Ahead of the paperback reissue of Meet Me in Malmö Scottish born writer Torquil MacLeod discussed seeing the book back in print, writers that have influenced his career, and future plans.
Currently based in Cumbria, MacLeod has been travelling to Sweden since 2000 to see a son that lives there. Introduced by his son to serving police Detectives working in the same police station Henning Mankell set the Wallander novels, Torquil was inspired to begin work on a film script before deciding to turn the idea into a novel.
Meet me in Malmo has been available for some time as an e-book. Why the transition to a printed edition?
Meet me in Malmö started out as a hardback, but the publisher wouldn’t reprint it when its small run sold out. So, when I got the rights back, I put it out speculatively as an ebook. Luckily, it has been successful over the last two years, along with the follow-ups. I was approached by McNidder & Grace, who I had worked with before on an art book, and they had ambitious plans for a crime section. They’ve signed up a number of new crime writers, so it seems like an exciting opportunity.
Are you hoping that your book will find a different audience when it hits the high street stores?
I don’t think the paperbacks will necessarily find a different readership; just one which doesn’t like Kindles! I’ve had quite a lot of correspondence from readers who have friends and family who they say would like the books, but are not into e-readers. The same applies to my elderly relatives who would buy the books out of blind loyalty.
Will all your e-books be re-released as paperbacks.
The next two books – Murder in Malmö and Missing in Malmö – are due to be released in June and August through McNidder & Grace.
How important is location to your writing? Could the book have been set in a different city?
Very important. To me, a city, town or rural location is like an extra character. You can’t imagine Morse without Oxford or Harry Hole without Oslo. The location often reflects the main character, and vice versa. In my case, Malmö is almost the brand. It also anchors the stories, even if I the characters wander off to other places – like Switzerland and Berlin in my latest book, Midnight in Malmö. And describing Malmö is also a way of introducing readers to a Scandinavian city. I see it from the outside; it’s a different view from indigenous writers.
Which writers have influenced you?
Though I don’t write spy stories as such, I’ve always been a huge fan of John le Carré. What I’ve tried to learn from him is his use of interviews/interrogations as a way of revealing information and moving the plot along. When I discovered Henning Mankell, I felt an immediate empathy. Not only does he set his Wallander novels in a police station I was familiar with – Anita Sundström was partly based on a friend who worked there – he also places his action in existing locations; blocks of flats, pubs, parks etc. For me they are easier to describe than fictitious ones. Besides, a number of readers seem to enjoy finding them on Google Earth!
What are you working on right now?
I’ve started on an Anita Sundström short story set around Christmas – it may develop into a novella. Then there will be a fifth Malmö novel next year. I may also return to a possible sequel to my Georgian-set crime romp, Sweet Smell of Murder.
Thank you to Torquil MacLeod and McNidder & Grace for making this interview possible.
Meet Me in Malmö can be ordered from Amazon: