Like many I really loved the Millenium Series both for the plot, but even more so, for the characters of Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist. The series was The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. Author Stiegg Larsen’s books received great reviews and became best-sellers…but there was a problem: He had died in 2004 and his books were published after his death.
In 2013 author David Lagercrantz was commissioned to continue the series. Resuming a series started by another is a tough challenge. Some, like Ace Atkins, who has done an awesome job continuing the Spenser series after Robert Parker died, have done it well. But it’s not an easy task. Since being commissioned, Lagencrantz continued the series with The Girl in the Spider’s Web in 2015 and The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye in 2017.
Which brings us to his new book, the latest entry in the series, The Girl Who Lived Twice. Lagencrantz will be speaking at Book People on Friday, August 30 at 7pm.
Lagencrantz was kind enough to allow me to interview him for this book.
Scott Butki: What inspired your newest novel, The Girl Who Lived Twice? Where did you first get the idea for this story?
David Lagencrantz: I first got the idea when I caught sight of a beggar sitting not far from my home. Suddenly I felt that I really saw him, and started wondering about his life, his story. I began to think of a way to tell the story of his life alongside a story of absolute power in society. I carried an old dream of depicting the whole structure of society in one mystery. I also knew from the beginning that this book would contain the final battle between Lisbeth and her sister.
S.B.: Your books are very complex. Do you write from an outline?
D.L.: No, actually I don’t ever do that. It is a constant process inside my head. I never take notes. I imagine that the best ideas will make themselves clear, and will be refined as I keep writing.
S.B.: Tell us about the moment you learned you were inheriting Stieg Larsson’s infamous series. What did that feel like?
D.L.: That was explosive! Crazy. I was terrified, scared to death and could not wait to get started. All at the same time.
S.B.: Do you worry about straying from Larsson’s tone and style, or at this point, do you feel comfortable making changes and incorporating your own voice?
D.L.: At this point I feel free and confident, comfortable to use my own voice within Larsson’s framework.
S.B.: What do you hope readers will take away from these books?
D.L.: I hope that they will have great fun. And that the books will make readers aware of the horrifying threat that fake news and disinformation is to our society.
S.B.: You have made some incredible donations from the profits of your books to literacy and journalism nonprofits in Sweden. Why are these organizations important to you?
D.L.: Both literacy and journalism are based on freedom of speech and the free word. Free speech is fundamental in a democracy, and we all must do our utmost to protect it. That is why I support Swedish PEN and the Swedish Reading Society.
S.B.: What are you working on next? Another Lisbeth novel, or something else?
D.L.: I am very excited to tell you I recently signed a contract for a crime trilogy! I cannot wait to get back to my writing.
Be sure to come by BookPeople on August 30th at 7PM to hear David in conversation with local author Chandler Baker to discuss all things The Girl Who Lived Twice.