I'm just an entertainer. In a way crime stories are boring. A crime's been committed and at the end you know it will be solved. So you've got to make the story interesting besides it just being a plot. And that's why character matters, why you've got to make the characters interesting.
At nineteen I was pretty sure I was going to be a professional soccer player. At that time I played for one of the Norwegian premier leagues. But I tore ligaments in both knees, so I started studying business administration and economics and became a financial analyst, and I worked at a brokerage firm as a stockbroker.
In most sports, your brain and your body will cooperate... But in rock climbing, it is the other way around. Your brain doesn't see the point in climbing upwards. Your brain will tell you to keep as low as possible, to cling to the wall and not get any higher. You have to have your brain persuading your body to do the right movements.
Not even the brightest future can make up for the fact that no roads lead back to what came before - to the innocence of childhood or the first time we fell in love.
For me, the best places to write are on planes, trains and at airports. Not hotel rooms but hotel lobbies. I'm really happy when I'm waiting for a plane and the message comes that it's three hours late. Great, I'll get to write!
For many years, it seemed as if nothing changed in Norway. You could leave the country for three months, travel the world, through coups d'etat, assassinations, famines, massacres and tsunamis, and come home to find that the only new thing in the newspapers was the crossword puzzle.
I don't have any writing routine. Sometimes I go to my local coffee shop and I write there for some hours. Apart from that, I am traveling most of the time. I write in airports, trains, hotel rooms... I can write anywhere.
As a writer, you have to believe you're one of the best writers in the world. To sit down every day at the typewriter filled with self-doubt is not a good idea.
You can't visit readers where you think they are. You have to invite them home to where you are and try to lure them into your universe. That's the art of storytelling.
Until the Eighties, Oslo was a rather boring town, but it's changed a lot, and is now much more cosmopolitan. If I go downtown, I visit the harbour to see the tall ships and the ferries, and to admire the modern architecture such as the Opera House or the new Astrup Fearnley Museum on the water's edge.
I was sleeping in a water bed for a couple of years, recommended by my doctor. I was never comfortable in that water bed. In the middle of the night you would hear something happening - water and bubbles. I would always think there was some intelligent life in the water bed.
Thanks to the success of Henning Mankell and Peter Hoeg, there wasn't the same stigma attached to writing genre thrillers in Scandinavia as there was in many other cultures. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Those golden minutes before you are completely awake, when your mind is just drifting, you have no censorship; you are ready to develop any kind of idea. That's when I come up with the best and worst ideas. That is the privilege of being a writer - that you can stay in bed for an hour in the morning and it's work time.
I have questioned myself about the brutality in the last few novels. Actually in 'The Leopard,' in hindsight, I feel I went a little bit too far with screaming blood. There are a couple of scenes that I regret and wish I had the chance to rewrite. 'Phantom' has less blood.
The stock market to me was like a video game. When it went off, it was like turning the game off. It wasn't something I'd think about until I'd turn the machine on again.
Ever since the '70s, Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo were the godfathers of Scandinavian crime. They broke the crime novel in Scandinavia from the kiosks and into the serious bookstores.
I don't think I'll ever feel as famous or as popular as I felt when I was a 17-year-old soccer player in Modle. Only about 20,000 people live there and 12,000 of them come to every game. Running onto the pitch each week was just the most fantastic feeling. Nothing can beat that.
My father grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., with my grandparents. In Norwegian my name is pronounced 'Yoo' but my father used to call me 'Joe.'
What do we mean by 'crazy?' What do we mean by 'mad?' At what point is a person just different and at what point can we call it a disease and say that they are not responsible for their actions? Or are we all slaves to the chemical processes that go on in our brains?
When you go visiting countries, you start reading the history of the place and you start getting into the culture, and then you have to leave. In my experience, all countries have hidden treasures.