Meet Swedish crime queen Camilla Läckberg. Her psychological crime novels have sold over five million copies, and last year she was the sixth best-selling novelist in Europe.
Läckberg grew up in Fjällbacka, on the Swedish West Coast north of Gothenburg, and this is where all her detective stories play out. However, in Läckberg’s books, this scenic holiday spot—on the surface a quiet and beautiful fishing community—is transformed into a place of intrigue, mystery, and murder. We talked to her about inspiration, writing, and West Sweden.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I have wanted to be a writer my whole life, for as long as I can remember. But my career didn’t start until I took a writing course called How to Write Crime. I actually started writing my first book The Ice Princess during that course.
Why crime fiction?
For me, crime fiction has always been the perfect genre. Also, I think I’m a little bit morbid so I’ve had a great interest in the darker sides of human nature ever since I was a child.
What do you think makes a good story?
A good story is character driven. If you don’t care about the characters, you don’t care about the story.
What is the biggest obstacle you face when writing? And what brings you the most joy?
I’m a very lazy person, so for me, having the discipline to write is the hardest. But it’s always worth it when I have these moments where the characters seem to take on lives of their own.
Do you have any little quirks while writing?
I drink huge amounts of coffee! And I always write in front of the television, which my colleagues consider very weird…
Your books are pretty dark; what image of Sweden do you think you convey to your readers?
The rest of the world seems to have this view of Sweden as a perfect society. So I actually think that I just bring a little bit more realism to the picture of Sweden.
What should one make sure not to miss while visiting West Sweden?
Fjällbacka, of course. It’s the most beautiful place in the world—just to take a boat out in the archipelago is a magical adventure. And don’t miss Smögen, Strömstad, Koster, Marstrand . . . oh I could go on forever! All the small towns on the West Coast are magnifique!
(Curious about Läckberg’s Fjällbacka? Now you can visit the place on a guided a tour.)
Camilla Läckberg talks about The Ice Princess:
Win Läckberg’s debut novel The Ice Princess!
[The contest is now closed. Thanks contestants!]
The Ice Princess is the first in the series about Inspector Patrik Hedberg and the writer Erika. We have five copies to give away. To win, answer the question What is the name of Sweden’s first marine national park? Send an email by October 24 to firstname.lastname@example.org with the right answer, your name, and address.