Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Nick Cave as a character

There was no question. I was going to see him no matter what. Nick Cave was doing a reading of his novel The Death of Bunny Munro and was being interviewed by Will Self at the Old Market in Hove. The event was sold out. I didn't care. I went to the Old Market and put myself in the queue and asked if there were any spare tickets. The bouncer told me to speak to the Box Office. There were already two other people waiting for returned tickets. It didn't look hopeful, but then all of a sudden three tickets literally appeared from thin air and we were let in! And a free glass of wine was included in the ticket. I downed it quite quickly as I felt nervous as a giggling teenager. I was going to see Nick Cave. In real life. Not many people know that for the past three years Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds is almost the only music I've listened to ...

What even less people know is that Nick Cave appears in a chapter of Replacing Angel (my novel in progress). When the audience were allowed to ask questions I asked how Nick would feel if somebody used him as a character in a novel. He wasn't that bothered as he'd read so much about himself on the net and in magazines anyway.

Afterwards I queued up to get my copy of Bunny Munro signed. Then I asked again, more specifically, if he would mind if I used him as a character in my novel. He said it was fine as long as I gave him a bit more hair ...

I'm still in exstacy. It's scary that I'm 27 years old and am still into this whole hero worshiping thing. Last time I felt like this was when I hugged Scott Weiland from Stone Temple Pilots when Velvet Revolver played the Brighton Centre in March 2008.

This is not the end. I'm going to see Nick Cave again. In London. On his official Bunny Munro tour. But believe me, it's not so much him as person as his lyrics that really get to me. Now I'm going to find out if he's a good novelist as well ... And I'm still hoping to see him walk down my street as he lives in Hove!

Danish Praise and New Poem

I've had my first review for the Danish edition of Punkindustriell hårdrockare med attityd. It was positive all the way through, the reviewer said that even if the story takes place in Sweden ten years ago Danish people will be able to identify with the insecurity of being a teenager etc. So if Danish people can do it I'm sure British people can too!

I'm still waiting for feedback on the 3rd draft of Replacing Angel, so have worked a bit on my poetry instead. It's great being back in Brighton. I never get anything done staying with my parents ... However the whole trip energized me and I've found the creative passion I somehow lacked before I went ...

CLICK HERE TO READ "She's on her way away"

Monday, 28 September 2009

Book fair in Gothenburg

My last stop of my Sweden trip was Gothenburg. It was the third time I took part in the international book fair which is a big party for all book lovers. It's quite hard to be seen among so many writers and so many books, but with my feather boa I attracted some attention and quite a few people stopped to have a look at Punkindustriell hårdrockare med attityd and I got to sign some!

I was also invited to take part in a work shop for Young Adults. First I was interviewed and then the teenagers could ask questions and get some advice on their own writing. The best part was to write a poem containing the words "obey", "after" and "salt." Many of the teen poems were better than the poems written by "real" writers.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Superunknown in Denmark

The life of a writer is not always as glamorous as it seems ... I went to Denmark to meet my Danish publisher and that was pretty much it. No crowds waiting, no cameras flashing, nobody in the street stopping me to ask for an autograph ... Not that I'd expected such a big fuss, but one single interview would've been nice ...

But I must admit ... I've never imagined or visualised any success in Denmark, the thing about getting translated to another language just felt like a bonus ... Also I feel a bit left out as I don't know the language. In Sweden I made a lot of effort myself. First of all I organised a big launch party. Then I phoned loads of newspapers and magazines and asked them to interview me or to review my book. It worked. I even ended up on TV twice ... I also contacted schools and libraries and invited myself to do talks ... It really paid off as newspapers, schools and libraries now contact me instead of the other way around ... And half of the work was believing in it, visualsing interviews etc. etc. I haven't made any effort at all when it comes to Denmark. Mostly because I've been busy with my English novel and living in the U.K. So after all I was quite happy just to sit on the train back with my 15 free copies of Punkindustriel heavyrocker med attitude as the book is called in Danish.

I've also realised the importance of friends and networks. In Sweden and in the U.K. I know hundreds and hundreds of people through school, jobs, courses, parties, friends etc. In Denmark I don't know one single person apart from my publisher and some non-blood relatives that I'm not even friends with on Facebook ...

Well, time hasn't run out yet. The book won't actually be launched until the 29th of Sep. And reviews can turn up in papers up to 6 months after the launch itself. I'm also hoping that the title and cover will attract some attention without me having to market it like mad ... (Of course my publisher is doing some work, but it doesn't have the same effect as when the writer is there to help out.)

Friday, 18 September 2009

When dreams come true

In 2006 I did the self-study course The Artist's Way. One of the tasks was to visualise your dream and then make a collage of that dream. At the time I had not yet sent off the manuscript of my novel to publishers. My dream was to walk into the famous paperback shop at Stockholm Central Station and see my book, Punkindustriell hårdrockare med attityd, on the shelf. (The figure in the middle of the collage is actually me.) In addition to this I'd be wearing a big backpack and a laptop, on my way back from some big adventure ... (At the time I didn't know I was going to Thailand for 5 months and I didn't own a laptop.)

In 2009 (exactly a week ago) on my way back from a successful summer in England (and before that my trip to New Zealand) with backpack on my back and laptop in my hand I walked into the paperback shop at Stockholm Central Station and found my book on the shelf ...

It was a magical moment. It made me tearful. I walked into the exact picture that I'd visualised.

When I told my family they sort of laughed and said "how come you're so weird?" For me this is just evidence of the law of attraction and that you get more of what you focus on in life. If you want your dreams to come true you have to believe that they can come true and do a lot of mental work as well as REAL work ...

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Talking to Teenagers

Two years has passed since Punkindustriell hårdrockare med attityd was first published in Sweden. I’m very happy that my novel is still popular and that I get invitations to visit schools to talk about my book and my writing.

On Tuesday I went to Tranås and spoke in front of a big crowd of 16-year olds who had a whole day set aside for topics like health, sex and study skills. I talked about identity which is a big issue in my debut novel. How important it is to know yourself when it comes to dealing with sexual relationships. There are a lot of assumptions depending on your identity. E.g. if you are a Christian some people expect you to wait with sex until after marriage, but if you’re popular girl wearing a short skirt a lot of people think you’re willing to have sex all the time. I know this is a very black and white way of thinking, but when you’re young the world is far from grey ... And there’s some kind of security in the way we label people and put them in boxes.

What I’m trying to tell (note, not teach!) the teenagers is that the most important thing is to find out what you want for yourself, before listening to anybody else. And once you’ve found out what you want (or don’t want) you have to make sure you have good arguments for your way of thinking or acting. E.g. if you want to drink ten beers – fine, as long as you’ve got a good reason for it! Or if you want to remain sober, - fine, but you need to be able to tell people why! Everybody will show you more respect if you can stand up for your beliefs.

The talk I did the day after, in Uddevalla, was a bit different. The students were a couple of years older, and believe me, it does make a difference when you are a teenager. They were not as restless and didn’t look as uncomfortable as the first lot. Most of the Uddevalla students had read my novel and had prepared very clever questions like: Is Amanda (the main character) really insecure or not? She keeps pointing out that she feels very insecure, but still tries things out like alcohol and sex. Some people who are insecure just keep hiding in a corner for the rest of their lives ...

I think there’s a difference between being insecure and being shy and having low self-esteem. These things are all connected, but I believe that if you want to move on in life you have to try things out even if it can lead to trouble ... More than anything else Amanda is very curious and feels the pressure (both from herself and her peers) to get pissed and lose her virginity. Those things don’t happen if you remain in a corner ... So yes, she’s insecure, but by trying things out she finds out things about herself and slowly builds up her self-esteem ...

Saturday, 12 September 2009

A Red Wedding

.................... On the 9th of the 9th 2009 my best friend Sara got married. To herself. The ceremony took place on Mariaberget in Stockholm. Sara stated that the purpose of the wedding was to celebrate self-esteem and promise yourself to be true to your own ideals and values. The purpose is not to make fun of relationships, but an invitation to make people evaluate their own lives and follow their dreams.

In front of a crowd about twenty people she promised herself to love herself in good times and bad times. She was handed a ring (that cost £3.50) and took the name Starkström. (Strong power). I performed one of my poems, Dear Life, that I wrote years ago. Funnily enough it's on the topic of marrying Life. After the ceremony we had a three course dinner at Restaurant Esperia and a few brave ones carried on to Vampire Lounge for red drinks. (But at the ceremony we toasted in Snakebite.)

Monday, 7 September 2009

Ready to go

No, I'm not going on another backpacking adventure even if I'm using the same bag ...

I'm going on another kind of adventure
- in fact many adventures over a course of three weeks:

*My best friend's wedding in Stockholm (She's getting married to herself, will blog more about this later, some people have called it performance art ...)

*A couple of school visits (Tranås, Uddevalla) where I'll talk about my first novel, why and how I wrote it etc.

*My sister's 30th in Malmö/Copenhagen (She's not really my sister, but I wish she was)

*The launch of my first novel Punkindustriell hårdrockare med attityd in Denmark

*The annual book fair in Gothenburg where I'll be doing work shops etc.

I'll be back in Brighton at the end of the month ready to start the 4th draft of Replacing Angel ...

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

My Swedish novel in Danish

Today it arrived.
My own copy.
Of my own book.
In Danish.
I understand most of it.
The official launch date in Denmark is 29 Sep.

It's a surreal feeling.
To hold something you've created in your hands.
It's so surreal I can't be happy.
Well, of course I'm happy,
but I'm not jumping up and down if you know what I mean ...
It's a bit like being in hospital with a baby
before the world has seen it ...
Or it's more like having a child
that has moved abroad ...
Or having a second child
that looks exactly like the first one
but speaks another language ...

If you understand Swedish or Danish or even Norwegian
you can read more about the Danish publication
on the publishers website.