If you could describe WRR in three words what would they be?
Chilly. Brooding. Feathers.
Why Scandinavian Noir/Nordic Noir?
-which title/name do you prefer?
Most of my family lives in Norway and Sweden so Scandinavian Noir is something I’ve always been drawn to. I also did my first master’s degree in Scandinavian Literary Studies and my thesis was specifically focused on work vs. family relationships in Scandinavian crime dramas, so it’s a topic I’m really interested in. Likewise, that’s a theme which is very prevalent in Where Ravens Roost and in the follow-up, Last One Alive.
I also love the importance Scandinavian Noir puts on a story’s location. A large amount of detail and attention is invested in the setting. Setting is intricate to most stories, but Scandinavian Noir really pushes it to another level. The settings in that genre take on a persona of their own and become an essential character in the book. The environment permeates the narrative and often adds an extra layer of difficulty for the characters. That’s something which has always fascinated me. I’m really pulled into stories with bleak, dark, and unforgiving environments because of that extra level of tension it gives to the story. It makes the protagonists’ struggle even more challenging when they have to deal with unforgiving surroundings on top of whatever problem they’ve come up against in the plot.
I actually prefer the term Nordic Noir, but I think that comes from my research and experience in academic literary studies where that term is more commonly used. (Also because I’m a sucker for alliteration!) I think nowadays in the general publishing world it’s more appropriate to call it Scandinavian Noir so as to be more inclusive of the different countries. Also because the word ‘nordic’ is more traditionally associated with Norway.
If you could have Fika with any character in the book, who would it be?
If I could have Fika with any character in Where Ravens Roost, it would probably be Esme. She’s the character who’d come up with the most interesting conversation topics. She does a lot of reading up on strange facts and she isn’t afraid to be blunt about her interests and passions. She’s also quite a bit more personable and forthcoming than a lot of the characters in the novel. She has an introverted side that will be explored more as the books go on, but she’s an extroverted introvert. She can be very social when she wants to be. She’s not afraid to speak her mind. And I think she’d have a lot of good stories to tell. There wouldn’t be an awkward lull in the conversation. Kjeld is more the kind of character who you go out for a beer with. Fika usually happens in the first few hours of the work shift and by that point Kjeld would already be fixated on whatever the problem of the day is. So, getting a good conversation out of him that doesn’t involve crime or murder might be difficult. There’s actually a kind of Fika moment in the second novel between Kjeld and his colleagues and he really struggles to keep up with the perfunctory aspect of the conversation. He’s way more internally preoccupied than the other characters, and for very good reasons, but I think that stunts his conversation skills a bit. But at the end of the week and after a few drinks he’d probably be more interesting to talk to. The sequel also introduces a new character, Sixten, and I think he could be fun to have Fika with as well. Mostly because he’d bring the best pastries! (Just don’t ask him to make your coffee for you, because he always gets it wrong.)
What Fika pastry would you pair with your books?
I think Where Ravens Roost would go well with a good old fashioned kanelbulle (cinnamon roll) because it has more of a traditional Swedish feel to it. It also takes place at the start of winter and that’s always nice to enjoy on a cold day. Last One Alive would probably be better paired with a punchrulle or dammsugare (punsch roll) because it has more layers as a story. And some of the turns, like the taste, are more unexpected if you’ve never tried it before.