‘Debut Author Spotlight’ is a new feature here at Book Chick City. We will be showcasing a debut author each week from the genres of horror, urban fantasy and paranormal romance. We will give you all the relevant book information as well as an insight into the author.
Sara B. Elfgren started her career in the film industry as a screenwriter. As a script doctor, she has been involved in several Swedish film and TV-productions. She has a Master’s Degree in Film Studies.
Mats Strandberg is journalist and a regular columnist for Sweden’s biggest evening newspaper Aftonbladet. The organization Sveriges Tidskrifter (Sweden’s Newspapers and Magazines) awarded him the title Columnist of the Year in 2004. In 2008, Sara B. Elfgren met Mats Strandberg. They quickly realized that they shared a passion for supernatural stories about young adults. Soon the idea to write together was born. In August 2009 they began working on what would become the novel The Circle with its two sequels.
RELEASE DATE: 7th June 2012 | PUBLISHER: Hammer | GENRE: Horror
One night, when a strange red moon fills the sky, six school girls find themselves in an abandoned theme park, drawn there by a mysterious force. A student has just been found dead. Everyone suspects suicide. Everyone – except them. In that derelict fairground an ancient prophecy is revealed. They are The Chosen Ones, a group of witches, bound together by a power, one which could destroy them all. But they soon learn that despite their differences they need each other in order to master the forces that have been awakened within them. High school is now a matter of life and death. Because the killing has only just begun.
What’s THE CIRCLE about?
It’s about a group of very different high school students who find out that they are witches, chosen to stop the apocalypse. They have to learn how to control their newly awakened powers. Also, someone is trying to kill them, one by one … But The Circle is also about friendship, forbidden love, self-acceptance, bullying, homework, parents and parties.
Tell us a bit more about the hero/heroine
The main characters are very different from each other, but in order to survive, they must learn to get along and work together for the greater good. This is easier said than done. Especially when you have grown up in a small, depressing town like Engelsfors, where everyone has known everyone since kindergarten. We loved having these different characters to play with. We also gave them magical powers that would challenge them on a personal level. For instance, what happens when the girl who has been bullied all her life suddenly gets total control over others? All of the main characters are very human, they have both good and bad in them.
How did you research THE CIRCLE?
We are huge fans of urban fantasy, horror and teen drama. So in a way, it feels like we have been researching for this trilogy our whole lives. Some of our greatest inspirations have been TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Veronica Mars, Twin Peaks and My So Called Life, and books like Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld and Let Me In by John Ajvide Lindqvist.
Is THE CIRCLE the first in a series or a stand alone?
It is the first in a trilogy, but it hasn’t got a cliff-hanger-ending. We had the plot mapped out for all three books before we started writing the first one. We wanted to be able to create long storylines for the characters and allow them to grow throughout the books.
When is your favourite time to write?
Mats: It depends on the scene. If it’s something scary, or very emotional, I prefer to write late at night. It’s easier to fantasize when it’s dark outside, and no-one calls and interrupts you. It can ruin my sleep cycle, though.
Sara: I seem to be working all the time, constantly. But I’m less nocturnal than Mats. I like the calm of early mornings.
Where is your favourite place to write?
Mats: Again, it depends. But I like to write at cafés or hotel bars. Somewhere not too loud, but still with people around me, so that I feel somewhat a part of normal life.
Sara: I mostly write at home. There are many advantage like free coffee, getting to choose my own music and being allowed to talk to myself.
What was the last book you read and enjoyed?
Sara: I just finished reading Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. I’ve only read his short stories before. He’s was an amazing writer. Today I picked up The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker.
Mats: Dark Matter by Michelle Paver. Right now I’m reading How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran and laughing a lot.
Which authors do you admire?
Sara: There are so many – too many. Some of them are (in no particular order): Neil Gaiman, Octavia E. Butler, Elizabeth Hand, Holly Black, N.K. Jemisin, Philip Pullman, Curtis Sittenfeld, Edith Wharton, Alice Munro, Lev Grossman and Erin Morgenstern.
Mats: Gillian Flynn, Curtis Sittenfeld, Richard Yates, 80’s Stephen King, A.M. Homes, Dorothy Parker, Chuck Palahniuk, Philip Pullman … does Joss Whedon count as an author? If so, he’s on the top of my list.
Describe yourself in five words
Sara: Perfectionist (at work), nerd, creative, organiser, dreamer.
Mats: Perfectionist (at work), slob (in private), worrier, pop culture addict and a teenager at heart.
Mats: We’ve just started writing the third book, and I already feel separation anxiety – both from our characters and from Sara. But I have a few plans. One of them is something completely different, that I always wanted to try. I might have finally have the confidence for it now.
Sara: I’m right there with Mats on the separation anxiety. I have many exciting projects. But first and foremost I would like to write a novel on my own.
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