Richard and Judy Interview: Samuel Bjork on I’m Travelling Alone

Richard and Judy Interview: Samuel Bjork on I’m Travelling Alone

Why do you write under a pen-name?

I decided to write under a pen-name because I wanted it to be a secret who I was. I had never written a crime novel before, so I wanted to make the whole thing a mystery. It worked out quite well for a while, it was a big success here in Norway, and it was really fun watching everyone trying to figure out who had written the book. I felt very liberated writing under another name, it was almost like I could do whatever I wanted without limiting myself. After my identity was revealed it just felt very natural to keep writing the series under this name, to give them a separate feel to my other novels

You are Norwegian and this novel has been a runaway best seller across Scandinavia and Europe. As the writer, do you worry that some things may be ‘lost in translation’?

Not so much, to be honest. I have been very lucky and have excellent translators. I try to work as closely with them as I can, and help them where it’s needed to get the stories as accurate as possible. I have had to do some small changes from the Norwegian version, but this was done before the translators started to work on it and were just minor things that would simply make no sense to the rest of the world, like references to Norwegian celebrities that no one else would have heard of.

This is the first in a series of stories which will feature Munch and Kruger. Did you set out to establish a series, or did you decide the pair had a lot more mileage in them while you were writing this first one?

When I planned the first book I had no intention of this becoming a series, but something happened when I started writing. I found the characters so fascinating and their lives really interested me, so I decided to just keep going. After a while I had so much material about each character, that I had to edit everything down. I now have plans for six books, but we will see how it all works out. I have decided to keep writing for as long as the material feels fresh and relevant.

You are a playwright, and a singer-songwriter – and now a novelist. If you could only be one of those three, which would it have to be?

If I had to choose I would definitely choose being a novelist. Writing these books is very fulfilling, so much that right now it is all I am doing. My experience from writing plays and making albums has helped me a lot, I think my colourful background has made me able to put my own spin on crime/thriller fiction. I think a bit differently than others, and I think that shows in the way I write. I feel very lucky having done all I have. Now, if I want to I can write another play or make another album, but like I said, right now I just love writing these books.