Sunday, 9 August 2015

Bloody Scotland - A Q&A with Ragnar Jonasson

I was very excited to be asked if I would like to be part of the Bloody Scotland Blog Tour - and particularly excited to discover that I got to do a Q&A with Ragnar Jonasson, author of Snowblind. Snowblind has to be one of my books of the year so far - one of those books that once you pick it up you can't put it down again until you've devoured the very last page. Here is my chat with Ragnar:

1. Snowblind is set in Sigulfjord - how much research did you have to do and did you spend a lot of time in the area to help you to "set the scene"?

My father was born in Siglufjord and my grandparents lived there for most of their lives. I made my first trip there 3 months old, and have visited more or less every year since, sometimes many times a year – so my research was done long before I decided to write about the place. I was also able to ask my father about specific details, and furthermore my late grandfather wrote a series of books about the history of Siglufjord which I have been able to use throughout my series. My aim was to make the descriptions of the town and locations as accurate as possible, so that readers could visit these places in real life – the tunnel, the theatre (now a concert hall), the church, the grocery store, the streets, the fish store etc. – all these places exist. 

2. I'm hoping that some characters will be returning - who was your favourite character in Snowblind and what makes them your favourite?

Ari Thór, his girlfriend Kristín and his boss Tómas are recurring characters in the series, and some of other characters appear in more than one book. In Snowblind, I enjoyed writing all of the characters and to avoid any spoilers I won’t discuss the suspects or my favorites from that group. I think Ari Thór is probably my favorite character, simply because I’ve written five books about him so I feel I know him quite well by now!

3. If Snowblind were to be made into a movie who would make up your ideal cast?

My ideal Ari Thór would be a good friend of mine, the Icelandic actor Thor Kristjánsson, who has done the audiobooks for the series in Iceland, and who has just read the Snowblind audiobook in English for Audible as well. Thor is one of Iceland’s biggest name film stars and has also worked in Hollywood, recently in Dracula Untold. He is about the same age as Ari and even shares the name Thor with him!

4. What is next for Ari Thor?

The next book published in the series in the UK, Nightblind, is set a few years after Snowblind. Inspector Tómas has moved south and Ari Thór has a new boss in Siglufjord. In the first chapter, the new inspector is shot at point blank range in the middle of the night just outside of the village, and Tómas is called back to Siglufjord to investigate, along with Ari Thór.

5. What is your writing procedure like? Are you a plotter or do you just see what happens?

In all my books, I have outlined the plot in detail before I start writing, so I always know from the beginning how the book ends. Of course during the process of writing, some minor things change, some characters become more prominent and in some cases the characters surprise me with their actions! But in essence, the basic idea and plot outline stays the same.

6. Who are you influenced by? Do you have any particular favourite writers?

I think writers are probably influenced by everything they read, in one way or another. I read a lot of crime fiction and my favorite authors include Agatha Christie and P.D. James, as well as American golden age writers Ellery Queen and S.S. Van Dine.

7. Finally, I know that I have been inspired to visit Iceland after reading Snowblind - any tips or must-see places to visit?

My favorite time in Iceland is probably May to July, when the days are long and bright. In mid-June we have almost twenty four hour daylight, a great time to visit the country. In terms of places to visit, I would of course recommend Siglufjord and other places in Northern-Iceland, it is a very charming area. Another favorite place of mine is the amazing glacial lagoon in the south east of Iceland.

Snowblind is out now and you can get it here:

And you can read my full review here: 

Be sure to catch the rest of the Bloody Scotland Blog Tour! 

**My thanks to Ragnar Jonasson and the Bloody Scotland team**

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