Thursday, June 17, 2010

God dag

God dag, mig namn er GM Klubben, och Jag har skrev en Svensk blockbuster sätta inne Stockholm.

That is Swedish for, "Good Day, my name is GM Malliet, and I have written a Swedish blockbuster set in Stockholm."

At least I think that is the proper translation. I have no idea why the online translator changed me from GM Malliet to GM Klubben, but, hey, I wanna be a paperback writer so I'm fine with that, so long as klubben doesn't mean "smelly swordfish left behind in the sauna for several days."

The reason for my sudden willingness to change is this story in the NY Times: "A Scandinavian Hit Sets Publishers Seeking More." The runaway success of the Stieg Larsson trilogy has publishers scrambling to acquire rights to books by other Scandinavian authors who for one reason or another are extremely popular yet never achieved the runaway success of Larsson--authors like Camilla Lackberg, Henning Mankell, and Jo Nesbo. Karen Fossum (Norway) and Arnalder Indridason (Iceland) have also contributed to the chilly thriller phenomenon. The trend, slow-moving as an ice flow, seems to have started with Peter Hoeg's 1992 Smilla's Sense of Snow.

The Times reports that the Larsson books so far have sold 6 million copies in the United States and 35 million copies worldwide. The tragedy, as everyone must know by now, is that Larsson did not live to know of his phenomenal success. That alone is a scary, heartbreaking story that touches the core of every author of every type of book.

The Times goes on to talk about Jessica Case, an editor at Pegasus Books, who is quoted as giving Ms. Lackberg "one of the highest advances we’ve ever paid" for her American debut of The Ice Princess, a book first published in 2003. I must say that as an author I find this inspirational.

Of course, all authors know that chasing a trend in publishing is a sure recipe for disaster. I could change the protagonist in my current book into a Swedish priest, and change the setting to some gloomy town in Scandinavia, include a gorgeous female sidekick with tattoos, and publish as GM Klubben, but something tells me it just wouldn't be the same.

I missed the vampire boat, being sailed so successfully by Charlaine Harris and our own Sue Ann Jaffarian. I missed the whole Harry Potter scene, and the Dan Brown-type religious thriller. I also missed the chick lit trend, typified by Bridget Jones' Diary, but I was just in time to parody the trend in chick lit mysteries in my own Death and the Lit Chick. Does that count?

You have to wonder, as you ponder those 35 million copies worldwide, what the next great country or theme will be. Any guesses from blog readers or my fellow MInkers?

 p.s. This morning's Washington Post also carries an intriguing article on the Scandinavian invasion.

Photo from

is of the Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden.

Photo of village is from Scandinavia Travel.


Keith Raffel said...

Gin, Isn't Klubben a great last name for someone who writes books with a crime of violence at their core? Terrific your books are coming out in Swedish. Gratulerar!

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

I'm hoping the next great trend in mysteries features middle-aged fat women - if so, I'm gold. I have a hooker manuscript started, so I wouldn't cry if it went in that direction.

I've heard rumor that the next trend might involve angels (as opposed to ghosts). Or how about mysteries set in deep space?

G.M. Malliet said...

Jeez. I thought we already *did* angels. Maybe there's a middle-aged hooker-angel trend that hasn't been explored.

Keith, now you mention it, Klubben does have a certain ring to it.

Alan Orloff said...

Angels, fairies, sprites are all on the horizon, I fear. (I'm hoping for some interest in stand-up comics, but I'm not holding my breath.) I agree, "Klubben" is dynamite!

Darrell James said...

My tastes always seem to run counter to the trends. I didn't fall in love with Harry Potter, I would never have predicted the resurrence of vampires, and the Dan Brown phenom still leaves me cratching my head. (It's a "me" thing, I'm sure.) So, I suppose I'll just continue to write my fabulous-amazing-wonderful stories and hope that some late-breaking fad will run me down.

Excellent post Gin.

Jess Lourey said...

Haha! I think to nail the next bestselling concept, we should all just ask Darrell what else he doesn't like and write that.

GM, I prefer writers who make fun of trends rather than jump on board them, so you've always been golden with me.

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Jess, you should enjoy my vampire books, then. My vampires often poke fun of the vampires in fiction, film and TV.

Darrell James said...

Good idea, Jess. I didn't predict the run-up of gold either. You could make a fortune off me :)

G.M. Malliet said...

Darrell - you weren't inspired by Dan Brown's prose? Seriously, I was amazed by his ability to pull me along in the breakneck story of the Da Vinci code. But I kept wincing, you know?

I did not get the Harry Potter books but I didn't give them a fair try, either.

Kathleen Ernst said...

I just went to a program on Sunday about the huge interest in Scandinavian mysteries & lit. A mystery writer named Barbara Fister ("Through the Cracks") maintains a website and blog about Scandinavian crime fiction. A very interesting discussion.

As for what's next... I'm clueless, I'm afraid. But I wouldn't mind if a bit of that Scandinavian magic rubbed off on my Norwegian-American protagonist Chloe Ellefson....

G.M. Malliet said...

Chloe Ellefson. Yah, you're close there! It does sound as if many authors are catching this wave, so here's hoping for you and Chloe...

But - "Clueless" has also been done, Kathleen. All those Jane Austen copycats. ;-) [I can't bring myself to look at the vampire-Austen books. They may be great but I'll never know.]

Alice Loweecey said...

Nuns! Nuns *have* to be the Next. Big. Thing. And--ooh--I have a Swedish nun in my next book. Could it possibly be that I'm finally in with the cool kids? LOL.

G.M. Malliet said...

Alice - The Nun with the Dragon Tattoo. YES.

Alice Loweecey said...

GM--and the mystery is--where, exactly, is that tattoo? :D

Liselotte said...

I'm a Swedish woman and I thought it is very nice of you to try to translate English into Swedish, but unfortunately the web translator is not perfect. May I correct you? "Good Day, my name is GM Malliet, and I have written a Swedish blockbuster set in Stockholm."
In Swedish: "Goddag, mitt namn är GM Malliet, och jag har skrivit en svensk kioskvältare som utspelar sig i Stockholm."

Camilla Läckberg is one of the most popular authors in Sweden and Europe. She has an international website:
We really like crime novels in Sweden. One of the top favorite authors are Michael Connelly, Jeffrey Deaver, Patricia Cornwell and Elizabeth George. Good luck with the reading!

G.M. Malliet said...

Liselotte - How nice of you to drop by. Yes, I did suspect that translator might not be quite on the mark.

It is gratifying to know that Läckberg and other authors are getting the attention here they have long enjoyed elsewhere. When I travel in Europe, I can see the immense popularity of detective fiction, with many authors writing in English being translated. Nice to know the trend is also going in reverse.

Thanks again for stopping by to comment.