It’s my pleasure to welcome Norwegian author Thomas Enger to the blog today! Thomas is the author of the brand new crime novel, Burned, the first of a series, and is also a songwriter! Also up for grabs is two copies of Burned to two lucky winners, so be sure to check out the details at the end of the post.
Please welcome Thomas to the blog!
Thomas, can you tell us a bit about the first book in your new crime series, Burned, and its star, crime reporter Henning Juul?
I’d love to. Henning Juul is my main protagonist, and the story in Burned starts approximately two years after he has lost his beloved son Jonas in a domestic fire. He blames himself for his son’s death, and his scars are not just on the inside, he has burns on his face, too. But what keeps him alive, what gives him motivation to go back to work, is a feeling he has. He can’t understand why his apartment caught fire in the first place, and he is convinced that someone set fire to it. That’s why he returns to work, because he wants to figure out if he still is the brilliant journalist he once was, before the fire. And on the same day he returns to his employer, the internet newspaper 123news, a young girl is found murdered in a large tent on a large field of grass just outside Oslo. She has been stoned to death in what looks to be a sharia killing. That becomes Henning Juul’s first case back on the job, and he quickly realizes that the truth has a lot more to it than everybody thinks. So he starts working the case, and his instincts and nosy questions get him into a lot of trouble.
I read that you’ve been writing since you were 18. What were some of your biggest literary influences when you were growing up?
I think I would have to go with Henning Mankell, first and foremost. He was the one that really got me hooked on crime, and that, of course, led to other Scandinavian writers like Jo Nesbo. There weren’t any huge influences on me when I was a child, but I have certainly been inspired by many contemporary writers.
Any contemporary favorites?
I am a huge fan of Harlan Coben. He is simply the best there is, the way he combines his thrilling plots with a fantastic sense of humor. I often find myself laughing out loud when I read his books.
Burned is a bestseller in many of the 12 countries that it’s already available in, and that number is rapidly growing! How did you celebrate when you first found out Burned would be published?
Actually I didn’t celebrate at all the day my publisher told me I was going to be published, because I wasn’t sure that it would happen. You see, I wasn’t even half finished, I had only written about 120 pages at that time, and I knew that I had at least 250 more to go. But, of course, deep down inside I knew that I was on to something, and when I was actually finished and was able to hold my first novel in my hands, I took my family out to dinner and we celebrated like crazy. That was a fantastic day, one that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
I imagine balancing a family with writing is challenging. When you have free time, how do you like to spend it?
I love to play golf. I am a huge golf fan, and I watch the PGA tour on my television set as often as I can. But, of course, I love to do other stuff as well. Go to the movies, have dinner with some friends, meet up with some of the boys, chatting, hanging around. I read a lot. And I love to travel. That’s one of the great perks about this job, getting to travel a bit more than I used to. And I love playing with my kids.
I’ve heard Norway is stunningly beautiful, and has always been at the top of my travel wishlist. What are a few places that you would take a first time visitor?
It depends on how long you are going to stay, but I would highly recommend a trip with Hurtigruten, which is a boat trip that lasts for several days going up north along the amazing coastline. You really get a feel for the Norwegian nature. And Lofoten – the whole region takes my breath away. It is one of the most beautiful places on earth.
If you could pack your bags and go anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would you go, and why?
I have so many places that I would want to visit, but right now, as the fall is coming down on Norway with all it’s chills and long, dark nights, I probably would want to go some place warm with my family. We went to Egypt during the summer, and I wouldn’t mind going back.
Is there any news of upcoming projects or events that you’d like to share?
I have just released my second novel in Norway and Finland, and I am so thrilled because the reviews have been great. There seems to be a consensus that my second one is even better than the first, which was my goal from the beginning. I want to get better with each book, and I can’t wait to get reactions from the American readers. Oh, and one more thing. I am also a composer. I have scored a few short films in Norway. You can check out some of my music on my web site. So Hollywood, feel free to knock on my door.
1.Giveaway is for 2 copies of Burned to 2 winners.
2.Giveaway is open to US/Canadian addresses only
3.To enter, please leave a comment with your email address. Following the blog is not required but is always appreciated!
4.Must be at least 18 to enter or have parent’s permission
5.Giveaway books generously provided by Atria Books
6.Giveaway ENDS 10/16/11
About the book:
Henning Juul is a veteran investigative crime reporter in Oslo, Norway. A horrific fire killed his six-year-old son, cut scars across his face, and ended his marriage, and on his first day back at the job after the terrible tragedy a body is discovered in one of the city’s public parks. A beautiful female college student has been stoned to death and buried up to her neck, her body left bloody and exposed. The brutality of the crime shakes the whole country, but despite his own recent trauma – and the fact that his ex-wife’s new boyfriend is also on the case – Henning is given the assignment. When the victim’s boyfriend, a Pakistani native, is arrested, Henning feels certain the man is innocent. This was not simply a Middle Eastern-style honor killing in the face of adultery – it was a far more complicated gesture, and one that will drag Henning into a darkness he’s never dreamed of.