International Dagger Chair Janet Laurence interviewed Anders Roslund (AR) and Borge Hellstrom (BH) on the final day of CrimeFest. They had been on panels individually but I think this was the first time the pair spoke together.
Roslund-Hellstrom won the International Dagger last year for Three Seconds which had me gripped. Three Seconds is the fifth book in the series whereas the current release, Cell 8 which covers capital punishment in America, is the third. The next book in English will be Two Soldiers which is the sixth and is I understand out in English later this year.
Here are my notes from the interview:
The pair first met over phone. Apparently AR talks and talks and talks when trying to be convincing and all BH wanted was for him to shut up - "he was exhausting"!
BH doesn't drink, AR drinks much less now spending so much time with BH. Both know a lot about crime.They made a tv documentary but "tv is like writing in sand" doesn't stay in the memory so decided to write. They got rid of their first names, to form new name. They do not discuss in public who does what.
They realise they have a process: first part is 8 months to a year of research and getting people to talk to you - build up trust, the second is plotting and arguing (BH), the final part is the writing.
From the beginning they had a couple of issues they wanted to cover - for Two Soldiers they had the idea in 2004. However it's all about the story, it's supposed to be entertainment; 50% facts from real lives, other 50% story. They don't want to tell the reader their (ie the authors') opinion but to challenge the reader to make their own mind up.
The Vault is being retranslated as the first translation was a bit harsh - not saying it was bad but the translator and story didn't combine.
However Kari Dickson [who has translated the most recent books] has captured the rhythm.
Shooting begins in autumn on the film version of Three Seconds (I think). BH reported that he received a phone call asking them to extend love story but there is no love story!
Grens (series character) is very special, learned to like him (BH); there are no bad people, no evil, just bad acts.
Three Seconds is banned from Texas prisons in case prisoners get ideas. They are not sure how Cell 8 is doing in the US.
BH: if you show criminals the consequences of their acts it may prevent re-offending but psychopaths cannot be reached. 4/5 of prisoners dependent on some sort of drugs incuding alcohol but authorities deny this, so prisoners cannot feel what they have done clearly, as drugged up.
For the first time in 15 years they are writing their own books for a year. BH is not writing a crime novel.
They've tried to keep it quiet but a percentage of all their books goes to charity.