Interview mam Mats Strandberg

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Can you tell us a bit more about how you became a writer?
I always wanted to be a writer. But it often seemed like an impossible dream. When I was 16, I wrote my first novel. It actually almost got published, but today I am really happy it didn’t. It was just a mix of everything I loved at the time. I copied Stephen King, Virginia Andrews, Bret Easton Ellis and Donna Tartt…. So I’m glad that, in the end, the publishers rejected the script. Not only because it was a terrible book, but I also would have been insufferable if I was a published author when I was 16. I wrote other books and got rejected again. I just keep trying.

Was it difficult for the first book to find a publisher?
No, that time I got a contract immediately. I had become a better writer by then, and I had grown as a person. I hade more life experience. But most importantly, I was more interested in telling stories than in “being a writer”, if you know what I mean.

Could you describe literature in three words?
Just one: Magic.

Is there a book you would never read? Why?
I don’t know. But I never finish a book if I don’t enjoy it after 50 pages. Because life is too short for books that don’t add value to your life.

What’s your favorite book?
It’s impossible to name one.

Favorite quote?
The opening of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House.

What inspires you?
Everything. Other books of course, and movies and tv shows. Sometimes bad movies are the most inspiring, because they make you think of how you would have told the story instead. I’m also inspired by art, or talks with my friends. And music. I often make playlists on Spotify for my characters before I start writing. Here is, for instance, the playlist I made with music I think that Nina and Joel in Das Heim listened to when they were young in the 1990s:

Imagine you were given the opportunity to meet a book character in real life. Who would that be?
Hmmm, that’s a really good question. The characters I love the most are often the most broken, and fucked-up, and I don’t know if I would actually like to meet them, haha. Can I say Jesus from the Bible?

Please explain.
Well, I would love to hear what he actually thinks of the Bible and today’s Christians. Does he feel misunderstood in any way?

What’s your worst nightmare?
That something terrible will happen to my family and friends. I’m not so much afraid of my own death, I’m afraid of losing loved ones.

The best decision of your life was?
When I decided to give up a job I hated and dare to start freelancing as a journalist. That opened up a new life for me, full of inspiration. It also gave me so much more time, that I could spend writing what would become my first published novel.

I can’t wait to read your next book. Are you currently working on a project? Is there any release date to reveal?
Thank you! My latest YA book The End has just been published here in Sweden, and rights have been sold to Germany as well! It’s about the final weeks before a comet hits Earth and kills everyone, haha. Now I am working on a graphic novel with comic book artist Henrik Jonsson, a book project with Swedish author Jenny Jägerfeld, the movie script for Das Heim, and a children’s book. Next year, I’ll start working on my next horror novel. I have a great idea. Now I just have to come up with the characters…. time to make new playlists!

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