Alexander Soderberg previously worked as a scriptwriter and story editor for Swedish television, where he worked on the adaptations of well-known crime novels as well as drama and sitcoms. Perfectly placed to hone his skills, The Andalucian Friend is Soderberg’s debut and the first in a trilogy that will have you hooked from the first page.
We’re welcoming Alexander to Dead Good for discussions on geography, plane crashes and James Ellroy!
Alexander, please tell us about your new book
The Andalucian Friend is a story about Sophie Brinkmann, a nurse who meets and begins a relationship with Hector Guzman, a patient at the hospital at which she works. What she doesn’t know is that Hector is the head of an international crime family and, as their relationship develops, she finds herself caught up in the middle of an escalating mob war. But she soon finds her loyalties divided when the police contact her and ask her to infiltrate his world.
It started off as an idea for a TV-script. But I soon realized that the story asked for more space than a TV-script could give. I started to write a book.
What/who was the inspiration behind Sophie Brinkmann?
The story needed her from the start. As a centre force that the plot could lean on. She makes mistakes and has many flaws. But she is more than she realizes. True and close to her feelings, but still afraid of them. She is human. I like her a lot.
Where do you set your books and why?
The centre of the story is set in Stockholm, the city where I grew up, but it expands out to different settings in Europe and South America. I like a broad setting, as much as in geography as in characters and structure.
Does your writing ever scare you?
No. I am afraid of poisonous snakes, dying in a plane crash. But not writing.
Where do you write you novels?
I have an office in my house. But it is a mess right now, I don’t know why. I can’t even go up there. Nor can the cleaning lady. She hates the office, refuses to go there. So I find other places. My favourite writing space at the moment is a room with a panoramic window, facing south. I see for miles from there. Better than TV.
Which crime fiction related book, TV programme or film have had the most impact on you or your writing?
I can’t say that there are any specific ones that have had a certain impact. Instead it is a mix of many. There is no end of good crime books. Last one which made an impression was Dennis Lehane’s The Given Day. Maybe not a crime novel in that sense, but a great book. The same with films, hard to pick one. I enjoy the ones from the seventies, French Connection etc, they still work. A great high quality TV series at the moment is Southland, cops in LA. Great characters, great acting.
What is your favourite scene or line from any crime fiction book?
Most scenes in American Tabloid by James Ellroy are fantastic.
What tip would you give any budding writers?
Eat, sleep, be nice and have fun – but that applies to everyone I think.
On a serious note: Write! Write on a routine, don’t wait for inspiration, it is just an excuse to get drunk. Say goodbye to yourself and leave the prestige behind. When you experience that your writing flows, take a look at what you were writing about, what genre and style. Then stick to that, because it is probably what you are good at.
E-book or paper?
Haven’t read an e-book yet. But it seems to be okay for a lot of people. E-readers do not seem to take away the reading experience. I’m looking forward to trying one soon. But books are books. One of the few dead things around us that actually lives. And bookshelves will always be the nicest furniture there is.
If you were a fictional character, how would you write your own death?
Painful and slowly. Give myself time to look at my sins.
…and what would your final meal be?
I am a semi-vegetarian. Probably seafood at some nice place somewhere.