the player (reader) is thrown between increasingly exciting events leading up to the grand finale.

My publisher and my skilled editor have taught me how balance my writing to some extent, so that the reader will have time to digest everything that is going on and the characters will get a chance to develop.

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Where and how do you prefer to write? (At home? At a café? At an office? With a pen and paper, typewriter or computer?

I actually write better in places where I am forced to concentrate and where my self discipline is not tempted by things such as email, Internet, refrigerators with plenty of food, etc.

Since I travel a lot for work there are many airplanes, airports and hotel rooms, but even when I am home I prefer different cafés or libraries.

I write almost exclusively on my laptop and very rarely using a pen and paper.

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Are you working on anything right now?

Right now I have written about sixty pages of the sequel [bʌz] that will be published next fall and that focuses on how information is circulated on the Internet and the interests that want to control it…

I am also collecting ideas for the third part of the trilogy that will be released in 2012 and has the working title [bʌbl].

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A big thank you and good luck from all of us at TheCrimeHouse!

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Read also:

Linda’s review of [geim]

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