Today we have an interview with Camilla Läckberg. She recently wrote a Storytel Original audiobook named Glacier with author Alexander Karim. The love story follows two strangers who are both kept in strict isolation in their hotel room as a deadly virus sweeps through the world. They break their isolation by mistake and a dizzying, but also life-threatening love blossoms.
Do you always want to become a writer?
Yes, I always wanted to become a writer ever since I was a small child. I made my first book when I was 4 years old. I could not write, so I drew pictures and made my father write the text. It was quite a scary story, it was about Santa Claus killing his wife so I was always been drawn to the morbid in the dark.
How did you got discovered as a writer?
I started writing by taking writing courses. After I finished my manuscript which took me about two years. I have sent my manuscript to three publishing houses. The smallest one responded in five days and said that they wanted to publish it. That is how it started with the second book, I was accepted by the biggest publishing house in Sweden.
Do you have a literary agent?
Yes, I do.
And did he go to the Publisher?
I found the first publisher myself, I got accepted after 5 days. After the book was published I went to the literary agent and said: ”Here is my manuscript and this is the review. I want to reach a big audience. I am very ambitious.” He liked my new manuscript and took it to the new publishing house.
How does your working day look like?
I get my children ready for school. That´s the first thing I have to do in the morning. When they have all left the building, I can start working and I treat it like office hours. I work like four hours: and then I take lunch breaks. When my kids come home from school, it is the end of my working day.
Are there any dislikes of this job ( being a writer)?
Of course, there is often this image of being an author and just sitting there with a cup of tea and having a wonderful time. It´s like any job: sometimes I like it sometimes I hate it. The great thing is that I can work anytime. It´s my passion: and most of the time I love it.
Could you tell us about your educational background?
Yes, I am a business economist. I have a university degree. I have worked in telecommunication for a few years. I was a product manager for a few years. I never forgot my dream of becoming a writer, it was always present with me.
Do you think you need an education to be a writer?
You can absolutely be a writer without an education. But I do think it has been very good for me to have the education I have. That has been very beneficial to me when I started my writing career because it is a creative job. I am a marketeer and a businesswoman.
How long did it take to write your book (months, years, weeks)?
About a year I would say.
What is your schedule like when you’re writing a book?
My schedule is that I do research first for maybe a couple of months. The amount of research I do depends on which book I am writing. I love the research phase. After I gather enough information, I start the writing process.
How do you celebrate when you finish your book?
I usually buy myself a nice bag as a memory because I love bags. Every bag I have bought is connected to one book. The bags are memories for me. My daughters fight over who will inherit which bags.
I usually buy a designer bag as a memory.
Which designer bag is your favorite?
Mulberry Basewater bag.
What can readers learn from your books?
I mostly write to entertain. I have always been very open about that I see myself as an entertainer and I have strong opinions about several things. And my views about nationalism, that is taking over Europe, is something that´s evident in my books. My views of equality of men and women are also things that are very evident in my books. I think if you do take something away more than entertainment is a plus.
How do you develop your plot and characters?
Yes, I usually have a very vague idea of the plot. I usually have a title and an idea of who committed the crime and why. And then I start to develop the characters. I am a very character-driven writer. I put a lot of effort into my characters.
What books do you enjoy reading?
I would say, I read 80 % crime and 20 percent of a mix of everything else: from Chicklit to noble prize winners. My base is crime literature.
An example of which writer and book you like the most.
My absolute favorite book is ‘The secret history by Dona Tartt. A book I wish I have written is Gone Girl by Gillian and Sharp Abjections by her is also brilliant. Gone Girl and Sharp Abjections by Gillian Flynn are also two brilliant books,
Has writing and publishing a book changed the way you see yourself?
Yes, I do think that I have grown into my own skin because when I was working as an economist, I did a good job. I was always a good girl; trying to do a good job and trying to do my best but I always felt uncomfortable in my own skin. I wasn’t at the right place: but when I became a writer that is where all the pieces fell in the right place.
Who has been the biggest supporter of your writing?
The one who inspired me to love books is my father and to love the written word. He died before I became a writer. I can still feel his presence. I can hear how immensely proud he has been.
Most writers struggle with their wages. Is that the case with you as well?
No, I have done very well as a writer. Something I usually find very important to enlighten: when I became a writer I didn´t start for the money because I was doing very well as an economist. I had a good wage and a career. I quitted my day job. The way my career has gone after that and has been a bonus and it has been a surprise for me as well. That is not why I started writing.
How do you promote your books? Do you use social media?
I have been very present on social media. I started with a blog called ‘Crime thriller mommy’ because I just had two small babies. Ever since then, I had a presence on social media. Blogs are not that big anymore but Instagram is. I do many PR tours.
Your book Wings of Silver was released (in the Netherlands) (2020). How did people react to this book?
I think both books have become a huge success and it feels like a lot of girl power. I started this book before the Me Too debate. When the Me Too movement happened, I was like I was right there are angry women out there. So I love the reactions the book has had. It has actually affected women’s lives. I have had many messages from women who have said ‘I have quit my job’, ‘I have had a divorce’ and ‘I should have done it years ago’. That is scary and wonderful at the same time.
Can you tell our readers where you got your inspiration to write this book?
It is from two books. A book by Faye Welldome The Life and Lust of a She Devil. I have always loved and I love the books of Jacy Coldin, Judith. I miss them and I wanted to combine them.
If your book were made into a movie, which actors would play your characters?
Fay books Cathlin and Simone Banks of the Mentalist. I would love to have him. Brad Pitt and George Clooney are always welcome. My door will be open to them.
Are you writing a new book? So yes, which one?
Two weeks ago I published a new book in Sweden. We are just finishing the second book within two weeks. The first book is called Box and just got released. And the next book is called Cult.
Are you married or do you have a relationship? And children?
I have 4 children. I am married to my third husband.
Are you religious? Which religion do you practice?
Yes and no, I have a faith in something that is bigger than us. I don´t believe in the Bible. I think there are some bad things coming out of religion as well. I have grown up with the church but my parents were not religious at all.
Can social media have an impact?
Yes, because one of the reasons I started my blog is I want to be present for my readers. When I grew up authors were very distant.
What´s the last book you have read?
I have only read my manuscript. I just read a book about fasting.
Do you read blogs?
Its not that big in Sweden anymore. I am a bit of a junkie on Instagram.
Do you have tips for new writers?
Yes, I do have a lot of interaction with new writers and they send a lot of questions to me on Instagram. I mean a lot of them don´t realize that being a writer is 90 percent about getting your butt on the chair. They are waiting for the book to be written without writing it. Waiting for the perfect opportunity to appear. I always tell them: start with the first page, glue your but to the chair, and just start writing, don´t overthink it.