Interview with Erik Midander

Today we welcome Erik Midander to TheCrimeHouse! His debut novel Error Message 404 was recently published. Can you please tell us a little about yourself?

Two things have interested me since I was a child: computers and reading. My interest in computers has shaped who I am, which I partly think is because computers were not as common when I grew up as they are today. Having an interest in computers was more unusual then and I think that is why I see myself as a computer person. The fact that I work as a programmer definitely reinforces that image.

Reading has also always been important. I often read to relax, but I also have an active interest in literature, which resulted in my literature studies. Reading is of course also important for my writing – I find it hard to believe that I would be able to write if I did not like to read.

Why did you decide to write a high-tech/YA thriller?

I work as a programmer so it was a natural choice to write a story where computers play a big role. There is also a cliché that says that you should write about things you know about, which I definitely did. At least to some extent, the novel has some science fiction elements that neither I nor anyone else I know has experienced…

Why it turned out to be a novel for young adults is more difficult to explain. One reason is probably that it is so much fun to write for a younger audience, which in turn can be because I read novels targeted to both young adults and adults.

The story line is very high-tech. For example, there is a character who is a movie loving AI (Artificial Intelligence), how much research did you do?

Artificial Intelligence fascinates me, but I am not familiar with the research. When it comes to that I have taken a step away from reality with the hypothesis that real artificial intelligence in many aspects probably resembles human intelligence. When it comes to research in general I have different methods: I use the Internet, of course, but I also visit the library and I prefer not to write about a place that I have not checked out thoroughly in real life.

What readers do you target?

The target group is young adults, but other than that there is no specific target group. A lot of the content is related to computers and Internet, but you do not have to be interested in computers to read it. With that said, everyone has a relationship with computers today, especially young adults! But I think and hope that a reader who has extensive knowledge of computers will discover things that not everyone will and thus get a different experience from the reading.

Are you currently working on another writing project?

I am working on another novel for young adults, but I do not want to give too much away yet! I can tell you that it is not a sequel, but a standalone story, and the greatest similarity to my debut novel is that they are both thrillers set in Stockholm, Sweden. I do not know when it will be finished, but once I have started a project I will usually find time to work on it.

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