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FAQ

Do you have a question for Martin or Helena? On this page the authors have answered the most frequently asked questions. If you do not find the answer to your question, feel free to contact Bonnier Rights.

Martin’s FAQ

Why did you become a writer?
Because I started telling tall stories for my son.

Is Valleby for real?
No. I have created my very own city for them. I think it’s more fun.

How old are you?
I was born 1961. So, you figure it out.

Is it fun being a writer?
It is great fun. Imagine being able to work with your imagination! My son sometimes says, “Daddy you’re just playing all day!” And that’s true. I have the best job.

What do you do when you are not writing?
I enjoy crafting, cooking, and playing badminton.

How many books have you written?
I must admit that I have actually lost count. Soon, it’s probably 100!

Did you read a lot as a kid?
I read Tintin a lot. That was my favorite books.

Which one of your books do you enjoy the most?
It changes from day to day. I’m very fond of The Saffron Mystery.

Where do you live?
In a wooden house in Stockholm.

What were you doing as a child?
I used to play soccer/football and table tennis.

What were your favorite subjects in school?
English, crafts and history.

What did you want to be when you were little?
Archaeologist

Do you have any advices for upcoming writers?
Yes, plan carefully the story before writing it down. The most fun is to plan with someone else.

How long will you continue to write about Lasse and Maja?
Always. It is so very exciting and fun to return to Valleby.

 

Helena’s FAQ

How would you describe your and Martin’s books?
They are clever, twisted, fun and set in nice little Valleby which is home to a lot of crazy and fun people.

When did you illustrate your first children’s book? What was it called?
“Kaspar, Atom-Ragnar och gäddkungen” by Mikael Engström. It came out in 1997.

Is it you or Martin who comes up with the ideas for the mysteries?
Martin. Sometimes I help him with the environments. For example, I wanted to draw a pet shop. Then Martin wrote The Pet Shop Mystery so I had to do it. And Martin wrote The Hospital Mystery because he knew that I liked to dra that kind of environments.

Are you working together or each one separately? Who starts?
We work almost entirely independently. Martin starts with the text. It becomes very backwards to start with the pictures. We rely so much on each other that we do not put ourselves in the other’s job almost at all. But we meet very often anyway and go to meetings and eat lunch together and stuff. We are good friends.

What is a good children’s book?
I think that a good book in general should contain something you can reflect on, a strong sense, a cunning mystery, a world of its own not seen before, or images that triggers the imagination.

Do you think in a certain way when you make books for children?
No, I think not really. I try to make books that I like myself. But you can avoid using too scary violence, and references that children do not understand.

You’ve made a lot of books – what do you think is your best?
I’m very happy for the three picture books about the cowboy girl Olga and her best friend, the horse Sean. That one I have both written and signed.

Do you have children? What do they think about your books?
I have two daughters who are 10 and 13 years old. They’ve read many of my books and watched thousands of my pictures. But I don’t use to modify the pictures as they wish. And now they think it is pretty boring to read mom’s books so they mostly prefer something else.

Where do you work?
I sometimes draw at home, but usually at my office where we are a bunch of people sitting in an old apartment at the top of an old house in Stockholm. It’s fun to have workmates even though we all work with different things.

Do you only work with children’s books?
Now, since about 10 years, I draw only children’s books, but I’ve signed all kinds of pictures over the years. And for a while I’d like to do other kinds of pictures again.

Who is your favorite author / illustrator?
I really like the Jockum Nordstrom and Eva Lindström and an American illustrator named Calef Brown.

Did you read a lot as a kid?
Yes, I read a lot when I was little. I borrowed many books from the library. I still read a lot, but not like I did when I was 10-15 years old.

What do you like to do most, except for drawing books?
I like to ride my bike to the sea where I can sit down and stare at the horizon. But I also like reading books, picking strawberries and watch movies. Go to garage sales, dance and have a lie-in.

Do you have any good children’s book tip?
The books my daughters loved most lately is Ulf Nilsson’s “Kommissarie Gordon, Det första fallet” and Mats Strandberg and Sara Bergmark Elfgrens “Cirkeln” and “Eld”. I personally like “Lennarts listor” and “Boris glasögon” with wonderful images by Olof Landström. “Malla handlar” by Eva Eriksson is also very beautiful. And so Eva Lindstrom’s picture books, of course.