Interview with Mons Kallentoft & Anna Karolina

We are delighted to welcome Mons Kallentoft and Anna Karolina to TheCrimeHouse. Their novel ”Falco”, the 5th novel in the Hercules series, was recently published in Sweden.


Photo: Thorn Ullgren

Mons: You co-wrote the Hercules series with Markus Lutteman before, but now he’s focusing on his own projects. How come you wanted to share the writing of the Hercules series? And how come you wanted to work with Anna?

I’m very much a loner. I had written several, successful novels, but wanted to keep evolving. So I wanted to open up my creative process, throw out everything I took for granted, and cooperate.

I was happy when Anna wanted to work together. She is a complete author. Plot, character, style. She knows it all. And she’s a former policewoman which gives a nice authenticity to Falco.

Now that we have worked on this book I know that she has a sense of humor. And seems to understand mine, which is quite unusual…


What are you reading right now?

Anna: Innan snön faller by Helena Kubicek Boye (Swedish novel)
Mons: The Second Girl by David Swinson


Anna: When Mons asked you to work together, what was your first thought?

This could be awesome!


Hercules is known for his twelve heroic labors and the novels are loosely based on these. Is the plan to write twelve novels?

The plan is twelve novels, one for every labor. After that there may be more. Who knows? Hercules myth lived on after his heroic labors.


Mons: You have a strong interest in food. At TheCrimeHouse we like to post recipes that are fitting for a novel/author. Is there are dish that would be fitting for the Hercules series?

A long time ago in France they ate entrecôte with oysters. This dish fits the Hercules series and Zack. Potent and forceful, but also sensual, and elegant.

TheCrimeHouse’s comment: We’ll see if we can find a good recipe to share.


Do you have a personal favorite character in the Falco novel?

Anna: Ester – she’s in that teenage phase where the hormones go crazy.
Mons: Rudolf – it’s fun to make a character like that work. Blind oracles tend to be cheesy…


Anna: You’re a policewoman, so honestly, how much does the novel remind you of reality?

It reminds me a lot of reality, behind the scenes things happen that people – including the police – doesn’t know about. Then we always prioritize suspense over facts – we are writing fiction after all.


Mons: You spend a lot of time abroad, do you read a lot of foreign crime fiction? Is there a crime writer you think should be translated into Swedish?

David Swinson is awesome and should be translated. He is an old homicide investigator in Washington and writes with a great feeling. I almost only read foreign crime fiction since they inspire me more.


What do your bookshelves look like?  

Anna: My books are spread all over the house, a big mess. I don’t own a bookshelf :-0
Mons: I have an office with shelves along the walls. And then there are books all over the apartment.


Please list your three favorites: crime novels, crime writers, crime series and crime movies.

Anna: Wow, that’s difficult. My spontaneous answers:
Novels and writers: Prince of Thieves by Chuck Hogan, Ghostman by Roger Hobbs, Easy Money by Jens Lapidus.
Movies: The Town, Point Break, Silence of the Lambs
Series: La Casa de Papel, The Americans, Breaking Bad

Novels: The Black Dahlia, Devil in a Blue Dress, The Big Sleep
Movies: French Connection 1 and 2, Copolla’s The Conversation, and The Asphalt Jungle by John Huston.
Series: The Sopranos, The Wire, Breaking Bad


What do you want the reader to get out of reading Falco? (Except a pleasant reading experience of course)

Anna: Look around: who around you is being radicalized right now?
Mons: I agree with Anna. And you’re supposed to be sweaty from the suspense!


You write in the hardboiled genre, what is it that you like about it?

Anna: The language and the jargon are closest to the environment I have worked in, so it came naturally. And the genre includes characters who get personally involved in crimes. They’re not divided into good and evil in the same extent as in the classic novel, here those attributes are present in the same person. It gives a more nuanced picture of the person, and I love to read and write about complex people.

Mons: All art, including the art of the novel, is poetry and construction in unison. I could write about anything, in any form. But it may be boring, so violence and sex and a clear structure suits me better, since I like to have readers.


Mons: When will the next novel about Malin Fors be published (in Sweden)? And what sense will be its focus?

It will be published this fall, in October, and it’s about hearing. A little boy is forgotten in a locked car on a hot summer’s day and no one can hear him scream…


Anna: What’s your next personal book project?

I’m working on the sixth novel in the Hercules series, so my own book projects will be sometime in the future.


Shortly describe where the will to write comes from?

Anna: When the ”perfect story” pops up in my head that’s a euphoric feeling – hopefully it stays with me as I’m working.

Mons: For me it’s 0% about lust. I’m an author, artist. This is my life. I write every day, regardless of how I feel. Lust is for amateurs who don’t understand what commitment it is to be an artist. It’s supposed to be painful otherwise it’s not real.


Anna: How was it writing with someone compared to writing on your own?

It has been lovely to bounce ideas with someone who is equally aware of the plot as myself. We can solve any issues together, alone isn’t always strong.


Mons: If the Hercules series becomes a TV series or a movie, who would you like to see portraying Zack?

It would be nice if Thimothée Chalamet could add a hundred pounds of muscles and learn perfect Swedish! He is cool, and he can probably look tough given the chance.

TheCrimeHouse’s comment: I didn’t know who Thimothée Chalamet was so I had to google ad agree with Mons (at least looks-wise), he would be perfect with a few extra pounds!


How worried are you about terror attacks where you live (Malmö and Mallorca) and does it affect your everyday life in any way?

Anna: Terror attacks are always in the back of my mind when I’m in crowds these days. But it doesn’t stop me from doing things.

Mons: I also have it in the back of my mind at all times. Mallorca is an attractive terrorist target, since it would get a lot of attention to hit a vacation spot where people are having a nice time. Unfortunately you think about the risk, which means that they have won a small victory.


How does it work to write together when you live in different places?

Anna: Skype and email solve most things.

Mons: And we get together sometimes. But Skype and email is most important.


Note: This interview has been translated from Swedish.

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