So there you are, sitting in a cozy café in Odense, the hometown of the great fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen, enjoying a flaky Danish pastry and a strong coffee. As you gaze out the window at the old, charming city streets, an unsettling thought pops into your head: What sinister secrets might lurk behind the storybook scenery of rural Denmark? You’ve heard the rumors of creepy country manors, isolated islands shrouded in fog, and bone-chilling Scandinavian folklore. Suddenly that sweet Danish sausage you had for lunch is sitting like a rock in your stomach. The idyllic countryside transforms in your imagination into a haunting landscape filled with mystery, menace and murder most foul.
The Inspiration: Capturing the Eerie Beauty of the Danish Countryside
If you’ve ever visited the idyllic Danish countryside, you know it can seem like the perfect escape. Rolling green hills, endless beaches, quaint cottages, and charming villages make for an inviting getaway. But as any fan of Nordic Noir knows, looks can be deceiving. Just think about Nesbø’s ‘The Snowman’ taking place in the beautiful Norwegian winter or Läckberg’s idyllic Swedish town Fjällbacka. The most mesmerizing places but you probably don’t want to go there in a Nesbø or Läckberg novel!
We, Sara Blædel and Mads Peder Nordbo, authors of the Danish crime thriller ‘Dissolved’, have like our Scandinavian writing neighbors attempted to captured the sinister side of small-town living. Just in Denmark, where the village of Tommerup appears peaceful at first glance, but beneath the surface lurks a darkness as unsettling as it is inescapable.
By grounding our novel in an authentic setting, we wished to make its disturbing events all the more believable, and we write about real places because it gives the book more nerve, and because it’s most eerie when you can recognize reality.
This verisimilitude fuels the story’s tension and horror. The basic idea is that the closer to reality we write, the easier it is for readers to put themselves in the shoes of the victims, and by rendering the recognizable strange and threatening, we have crafted a chilling crime story proving that the most frightening terrors aren’t always found in far-off fantastical worlds, but can lurk in the very places we call home.
The Craft: Writing Character-Driven Horror Through Collaboration
When we began plotting our character-driven thriller, we aimed to unnerve readers by bringing horror into the places they felt most at ease. What better way to do so than setting the action in Mads’s hometown, the idyllic village of Tommerup? Having grown up cycling down its cobbled lanes and gossiping with neighbors over back fences, Mads knew every detail that would make its sinister transformation believable. Meanwhile, Sara’s expertise in crafting complex yet relatable characters and airtight plot logic helped bring their spooky story to life.
Through close collaboration we wove our strengths together into a seamless tale of suspense. Bouncing ideas off one another for over a year and a half, we left no sentence unscrutinized in our quest to craft an unputdownable read. The result? A creepy crime novel where we minute by minute let everything disintegrate for our characters and readers alike.
In short: Our enthusiasm for scaring readers fueled us through the new, intensive and likewise living process of writing ‘Dissolved’ together.
Blurring Fact and Fiction: Basing Fiction on Real Places and Events
When writing crime fiction, choosing a spooky setting is key to crafting an engaging story. For ‘Dissolved’, we therefore decided to use the Danish countryside as the backdrop for the creepy goings-on.
As authors familiar with the area, we were able to describe in vivid detail the locations, sounds, and smells to create an immersive experience for readers to easily visualize the idyllic surroundings and put themselves in the shoes of the characters. We hope for our readers to easily visualize the smell and scents of the countryside cycling through Tommerup, hearing the children playing in the schoolyard and the sound of the church bell ringing.
Basing the story in a real place allowed us to blur the lines between fact and fiction, making the horror feel more realistic. We gave ourselves the creative freedom to adapt the setting a bit to fit our needs, enhancing the suspense and creep factor, but we mostly wrote what we felt and saw. We usually say, that when you write crime fiction, you are trying to make readers believe some evil fictional story, and that’s much easier if everything else in the story is true.
Choosing Tommerup as the true setting was in short instrumental in crafting ‘Dissolved’ as an unsettling psychological thriller. It’s normally a quite cozy village yet the details of this charming village became more and more frightening as the disappearances of local victims mount, hopefully keeping readers on the edge of their seats wondering where the evil will emerge next.
We know you feel safest where you know every corner. And we love luring you there so the horror can strike. Consider this your invitation to take a trip to spooky Tommerup…if you dare. The familiar has never felt so frightening.
So there you have it, a glimpse into the deliciously creepy process of crafting crime fiction as a duo in rural Denmark. While the idyllic surroundings may seem an unlikely place for murder and mayhem, the isolated landscapes are perfect for setting an ominous tone and hiding sinister acts. Collaborating on these chilling tales of mystery has been a thrilling ride, and we hope to continue conjuring up more murders, red herrings, and plot twists for our readers. The countryside holds endless inspiration if you just open your senses to the subtle details that make it the ideal backdrop for spine-tingling suspense. Consider yourself warned – you may want to lock your doors after journeying into the mysteries of the Danish countryside!