I felt extremely lucky to be at this event as Arnaldur doesn’t do many events. He was in England for a brief tour to promote his new book, “The Shadow District”, which came out on May 18th.
In giving us an introduction to himself, he explained that he took a degree in history as he has an interest in the past and history in general. Iceland as a nation enjoy storytelling and literature. He started out as a journalist, and eventually became a reporter in translated crime fiction. At the time, there were no Icelandic crime authors, which made him decide to try to write one of his own.
His previous Detective, Erlendur, was in a 10 book series (not all are available in English), which started with “Jar City”. As a character, Erlendur has an interest in missing people and the impact it has on those who are left behind. Jar City was also made into a film, which was kept close to the novel.
His new book, The Shadow District, marks the start of a new trilogy which will blend fact and fiction. It will be a dual narrative, with a Detective in the 1940’s and one in the present day. The case in the present day will be linked to a case in the 1940’s.
During his Q&A session, he explained that he was inspired to start writing in his teens by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo’s Martin Beck series. He admitted that he writes to put tourists off as much as possible – he prefers Iceland without them!
When he sits down to write, he has no idea where he is going. He has an outline for the storyline, but no idea how it starts or ends until he types it. This has been the way he works from the day he started.
It was a lovely relaxed evening, a very small and intimate gathering.