All Things Danish

The Scandinavians love their murder mysteries – from The Killing to The Bridge, in recent years they’ve been creating world-class thrillers and leading the way in edge-of-your-seat murder mystery narratives. So I couldn’t be happier that the first foreign country to buy the rights to The Blue Lady is Denmark!

Knowing that The Blue Lady is going to be published over there got me thinking about all things Danish. Other than Danish pastries (my favourite of which are the apricot ones), what springs to mind?

Denmark was the birthplace of Hans Christian Anderson, who wrote some of the best, most chilling, haunting and much-loved fairytales for children. Have you read Thumberlina? The Ugly Ducking? The Emperor’s New Clothes? The Little Mermaid? And when I say The Little Mermaid, I’m not talking about the sing-along Disney version where they all live happily under the sea with singing lobsters. I’m talking about Anderson’s version, which is a whole lot darker, scarier and incredibly tragic – all the ingredients you need for a good story in my opinion.

The Little Match Girl

The Little Match Girl

Ever read The Little Match Girl? Now there’s a story! Everyone has a story, or maybe two, that deeply affected them in childhood. This is one of the stories I particularly remember from mine. It’s about a little girl who takes to the streets to sell matches, afraid to go home without selling them all as her father will beat her. It’s New Year’s Eve and the world outside is frozen, so the little girl huddles by a wall and lights matches to keep herself warm. In the glow of the matches she sees visions that make her happy. Among the things she sees are a Christmas tree and the spirit of her dead grandmother, who then carries the little match girl’s soul to heaven when she freezes to death. The next day, strangers look at her body and the reader is expected to feel happy that now the girl is dead she will never again feel the cold or be beaten to a bloody pulp.  This story terrified me as a child. I’m sure I can remember a particularly distressing encounter with my father where I cried about the story and he had to calm me down and reassure me that I wouldn’t freeze to death and no one was going to hurt me, and no I wasn’t expected to take to the streets and sell matches to keep the family afloat. Still, as an over-sensitive child with a radioactive imagination, this story chilled me to the bone. How could we live in a world where such a thing could happen? Even in stories? I’m sure for while I was petrified to go outside in the cold, petrified to hold a match in case it should curse me with the same terrible fate as the little match girl. I still feel slightly uncomfortable thinking about The Little Match Girl now. In a weird way I think that story was my first real encounter with death – maybe that’s why it’s stuck in my memory so.

Talking of all things bleak and Danish – Denmark is also the birthplace to my all-time favourite tragic fictional hero – Hamlet. So in a weird way Denmark feels like the right home for The Blue Lady, a novel about murder and restless spirits.

So yes, The Blue Lady is going to be translated into Danish and published in Denmark and I am VERY excited! HUGE thank you to the brilliant Rights team at Hot Key Books for finding my book a Danish home.

Peace, love and translation rights,

Eleanor xxx

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Karolin
    Jan 05, 2015 @ 18:09:56

    Hello, you post interesting content on your blog, you deserve much more
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    Reply

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