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Bitter Flowers by Gunnar Staalesen translated by Don Bartlett #Review #NordicNoir

  Today we have another in the brilliant Varg Veum series by Gunnar Staalesen , Bitter Flowers . It was published in paperback by Orenda Books on January 21st 2022 as a  vintage classic. I also have the chance for you to win a print copy of the book. Details on how to enter are at the foot of this post.  Fresh from rehab, PI Varg Veum faces his most complex investigation yet, when a man is found drowned, a young woman disappears, and the case of a missing child is revived. The classic Nordic Noir series continues... PI Varg Veum has returned to duty following a stint in rehab, but his new composure and resolution are soon threatened when three complex crimes land on his desk. A man is found dead in an elite swimming pool. A young woman has gone missing. Most chillingly, Veum is asked to investigate the ‘Camilla Case’: an eight-year-old cold case involving the disappearance of a little girl, who was never found. As the threads of these three apparently unrelated cases

Meet the Author: Marie Anders

  


 Today I am delighted to welcome author, Marie Anders to Books, Life and Everything to talk about her writing life. Marie is an Austrian crime writer whose fifth book will be published in the autumn of this year. Her first two novels have recently been translated into English: Death by Truffles and The Finnish Sock

You can order these books here:  Death by Truffles  | The Finnish Sock

 



Welcome to Books, Life and Everything, Marie. Would you like to start by telling us a little about yourself and how you started as a writer?


My name is Marie. I live and work in the beautiful Mozart city of Salzburg. As an entrepreneur, I am pretty busy. I am highly creative and love to paint, dance, and cook. Even as a kid, I made up stories and sometimes wrote them down.

 

For me, Salzburg is much more than just a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mozart city or festival city. It is the city I grew up in and know like the back of my hand. In addition to the many sights, such as the Hohensalzburg Fortress, the Getreidegasse or the Mirabell Gardens, there are exciting and perhaps surprising things to discover in Salzburg. Tradition and modernity make up the charm of this city.

There are many small, romantic alleys, winding paths, beautiful gardens, parks and lakes that I describe in my books and would like to introduce to the readers. 

When did you first realise you were going to be a writer?

When people who read my manuscripts told me I should send them to publishers because they have potential.

If you didn't write, what would you do for work?

I am a translator and have my own little agency.

What are you interests apart from writing?

Since I am a very creative person, I also like to work with my hands. I paint and sculpt. I also love music and tap dancing.

 What is your favorite childhood book?

I loved books by Enid Blyton and the Bill Bergson, Master Detective series by Astrid Lindgren.

Where were you when you heard your first book was going to be published? How did you celebrate?

When I got the contract, I was at my office working. We only celebrated within the family.

 Tell us three surprising things about yourself.

I am a polyglot and love to travel and meet people around the world. It is always fun to talk to people in their native language and see their reaction.

My favourite time to write is in the middle of the night when everything is quiet, and everyone around is asleep.

Teatime is my favourite time of the day. I take a break and relax for about half an hour. Only I rarely drink tea – I prefer hot chocolate.


Tell us about your latest book without giving the plot away.


Two well-known scientists are killed at a Medical Congress in Salzburg. Inspector Neuner and his team are bewildered by the signature of the murderer. What does a colourful hand-knitted sock have to do with all of this? (THE FINNISH SOCK)

How do you plan to spend publication day?

It has been published already as e-book, and the paperback just arrived a few days ago. I have no particular plans. I am just happy and telling everyone about the book.


What are your writing routines and where do you do most of your writing?

My favourite time to write is at night when everything is quiet, and everyone is fast asleep. I'm both a morning person as well as a night person, but I'm most creative at night. For me, writing is similar to painting. It does not happen on command. Sometimes whole chapters flow in no time, and sometimes I get up after half a page and go to sleep. I write in my office/library where no one disturbs me when the door is closed.

How many hours a day do you write?

I have no fixed time or hours. The best thing about creative work is that, apart from publishing deadlines, you do not have any set times. Somehow, as an author, you are always working. Writing is 30 % talent and 70 % discipline. That is why I write every day. Sometimes more, sometimes less.

How do you go about researching detail and ensuring your books are realistic?

I ask professionals, go to libraries (yes, the old-fashioned way), talk to people, and do online research.

Which aspects of your writing do you find easiest and most difficult?

As mentioned before, the best thing about creative work is that you do not have any fixed times. Somehow, as an author, you are always working. The most challenging part about writing is the constant "fear" of not meeting your own standards and possibly disappointing the reader.

How difficult was writing your second book- did having one published change how you went about it?

It was not difficult at all. I went about the exact same way as with the first. Since it is a crime series, I can just continue with a different case and give more insights to the characters private lives.

Were there any scenes which you had to edit out of your book which you still hanker after?

No.

How do you select the names of your characters? Are they based on anyone you know?

When I watch a movie, I usually look at the end credits. I typically look at a first name and then wait for the last name (usually from the third person down the row).  I also use the phone registry at times. Open it and just use the first name that pops up. 

How long on average does it take you to write your first draft?

The first draft is in my head. A vague idea. I immediately start writing, I do not write drafts. The plot and story develop by themselves.  

Are there any secret references hidden in your books?

Maybe at times. If I gave it away, it wouldn’t be secret anymore, would it?

Do you have any guilty pleasures which stop/ help you write?

Hot chocolate and cookies usually help.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

It energizes me.

Do you or have you ever considered writing under a pseudonym?

Yes.

Do you have any other writers as friends and how do they influence your writing?

I have authors that became friends but, I can’t say we influence each other. We support each other.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Never give up. Take constructive criticism and learn from it.

Do you believe in writer's block? What do you do to break its spell?

No, as I mentioned earlier, writing has to do with discipline. You have to sit down every day until your script is done. Some days you will write loads of pages and other times you will write a sentence and be happy with it.

Can you give any hints about any upcoming books you have planned?

I have published four crime novels in German and two in English. The third and fourth Neuner crime novels in English are being translated at the moment and will be released by the end of the year. 

Do you have any unfinished or unpublished books hidden away?

Yes! A Neuner crime novel (number five) in German and English and a romantic family saga are under way.

Thanks so much, Marie and good luck with your writing!

About the Author

Marie Anders was born in Kirchdorf an der Krems, in Upper Austria. She grew up multilingual in an international environment and has lived, studied, and worked in the United States, Serbia, Russia, France and Germany. She has recently returned to live and work in Austria.

You can follow Marie here:  Website  |  Instagram  |   Facebook

  |  Twitter  |  Publisher's Website   |  Publisher's Instagram

 

Book Spotlights: Death by Truffles, The Finnish Sock


Death by Truffles INSPECTOR NEUNER'S FIRST CASE

 Near the Salzach river, in the beautiful city of Salzburg, Marc Bergmann, the town’s gigolo, is found dead on a park bench. Marc Bergmann, the shady lawyer, was married, had a fiancée and various lovers and connections to the mob. Soon it is clear that poisoned chocolate truffles sealed Marc’s faith. The more Quentin Neuner and his team delve into the case, the stranger things get. When Neuner’s childhood sweetheart turns up, the case takes a sudden unexpected turn. 

Book link: Amazon UK


The Finnish Sock,
NEUNER'S SECOND CASE

 During an International Medical Congress in Salzburg, a well-known surgeon and scientist, Doctor Thomas Steinmetz, is mysteriously killed. When Inspector Quentin Neuner examines the corpse, he notices something he has never seen before. The victim's right foot had been dressed in a colourful hand-knitted sock, and his shoe nicely draped next to the body. Was this a sign? Or the signature of the killer? If so, what is the killer trying to flag up? In the course of the first interrogations, the killer strikes again in broad daylight and right under Quentin Neuner's nose. The investigators quickly discover similarities between the two victims. Was it their research that sealed their fate?

Book link: Amazon UK 

 

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