I’m absolutely delighted to welcome Hildur Sif Thorarensen to Linda’s Book Bag today as Hilda originally comes from one of my favourite countries, Iceland and I can’t wait to find out more about her and her book.
Staying in with Hildur Sif Thorarensen
Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Hildur. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.
Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?
I have brought Loner, my first book that just came out in English on Amazon on the 1st of June. It landed on the list of Hot New Scandinavian Crime in week 23 and has been dancing up and down the list ever since, going as high as #2. Every author’s first book is what gives you an experience like no other. You learn about yourself as a writer, about your characters, about how to fit a storyline together and last but not least what it feels like to finish a book.
(And I can imagine that is an incredible feeling Hildur. Congratulations on Loner.)
I’m from Iceland but Loner is set in Norway, as I’ve been living there for a few years now and I’ve come to love the country. Norway is perhaps not so very different from Iceland but there are still subtle differences that I prefer. For one, the weather is better. Secondly, almost all stores are closed on Sundays, giving us the opportunity to spend a day amongst friends and family. My love for the country is not the only reason I chose to set Loner here but also the fact that you can get away with killing more people here than you would in Iceland where we have a maximum of one murder per year.
(I hope you mean metaphorically otherwise I’m going to feel nervous for the rest of the evening!)
What can we expect from an evening in with Loner?
You can expect little sleep. What has been a commonality between all of my readers is that they have a problem putting Loner down, the book grabs you very early on and it holds on tight. It’s not only the compelling plot but also the interesting characters and their interactions. I’ve chosen to take a different route from most of the Scandinavian Noir we’ve grown accustomed too, since I’ve added a pinch of humor to my story. There’s nothing humorous about murder but the interplay of my police officers is more than chuckle worthy.
(I really like the sound of this Hildur – though I’m still a bit wary about the idea of you getting away with murder…)
Loner has only been out for a short while but I’ve already received a wonderful review. As the reviewer points out, “There are certain elements I consider indispensable, such as compelling detectives, preferably with their own interesting idiosyncrasies. This book has that in spades.” I agree with their assessment of crime novels and am highly flattered that my book is ticking those boxes.
(You must be thrilled with that assessment.)
What else have you brought along and why?
I’ve brought Icelandic shark and brennivín which is Iceland’s signature distilled beverage, an unsweetened schnapps. Those two typically go together because they each taste so awful that they even each other out, two minuses make a plus.
(I’m not sure I like your maths there. I might just stick to a cup of tea and a biscuit if you don’t mind!)
In Iceland we also eat something called Svið which is the singed head of a sheep, that is boiled and served with potato and turnip mousse. Being an Icelandic Viking, I like the shark and sheep head and when I was an eight year old savage child, living in Israel, I sent my grandmother a letter requesting a head of sheep as my first meal when I came back home, the eyes being my favorite at the time.
(Er … if I said I was feeling even more nervous now would you believe me?)
I’ve also brought pictures of my friend Geir who’s the reason I wrote this book. Geir is as open minded as they get. He has therefore dated a variety of women like no other. A nun, a karate and jujitsu expert, a hippy living in the wild and one that claimed she was a vampire. The vampire lived in a dungeon in France where she had the heads of dolls in jars as well as snakes in her bed. These stories were what triggered me to write the novel, since I felt the vampire was so extraordinary that she deserved to become a character in a book, but since I made her into a character I found it only fair for Geir to become a part of the novel too so as any good friend would do, I kick off the story by killing him in the first chapter.
(Oh no! Poor Geir. I hope he forgave you. Next time, if I dare ask you back, you’ll have to bring him along!)
Thanks so much for staying in with me and telling me all about Loner, Hildur. It’s been a really
terrifying er, interesting, evening!
Which is worse, trying to catch a cunning killer leaving decapitated women in the woods, or trying to tame an unconventional forensic psychiatrist that seems determined to go his own way?
The Oslo autumn is creeping in with its cold spells and Homicide Detective Julia Ryland is feeling pretty content with her team of three, but when the FBI behavioral analyst, Alexander Smith, is thrust upon her, the crisp autumn air doesn’t feel as refreshing anymore.
A young Icelander is found dead, an arrow piercing his heart and the extensive list of his former lovers suggests that many long nights are ahead. The murdered lothario suddenly becomes the least of their problems as headless corpses start appearing in the woods, positioned in terrifying ways and on their bodies they find messages that don’t seem to have any meaning at all.
Loner is available for purchase here.
About Hildur Sif Thorarensen
Hildur Sif Thorarensen was born in Iceland but is currently living in Norway. Although, spending most of her adult years at the University, she’s been writing ever since she was a little girl and alongside Medical studies and a Master’s in Engineering, has also taken a semester in Creative Writing.
At the age of eight she started a neighborhood paper with her friend which was filled with short stories about the neighborhood, written by Hildur Sif. The girls sold the paper to the people living in their street and used the profits to buy candy, much to their parents chagrin.
Hildur’s way with words later led her into working as a journalist for a newspaper in the Westman Islands. There she was known as the optimistic girl because of her exuberant, cheerful spirit which always seemed to find its way into her work.