Märta Holmerin, welcome to TheCrimeHouse!
How would you describe your novels for someone who have never heard about you?
I write suspenseful crime novels with a touch of humor and love and a modern 50s vibe. I focus on finding exciting environments and creating interesting characters. Human relationships and actions are as important as the plot and I like to mix in romance to see what happens.
In the novels we meet the former journalist Julia Nöjd, Chief Inspector Alexander Malmsten, and Julia’s aunt, the chainsmoking criminology professor Margareta Drake.
The second novel in the series about Alex and Julia takes place in a factory in Södertälje and is about power struggles, illusions and deadly mistakes. The first novel takes place on Gotland and is about misunderstandings, betrayals and hidden history. Right now I’m working on the third novel in the series, which also takes place in and around Södertälje.
What do you enjoy most about writing? Figuring out the plot, creating characters and settings, or something different?
I enjoy all of it, so it is difficult to say. But I really enjoy discovering new places and creating on the spot. For me the story begins with the place/environment. Maybe it has a certain smell, it is an exciting, dangerous or beautiful place, which gives me an idea. Often I see an event that has taken place there or a picture of a person. Something that makes me want to include the place in my novel.
Usually a character is also born then. And then the questions: Who? Why? Etc.
That’s probably the most fun that the characters come to life and start telling the story.
I am always curious about writers’ workplaces. What does it look like? Are you working at a desk, at cafees, or at the kitchen table? Is it organized or messy?
I mostly work at home, at my desk or the kitchen table. It is pretty messy, since I need a large area where I spread out the manuscript and post-it notes. When I do research I always carry a notebook so I can write down thoughts and ideas.
What advice do you have for our readers who are aspiring writers?
Read a lot. Both good and not so good novels, different genres, read whatever you feel like. I will read a good book several times – the first time I am just caught up and then I wonder how the writer did it. Then I read again. And again. Every time I reread the novel I will discover new ways to tell a story and learn more about the craft.
Write a lot. Not just now and then, but set aside time for writing, e.g. Saturday morning, or whatever suits you. After a while your brain will learn that it’s time to write at a certain day and time, and it becomes easier.
Set goals. It can be a certain amount of words per week or a date when you will have your first draft done.
When you have finished the manuscript, ask experienced readers close to you to read the manuscript. Ask for honest, constructive criticism that helps you find strengths and weaknesses so you can continue your work with the novel. If you don’t know anyone like that you can find an editor.
It takes a lot of will, commitment and time to finish a manuscript. Keep working!
Please list three novels you think our readers should read (in addition to your own).
What I read varies greatly – novels about relationships, thrillers, non-fiction, crime fiction (mainly traditional whodunits), so that is hard, but here goes:
Classic whodunit: ”And Then There Were None” by Agatha Christie
Action and suspense: Lee Child’s novels about Jack Reacher, e.g. ”The Affair”
Psychological thriller: ”Misery” by Stephen King
A big thank you to Märta for answering our questions!