In The Hidden Child, Swedish author Läckberg explores the effects that WWII continue to exert on one family and the coastal village of Fjällbacka.
How do the Swedish people view WWII?
The memory of the Second World War remains very vivid for the Swedes. Many of us still have relatives who can share their personal experiences from that time. The war really marked us. The war also is an important part of the history lessons in [Swedish] schools. We need to constantly remind ourselves of the horrible consequences of human ignorance and extreme right-wing thoughts.
Is neo-Nazism on the rise in Sweden as you depict in The Hidden Child?
Yes, the extreme right-wing parties are, unfortunately, growing in Sweden, as well as all over Europe. For me, diversity and equal rights are very important, and it’s very sad to see this negative development.
How did you research WWII?
I went through old articles from that time, and I also interviewed people close to me who lived then and who could share valuable experiences.
What do you want American readers to discover about Sweden through your novels?
They will learn about current topics in Swedish society. Hopefully, they will also get a good mental picture of what the Swedish west coast looks like.
Why do you think American readers are so fascinated by Swedish crime fiction?
I think it’s because Swedish fiction challenges the image of Sweden being this calm and innocent place without any danger. Murder and crime bring an unexpected twist to the story.
Why do you set your novels in the town of Fjällbacka?
When I started writing my first novel, a teacher told me to write about something that I knew well. That’s when I decided to write about my hometown, Fjällbacka, and use it as a red thread throughout all my novels. I love describing my hometown and its beautiful surroundings.
Why do you write crime fiction?
I was introduced to the world of crime fiction when I was very young, and I wrote my first crime fiction short story [on Santa Claus] when I was five years old. It’s my dream to get all my eight novels published in the U.S. I would not mind seeing my ninth novel, the novel I’m currently writing, end up on U.S. bestsellers lists. If that happens, I will tattoo it onto my skin!
Who do you read?
One of my favorite authors right now is Michael Connelly.
My ninth novel, The Lion Tamer, will be released in Sweden this year. This spring, my fourth children’s novel about Super-Charlie will be published in Sweden.