Words leave imprints in your mind like footprints in the sand...
Prague, Czech Republic
Uluru, Australia

Crime writing trio in Denmark

  • Submitted: 31st May 2018

This week , the city of Copenhagen was awash with crime….writers.  Karin Slaughter Yrsa Sigurdardottir and Sara Blaedel all came together for the chat of all chats. There were gems of information from all.  Sara held court and posed many questions as only a great crime writer can. So, what happened?


Karin, Sara and Yrsa (c) Harper Collins Nordic

Karin, Sara and Yrsa (c) Harper Collins Nordi

Things Sara discovered from Karin and Yrsa –

How they started out:

Karin:  Karin has respect for the romance genre but could never write a romance as she’d want to kill someone by the end of it

Karin used to be paid a quarter to write a story by her father. Now, she gets more than just one quarter and kills people for a living rather than just tormenting her sisters. (She’s the youngest of three)

Yrsa: She started writing children’s stories but realised you can’t corrupt small children so went to write crime instead as corruption and crime is fun to write!

It’s easier to kill people for a living and be evil than to be funny and honest as you have to be with children’s fiction!


Criminal differences between the two countries:

Karin: Everyone thinks every single person runs around the streets with  a gun so it’s easier to set violent crime fiction in America. She’s always aware of real life crimes which tend to seep into her novels in some way. One of her books centres around a school shooting but deals with the aftermath as well as just the event itself. The one crime which changed her life was the Atlanta Child Murders which took place when she was young. They had an impact on her as it was terrifying especially since she was too young to really understand.

Karin Slaughter signing The Good Daughter in Copenhagen (c) Harper Collins Nordic

Karin Slaughter signing The Good Daughter in Copenhagen (c) Harper Collins Nordic

Yrsa: This is where things get funny. There’s not much crime in Iceland. If a car is stolen it tends to be met with the reaction of “What’s Lars done now?” noting that people usually know who and why someone has done something. Yrsa joked about the one serial killer they’ve had in Iceland but who ‘only’ killed two people. The blackmailer who tried to get money from someone in Iceland ended up being caught by the receipt he left with the victim….and the only hostage situation they’ve had involved a drunken guy holding someone’s kitten and not letting it go.


Scary things in both countries

Karin: When Karin was younger, she remembers adverts on tv asking parents if they knew where their children were after a certain time of day. This was at the time of the Atlanta Child murders so you can imagine the fear that was everywhere.

Apart from that, it seems a lot of the terror in the Slaughter household was down to Karin herself who revelled in tormenting her sisters. Once she grabbed her sisters leg when in bed, another time she hid in the closet and acted all upset. Her sisters were told off by their parents for making Karin cry!

Yrsa: It’s all about the trolls in Iceland. Trolls come to take naughty children away apparently. There’s a woman who even eats naughty kids. Parents use this to keep their children in check but after the age of six, the game is up and they have to bribe them with sweets or money.

Karin seemed to like the idea of boiling people alive….

Karin Slaughter in Copenhagen (c) Harper Collins Nordic

Karin Slaughter in Copenhagen (c) Harper Collins Nordic

How they write

Karin : She thinks of a story long before she even starts to write. The best thing? She has her good ideas in the shower so has a notebook in there to write things down. Waterproof cover of course.

Yrsa: Also spends a lot of time thinking and plotting before writing.

Seemed to like the notebook in the shower idea…..


How do the books reflect the person?

Karin: Scared women might judge the character if she’s too tall, blond, perfect etc but then again, all people are flawed in some way. Sarah Linton therefore is aspirational rather than a reflection of how she sees herself

Yrsa: Her books are not about her at all. However, Iceland is small and people assume she is. She wrote a story about a son who tells his mother she’s going to be a grandmother just before it happened to her in real life so now no one believes the books aren’t about her in some way.

Harper Collins Nordic

Harper Collins Nordic


Listen to the full story on Instagram – instagram.com/harpercollins_nordic/

With many thanks to HarperCollins Nordic for the photos!


Back to Blog

Featured Book

Prophet Song

2023 Booker Prize Winner!

Read more