Camilla Läckberg is emerging as a woman to be reckoned with. In an until recently male dominated world of Nordic Noir writing, she is dominating the charts and award’s list.
But what got her to this position of becoming a talented writer, a business woman and let’s face it, a glamorous powerhouse all at the same time? Designers are bending over backwards for her to be seen in their designs without any detriment to her integrity in the writing world. She is beautiful, successful and talented. Someone many of us aspire to emulate, in any one of her talents.
Camilla Läckberg’s full name is Jean Edith Camilla Läckberg Eriksson and she hails from Fjällbacka, which is in the Västra Götaland County, Sweden.
When we start at the beginning we realise that Camilla comes from a comfortable upbringing, in the sense of stable and safe. Growing up in a small village on the West coast of Sweden in a town which depicts the Swedish way of life.
Not a lot happens in this fishing village to lead families into the abyss of scandal, danger or oddities. But in little Camilla’s mind at just 4 years old, the safety net of her habitat and family gave her the security and intrigue to play with a darker side into our everyday beliefs. At this tender age she wrote a story about Father Christmas, but with a twist of darkness and apparent violence. This story was short but it became clear that Camilla Läckberg’s mind worked anti clockwise when writing, enabling her to make the ordinary seem eerie, and the eerie seem ordinary.
She had a natural gift, but this would take a further 20 plus years before someone else saw that in her.
When her first husband and her parents bought her a place on a creative writing course she allowed herself to try something that she enjoyed doing, and which would allow her to move away from her economics career.
Camilla graduated in Economics from Gothenberg University and followed this route of working within the field successfully, eventually moving to Stockholm to pursue her career.
This was a far cry from her home village of Fjällbacka, and the ironic twist is that escaping this sleepy small village to move forward with her life and form a somewhat exciting career, would actually create a longing for Fjällbacka. These memories of Fjällbacka would give her the starting point for her stories, and become the backdrop of her novels. In turn this little known place would give her the exciting career she so deserved within the writing industry.
Camilla Läckberg’s Nordic Noir crime books are building up pace with each release. From her debut book back in 2003 which was called The Ice Princess, to 2014’s release of Buried Angels. Camilla’s books and herself have grown in notoriety and respect, and the name Camilla Läckberg is slipping more easily off the tongue within conversations about Swedish writing greats around the world.
Camilla’s books are very cleverly written as they give us the impression that Camilla’s mind must work in two separate halves along side each other whilst in sync, as most of the books have a juxtaposition story to tell with parallel stories intertwining, without confusion or elaborate ideals as not to seem far fetched. The books don’t have an underlining moral or social message they are as good a escapism crime read as you can get. They give the reader a great backdrop to the characters in the story, and keep us going with different perspectives of the characters way of thinking. This allows the reader to wander down the path of one conclusion only to find that is a dead end, which makes us turn on our heels and back track without frustration.
The Ice Princess first introduces us to the main characters who will grow in terms of relationship and strength throughout this series.
The normal crime fighting duo of detective young and old is altered from the start, this brings in a different dynamic of how cases can be solved, as we have a detective called Patrick Hedström crossing paths with a writer called Erica Falck.
Erica Falck has returned to her home town of Fjällbacka as her parents have sadly passed away, and Erica has to sort things out. Whilst she is back in her home town she uses this time to finish writing the biography of Selma Lagerlöf, the first female Noble prize author of children’s novels.
Whilst back home Erica is approached by the parents of her old childhood friend Alex. Alex has died from an apparent suicide but they are not convinced, and would like Erica to look into it.
At the same time detective Patrick Hedström is investigating the death of Alex whose body was discovered in the bath, in frozen water.
Erica working along side Detective Hedström brings the reader a different perspective of a crime being solved by a member of the public with no jurisdiction to investigate, but a personal reason to turn over stones, dig deep into people’s pasts and ask the questions that need answering. Erica is on a mission, but this small fishing town is holding on to its secrets.
The Preacher follows on in the series, with the second book again starting from the point of a body being found. This time by a 6 year old boy who has wandered off. In the first few pages the scene is set and the intrigue mounts immediately as the readers feel as though they are looking down on this crime scene.
The relationships between detectives is outlined for us, with inner thoughts narrated and methodical research has clearly been done so the reader understands the various sections needed at a crime scene, without feeling you are being bombarded with a lesson in forensics.
Within pages we are rewound back to the summer of 1979 without any confusion, and these parallels continue to run alongside each other in the story.
The relationship between Patrick and Erica has grown, in every sense of the word as a baby is on the way, and this gives another personal side to Patrick and how he views his cases and his motivations to right the wrongs in the small town of Fjällbacka.
We are spoilt with the descriptive narratives in the books. We are given a vision of a bustling fishing in the sense of people working hard to sustain this way of life and embrace a quieter normality.
Of rocky shorelines looking out to the fjords, to white houses peaked with red roofs, and greenery sprouting up in between and beyond. Tranquility and at one with nature is how we greet this village which sits just 90 minutes North of Gothenburg. Fjällbacka is now because of Camilla Läckberg on the tourist map when people are looking for destinations in Sweden.
You can of course follow in the footsteps of the crimes from the books with tours offered, and retrace with book in hand the places which come up in the books time and time again. But this is not the only thing that will keep you exploring Fjällbacka, you can experience the daily work of the fishermen going out in their trawlers, heading into amazing scenery to catch their fresh lobster, which are brought back to shore and prepared at one of the many restaurants offering this fresh delight.
Kayaking through the archipelago is one of the many sports on offer which are only possible due to the landscape which holds this village. Walking on and off the beaten track gives you a sense of being away from it all but without being lost or isolated.
The pure air, blue waters and green surroundings on offer are a good a reason as any for Camilla to set her books here. Usually once a place is put on the map via a successful author the serenity can be diluted, but somehow Fjällbacka has managed to keep its charm whilst opening itself up as a magnificent backdrop to the award winning mysteries.
Camilla Läckberg must have a feature cabinet in her house so grand that it must be a focal point of her surroundings. She has had nominations and awards spanning over 10 years from every literary circle, writers guild and fashion magazine that you can think of, and then the rest.
Here are just a few…..
And with her 2014 book ‘The Lion Tamer’ set to be published in September we can predict that many more awards are heading the way of this multi-tasking successful crime writer.
So is this where Camilla Läckberg begins and ends? In the fascinating world of Nordic Noir?
Spending her nights at her desk with crime scenes, police procedures and inter winding case studies feverishly going around in her head.
Taking a simple Swedish fishing village where she grew up and has happy memories from, and making it into an eerie place below the surface.
Where the ordinary is not as it seems.
A genre dominated by male writers which has so far headed many awards lists, has had the pleasure of watching Camilla grow and emerge as a force to be reckoned within Nordic Noir.
But no this is not where she ends, as Camilla Läckberg is a respected business woman who realised that her talent for writing could cross genres to the very opposite of crime, children’s books.
The character Super Charlie was a concept born whilst Camilla was pregnant with her third child. When the younger siblings started asking questions about what was inside mummy’s tummy, Camilla’s writer imagination kicked in and Super Charlie a baby with special powers was born. Closely followed by her son Charlie Mellin.
How can we add to this talented women’s list? Simple a couple of cook books.
Camilla teamed up with an old school friend from Fjällbacka, Christian Hellber. Christian was one of Sweden’s top chefs and Camilla one of Sweden’s top authors. This powerhouse of a duo from a small village called Fjällbacka created the idea of a cookbook with recipes from their home town which produces some of the finest and fresh produce in the region.
TV adaptations of Camilla’s books became a reality in 2007 and followed in 2012 with episodes made especially for television called ‘The Fjällbacka Murders’. Patrick Hedström played by Richard Ulfsäter and Erica Falck played by Claudia Galli Concha.
June 28th 2013 we welcomed the cinema premiere of ‘The Hidden Child’ based on Camilla’s books.
Camilla is also joint owner of the silver company ‘Sahara Silver’ which she also fits around running her music company ‘One Spoon Music’ with music producer and song writer Pelle Nylén.
Camilla Läckberg also spends precious time as the ambassador for the Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation, having three children of her own she puts her responsibilities of being a mum above everything and is passionate about this cause.
The most amazing thing to recognise about Camilla Läckberg is not just the many business ventures that she spends her time working on, it is the fact that not one of them is compromised by time, effort or success because of another.
Each venture is done to Camilla Läckberg’s best ability with 100% being given. She truly knows how to multi-task with her talents, creating an empire which is both respected and honoured.
Photo credits: Camilla Läckberg, Fjällbacka von oben, Richard Ulfsäter
Tags: 'Camilla Läckberg', 'nordic noir', books, crime, nordic style, sweden
Sarah is a 36 years old British mum to 4 daughters, a blogger on IG @the_wormcatcher, a freelance writer for various online magazines and has just finished her debut crime fiction novel 'A Presence of Absence' which is a mix of Nordic noir and brit crime. So watch this space!
Completely in love with all Nordic genres from literary to film, design to food and music to clothes (for Kids) Sarah loves researching and writing about Nordic talents.
Having 4 daughters she is constantly inspired to dress them in Nordic kid's fashion and will now share this with us!
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