‘I just wanted to make him dizzy’

It could have been chair Peter Guttridge who Karin Fossum had in mind, but it was actually one of her characters. Peter looked pretty dizzy, however, and said repeatedly during the Deadlier Than The Male event that Karin was freaking him out. She is scary, in a nicely Nordic way. Doesn’t beat about the bush like the British do.

Karin and Val McDermid were talking to Peter about women in crime. Problems in writing are there to be solved, and  if it takes her a year, Karin will eventually see that something needs to be removed. Asked if she feels the urge to improve on old books Val said you have to stand for your early writing. Some of it will be good, some of it bad.

The sign for Karin to stop is when what she has taken out goes back in again. As well as crime, Karin writes poetry and what all her writing has in common is death. Her reply to whether she knows what she is writing after her next novel was ‘yes, I do.’ This short and succinct piece of information was met by laughter by the audience, but that’s what we are like, over there.

Another tradition is when Norwegians go to their little cottages for Easter, they take crime novels (paperbacks only) to read. Presumably to avoid killing each other during cramped conditions. Crime gets more exciting in the dark.

Val avoids writing two books in a row about the same characters, or she will get bored. But when she moved one character to America to get rid of them, new ideas immediately sprang up and she wanted to move her back here again, except as her agent pointed out, there was a problem with the dog. The dog has now been adopted by another crime writer, so it can stay in the US.

Both Karin and Val have fans who know best. One of Val’s was eager to make her aware that between the hardback and the paperback, she might want to correct that right turn by the lights where you can no longer make right turns…

Northanger Abbey in modern clothes is next on Val’s agenda, and she’s not averse to another children’s book as long as there are no more children’s events. Anything but that!

Post by Ann Giles