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Putting Authors in the Picture #18: Will Dean

Liz Robinson

By Liz Robinson on 5th March 2020

Our author in the picture for March is Will Dean, who has written the must-read Tuva Moodyson series of crime books set in northern Sweden. Dark, somewhat quirky, and bursting with attitude, this is one series I can highly recommend. Start with Dark Pines, follow with Red Snow, and then for his latest, join Black River, which is one of my Liz Robinson picks of the month for March. Will Dean lives in rural Sweden “at the centre of a vast elk forest, and it’s from this base that he compulsively reads and writes”. I can’t wait for you to take a look at these photos, who can imagine themselves sitting at that deck with the stream and setting sun! The sleeping photo had me chortling and the setting for his favourite book made me ‘oooh’. Take a peek at my review, and then join reporter Tuva as she desperately searches for her best friend Tammy, it’s another whammy of a story.

Favourite reading/writing spot:

I live in a boggy clearing at the centre of a large forest in Sweden. We have no close neighbours, paved streets or piped water. No takeaways! We use logs for heating and cooking. I write in one of two places: an upstairs room (at a cheap IKEA dining table), or a small isolated cabin in the clearing. I wear earplugs and always have the blinds pulled. I read everywhere I go – trains, planes, audiobooks in cars or when chopping wood. My favourite reading spot of all is the deck outside my cabin (with my St Bernard sleeping by my boots).

The photo that best sums up your writing story: 

I write my first drafts in 4 weeks. Somehow it still takes me around 2 years to finish a book but my initial drafts are fast and intense. I write a chapter in the morning and a chapter in the afternoon, and the rest of the day is spent thinking about Tuva Moodyson and the fictional town of Gavrik. This photo was taken the day I finished Red Snow (Tuva 2). I was exhausted.

Favourite book cover to date:   

I’ve been very fortunate with all my covers, and my very talented cover designers. They’ve been superb. Dark Pines won a global cover competition and will always have a special place in my heart, but the cover for my latest, Black River, is my favourite. It evokes wilderness and nature.

Location inspired you:  

I’m constantly inspired by the Swedish landscape. Whether it’s my own forest or the wilds of Varmland or the beauty of an archipelago – you’ll often find me outdoors with my dog staring at a tree or at the sky.

Most memorable book event:  

I’m a forest hermit but occasionally I leave for a book event and I always love meeting readers and booksellers. Whether it’s a local library or appearing on TV, it’s a privilege to talk about Tuva and her stories. I’ve been fortunate to be a keynote speaker at the Hong Kong Book Fair and talk at fantastic book festivals, but my favourite memory is the Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival 2018. Val McDermid chose my debut, Dark Pines, along with the debuts of CJ Tudor, Dervla McTiernan, and Stu Turton, as her New Blood picks of the year. Val is a hero of mine (for many reasons) her enjoying my book means a lot to me.

Most beloved and well-read book:   

My favourite book is The Road by Cormac McCarthy (other contenders are Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, On Writing by Stephen King, The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters, We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, and A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson). I reread The Road each year. The intensity of the book (and the central relationship) along with the nature descriptions, leave me in awe. People often comment how depressing the novel is, and I see their point of view, but it’s actually much less depressing when read for the second or third or tenth time. I think it’s a masterpiece.

A booky photo that makes you smile:

Flying back from my UK tour in 2019 for Red Snow I spotted my book in the airport next to Ian Rankin’s latest. I’m a huge fan of Ian and his work, so seeing my book on the same shelf as his was a dream come true.

Keep up to date with Will Dean:

Twitter: @willrdean

Instagram: @willrdean

If you enjoyed this why not check out our other 'Putting Authors/Illustrators in the Picture' Features?

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