Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Ordinary Women with Extraordinary Jobs: Louise Rick and Sara Blædel

Today I welcome one of my favorite authors, Sara Blaedel. Sarah is the author of the #1 international bestselling series featuring Detective Louise Rick. Her books are published in 23 countries. She lives in Copenhagen. Sara Blaedel is the most popular author in Denmark, literally. She won the Martha Prize – The Readers Favorite Authors Prize – again in 2014, becoming the first Danish author to receive the prize four times. In the summer of 2014, she learned that she had won the Golden Laurel (De Gyldne Laurbær), the most prestigious Danish literary award, which is voted on nationally by Danish booksellers and can only be won once in a lifetime. Collectively, Blaedel’s dark, suspenseful stories reach one fifth of Denmark’s entire population, and her fan base is growing all the time. She is the author of nine bestselling crime fiction novels published in twenty three countries, translated into over thirteen languages, and optioned for film rights. Our local Mystery Readers International group was lucky to host her at a Literary Salon during her last book tour in the U.S. Fascinating!

Sarah Blaedel:
Ordinary Women with Extraordinary Jobs: 
Louise Rick and Sara Blædel

When you write a crime novel series with a recurring protagonist, one of the most frequently asked questions (my favorite one) you get from readers, journalists, and panel participants is: How much of yourself have you worked into your main character? The first time somebody asked me that, I was struck; I realized, that I was not actually aware of how much of myself I’d brought to my portrayal of Louise Rick. I have since gained clarity. After these many years of living and breathing beside the same protagonist – a woman I have invented from my imagination - it is inevitable that she has been heavily influenced by what I carry around, with regard to history, experiences, weaknesses, desires, and fascinations. Louise Rick is not me, and I am not Louise Rick, but we definitely share some common features and interests.

In my latest book, The Killing Forest, which will be published in the United States on February 2, we encounter a Louise Rick who has evolved over the years (as do we all). She’s grown older and amassed knowledge as she’s been through wonderful and heartbreaking events.

As I’ve written, I have explored a number of timely and ubiquitous topics like prostitution, Internet dating, drug abuse, peer pressure, foster care, and assisted suicide. There is always a central thrust, which is developed separately from the main story. Running parallel to how this crucial element develops, we follow Louise, along with her dear friend, Camilla Lind, a journalist. Permeating throughout each book is the story of this friendship, and how they grow and change. We follow them through Copenhagen and the suburbs where they both grew up, and out in the countryside, an area with large forests, fjords and villages, and ancient history. We follow police work and crime-solving in this setting. I live in and love Copenhagen and am riveted by the cramped network of dangerous connections which can be found there, and all the lurking mysteries and secrets.

Louise and I are similarly driven. She immerses herself deeply into her career, and always gets 100% engaged in her cases. She is motivated by personal indignation and outrage. Ultimately, though, she is simply an ordinary woman with an extraordinary job she loves. Just like me.

The Forgotten Girls, which precedes The Killing Forest, marks a fresh chapter in Louise’s life. She starts a new position at the Special Search Agency with the National Police Department. Switching from Homicide proves a huge move for Louise; major changes began to unfold after she meets her new partner, Eik Nordström. In so many ways her total opposite, Eik is relaxed, sensitive, and a bit disorganized. Louise cannot hide her irritation with Eik, who doesn’t seem bothered by her behavior. At first, that is …

I hope you’ll enjoy reading my Louise Rick crime novels as much as I’ve enjoyed cooking them up.


Anonymous said...

Another mystery uthor I am unfamiliar ith. Heading to the Library today..

Patti Phillips said...

Looks really interesting, thanks! :-)

Coco Ihle said...

I met Sara at Bouchercon writer's convention in 2011. She is a lovely person, as well as a fabulous writer.