Your name: Lars Kepler
Tell us about yourself: We are a husband and wife team and our real names are Alexander Ahndoril and Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril.
We were writers in our own names long before Lars Kepler. So we knew by experience that writing is one of the loneliest professions in the World. When we came up with the idea to write together we had been married 15 years and had three daughters.
We have always loved to do things together and thought it would be great to share the process of writing as well. But it was a lot more difficult than we had imagined. We made some serious attempts to write together that didn’t work out at all. We started to argue about everything – from literary style to plot – and we put so much individual prestige into every sentence. The result was almost no words, just fights. But we couldn’t accept the failure. We wanted to make a last try and came up with a strategy. We created a totally new author – Lars Kepler – and stated to write a crime novel about a skilful hypnotist. And suddenly our conflict was over. Maybe it sounds strange, but this was exactly what we needed. From this moment, writing together has been an absolute pleasure. It’s just fantastic.
Tell us about your latest book: The Sandman. It’s about Jurek Walter, Sweden’s most prolific serial killer. Jurek Walter is serving a life sentence. Kept in solitary confinement, he is still considered extremely dangerous by psychiatric staff. He’ll lull you into a sense of calm.
Mikael knows him as ‘the sandman’. Seven years ago, he was taken from his bed along with his sister. They are both presumed dead. Walter has one target left.
When Mikael is discovered on a railway line, close to death, the hunt begins for his sister. To get to the truth, Detective Inspector Joona Linna will need to get closer than ever to the man who stripped him of a family; the man who wants Linna dead.
When did you start writing? Alexander has been a writer for more than two decades; he debuted with a novel when he was only 20 years old. Alexandra used to work as an actress in the theatre, but started to write historical novels in 2003. But it wasn’t until 2009 that we started writing thrillers as Lars Kepler.
Where do you write? We have a totally white study in our apartment in downtown Stockholm and an identical study in our house on one of the islands of the archipelago of Stockholm. We’re always writing side by side on two iMacs and are constantly emailing each other.
Which other authors do you admire? We read a lot and we like many writers from different genres. We admire and respect every author who writes with his or her heart. Right now, we are both into Dark Places by Gillian Flynn, which is twisted and fantastic.
Book you wished you’d written? Anything by Dostoyevsky, Rilke and Joseph Conrad.
Greatest fictional criminal: Maybe Jim Moriarty played by Andrew Scott.
Greatest crime or criminal from the real world: We only enjoy the fictional ones.
What scares you? Our own books often scare us. Alexandra is always having nightmares during the writing process. But in the real world, we are scared by war, lack of mercy and how easily people can become monsters in certain situations.
Are you ever disturbed by your own imagination? To have a vivid imagination is crucial for a writer. But sometimes we wish we weren’t that good at imagining everything dangerous that could happen. There is always a period in our writing when we have nightmares every night.
Do you listen to music when you write? No, we just listen to the sound of our fingers on the keyboard of our computers (and Alexander whispering in a creepy way when the characters’ talk).
How can fans connect with you? We always read and update our Facebook page where readers all over the world contact us. We try to answer everybody ourselves (even if it sometimes takes some time).