Saturday, May 26, 2012

Guest Author and Book Trailer: Jan Wallentin

I’m not much of a writer, actually. 

About four years ago I was working as a journalist, and Strindberg’s star started out as something of a hobby. The basic idea was to try to create an irresistible story of suspense without resorting to depictions of grim (and often extremely boring) violence. Instead I wanted to rely on the element of unpredictability, to take the reader by surprise (if you will).

Strindberg’s Star would take off as your usual who-done-it, typical crime-story with all the common ingredients. After about 80 pages the genre would suddenly switch to a Hitchcock thriller, then to a surreal roller-coaster adventure, and after that the storyline would continue to twist and turn. The reader would have to keep on reading simply because there would be no way for him or her to outguess the direction of the ride! 

I thought this idea was pretty good and as a result the first draft of Strindberg’s Star was written during a fit of inspiration (and haste) in the summer of 2008. It was about 250 pages long, and contained all the essentials of the book that exists today: cave-diving, the Arctic expedition of 1897, the gates of the underworld, the exploration of the Nazi occult and so on. 

When I finished I concluded: “Whatever are those lazy authors complaining about? I could write ten novels a year without any problem, and have time for a vacation as well!”

In the fall I sent this extremely unpolished draft to a number of Swedish publishing companies with great expectations, and as time passed by without any response, I got—yes—rather depressed.

The next spring, however, it was accepted, with one minor clause: I had to rewrite the entire novel from the first page, first paragraph, and first sentence. It was going to become a completely different book—the same story but half the tempo, half the action, and twice as long.

After that I researched and wrote intensely for about two years, almost managing to wreck my marriage (and both my and my wife’s mental health). But of course it ended happily and I’m very pleased with the novel that exists as a result.

At this time, Strindberg’s Star has been published in about a dozen different languages, with editions still being printed in far away places like China and Brazil. I truly have no idea how it all got to this point, but I do hope you’ll enjoy the book if you decide to read it!


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