Her twentieth book is just about to be released. It’s a very special time, not only because it’s her first fiction book but also, her first book in English here in Australia. Her name is Gunilla Haglundh. She is from Sweden and has lived for ten years in Australia, Manly. She is a business journalist with nineteen books behind her about small and medium size enterprises as well as personal finances. She is celebrating her twentieth book, by doing something completely different. She has just written the last letter on the first book in the Manly Murders series – A Mother Without a Child.
That’s a big step to go from non-fiction to fiction. Why?
“It is a big step. However, writing about businesses demands a lot of research, to go through business reports and pull them apart to see the real status of a business. It has a few similarities with detective work that I did not think of until I started to write. I found myself working in the same way. At the same time fiction demands a lot of extra layers – to create suspense and the thrill.”
So is it a thriller?
“No, not at all. My ambition has been to create the Australian version of Midsomer Murders, which is taking place in an English countryside village. I picked Manly because I think it’s a beautiful place which has all the attributes that a story like this needs such as the Quarantine Station with its ghosts and stories, St Patrick’s cathedral, beach life and a bit of history.”
Tell us something about the book
When Australian business icon, Martin Stream, is murdered one morning on a Manly ferry on his way to work, local detective inspectors Georgia Show and Stephen French step in to solve the case. Martin, married with three adult children has a business empire spanning the globe. The police think they are close to a solution and probably suspects – when there is a second murder at the ghostly Quarantine Station in Manly. This time it’s a well-dressed European woman.
That’s sounds like a book I want to read. What was the biggest challenge?
“In my normal writing I have most of my knowledge in my head before I start writing. To write crime is totally different. I would like to thank the NSW Police Force who has supported me enormously, without them it would almost have been impossible. I have to say that I’ve got good advice from the Swedish Police Force too.”
Fantastic, what is happening now?
Book launches, book signings and a very active online presence. We have been on Social media for months now prior to the book being launched, just to create the awareness. We have the official book launch on the 4th October at Manly Art gallery. Immediately after that I’ll go into writing of the next book in the series – The Lifesaver’s Secret. So it’s full on! Of course in between I have to wait for the verdict from the readers. They are my judge.
Wow, do you have time for anything else?
I do work 3 days a week as a business journalist so writing books is the so called hobby.
How many books will it be in the Manly Murders series?
I have no idea. I’m not deciding that, the readers do. Midsomer Murders started 24 years ago and it is still going.
Do you have any role model for you writing?
There’s no secret that my Swedish colleagues Henning Mankell (Kurt Wallander) and Stieg Larsson (The girl with the dragon tattoo) have been great inspirations to me, not only because they are Swedish but because they are writing in a way that I hope I will get close to one day. It’s strange though, I worked at the same paper as Stieg and we worked together on a project. I also used to have a summerhouse very close to Henning Mankell so there have been some personal encounters as well. They tend to mean more now because I don’t live there any longer and can’t experience it again. Memories are a good thing.
Good Luck with the book!