Photographer: Lars Trangius
Sofie Sarenbrant’s third crime novel ”Rest in Peace” was recently published. She has also written “Week 36” (2010) and “Instead of You” (2011).
Sofie, Welcome to TheCrimeHouse!
How did your writing career start? And how did it happen when your first novel ”Week 36” was published?
It all started when I was pregnant and visited Brantevik, where my parents had bought a summer house. I was walking around this idyllic place and thought about what a big responsibility I was carrying. There are a lot of things to think about when you are expecting a child and I was worried something would go wrong. I tried to calm down by thinking: What is the worst that could happen? It usually has a calming effect, but this time it had the opposite effect. And there was the beginning of ”Week 36.” But it was not until my second pregnancy that I really started writing the novel. Then it took another hundred rewrites and a few years before a publisher finally accepted it, phew!
How long did it take to finish each novel and how much of that time is research and how much is writing time? (I suspect that your research for “Rest in Peace,” which takes place at a luxury spa must have been tough )
It differs a lot: the second novel took a few months to write, then I spent just as much time editing – I have a very meticulous editor, who has many good comments. I didn’t have to do that much research at Yasuragi (unfortunately!), since I’ve been there so many times I know the place like the back of my hand. I did work a lot with police, physicians, etc. to tie the plot together in a believable way. For “Rest in Peace” it took exactly one year from the idea to having the finished novel in my hand.
You have said that it is necessary to be scared person to think of scary scenarios, is that how you get inspiration for your novels? And how does the story grow from the first idea?
Yes, it’s necessary for me – I’m easily scared and I often fantasize about scary events. But terrible events have also happened to people close to me, among other things a murder of a young woman, who had her whole life in front of her. It has affected me a lot. I have spent countless hours thinking about how her relatives can move on from a thing like that. So I collect impressions from different places. An idea can grow in different ways, but I write down everything that needs to happen, day by day, to whom, why it is important to include it, and how it moves the story forward. A crime novel should be exciting all the way through in my opinion. The best thing is when someone says that they couldn’t put my book down, because that’s exactly how I want it to be when I read a book! I have heard Shining-effects about “Rest in Peace” – I can only say thank you!
You have a blog and you are a diligent Twitter user, how important is it to reach your readers via social media?
It’s probably more important for me than for the readers, because during large chunks of the year I don’t have any co-workers, so I love the contact social media offers. Every positive comment encourages me to continue to write novels!
I follow yours and Camilla Läckberg’s communication on Twitter, how important is the interaction with other authors?
He he, well then you must be educated by now, given the literary level our Twitter communication is kept on… Just kidding, I love Twitter, and it was there I came in contact with Camilla, who later became my mentor. It’s fun to keep in contact with authors, friends and readers. I love the accessibility compared to Facebook, where you have to friend someone first. I have created an author page where you can go and “like” and then get updates. And then I have the private page for people I know.
If (or when) ”Rest in Peace” is adapted into a movie, what actors would you see as the main characters?
I have to give my husband a role, given his performance as a victim in the “Rest in Peace” book trailer. But I think Ola Rapace would be perfect as Peter Berg, and I could see Peder Falk as a potential candidate to play the CEO. But I don’t know who I would want for the role of the police Emma Sköld. A beautiful blonde…
You and your siblings all seem to be very creative, how were you encouraged to be creative when you were growing up?
It was more that we had to think of things to do instead of getting everything presented to us the whole time. And maybe that led to us becoming creative. We grew up on a big farm in the middle of nowhere with lots of things to do for our parents, and they were often busy working. But I also think the creativity is in our genes. My grandfather was a chess master and wrote books on chess, and my parents work in media.
What advice do you have to our readers who are aspiring authors?
Don’t give up, be ridiculously patient, and be prepared to fight! I would probably look for an inspiring writing class, where you get to meet like-minded people, discuss the writing process and get advice.
Are you working on a new project? And if so, can you please tell us a little about it?
I will write a fourth novel, where you get to continue to follow Emma Sköld. But so far I am taking it easy with the planning of the novel, I don’t want to force anything. Right now I am the editor for Amelia Baby, but when the magazine is sent to print in the middle of April I will start writing!
Since you interview people for the Swedish magazine Amelia, I would like to know what question you would ask yourself that no one has asked you yet? And also what would your answer be?
Ha, ha, good question! I would ask how it feels to have a successful, beautiful model sister like Tyra, who is running one of Sweden’s largest blogs – am I not a little jealous of her after all? And the answer would be: Why do you think we went to sibling therapy (yes, we have done that!)? All jokes aside – the answer is no. Even though I also have a blog, it is not my main focus, it lies on my writing career instead. I am so proud and impressed by everything Tyra does and succeeds in. So I see her as a source of inspiration instead!
Many thanks for taking the time to answer our questions and good luck with future projects!
This interview was done in Swedish, and the original interview is available on www.deckarhuset.se