When Hildur Sif Thorarensen was getting ready to move from Iceland to Norway she didn’t realise just how much her life was about to change.
The 32-year-old had always wanted to live in Norway, and a course in medicine at Oslo University have her the opportunity she’d long been looking for.
“I feel like I’m in Iceland when I’m there,” she confessed. “Norway has a real feeling of community – people are so friendly and easy to approach.”
But it also meant brushing up on her Norwegian, and doing lots of preparation for medical school. On a break from her studies, Hildur started talking to a friend who revealed he’d been seeing a French vampire who lived in a dungeon.
“She even had snakes in her bed,” Hildur revealed. “At first I thought my friend was lying to me, but then he sent photos and I soon became a believer.”
Realising that truth is stranger than fiction, Hildur – who had studied creative writing at university and worked as a journalist – began writing a crime novel that could trump her friend’s outrageous tale.
The result was, Einfari, which means Loner in English. Einfari tells the story of Alexander, an American with a Norwegian heritage, uproots his life in Boston to move to Oslo. There Alexander meets Hercules the “savvy homosexual with a great eye for detail” and Erik an ex-military brute, who help him find the murderer who killed an Icelandic man with a Cupid’s arrow.
By her own admittance, Einfari is a world away from typical Scandinavian crime.
“I’ve been reading crime for a long time, but Scandinavian crime is often very dark and gloomy,” Hildur said, quickly adding that: “My murders and my killers are quite gruesome, so don’t expect a walk in the park!”
She’s already hard at work on a follow up featuring Alexander and his friends and hopes that her work will eventually be translated into English.
“My next book will be more difficult to read emotionally – but still funny,” she added.
MY SCANDINAVIA: Hildur’s five favourite places
Nyhavn in Copenhagen, Denmark, with all the colourful houses. I generally find all the bay areas in the city beautiful even though they are often very different.
The Westman Islands in Iceland. I lived there for a year and it is one of my favorite places in the world.
The Diamond Indian Cuisine restaurant at Majorstuen in Oslo, Norway. They have wonderful Indian food and it‘s a cozy, quaint place that’s great for a date.
The Opera House in Oslo. It is an architectural genius to allow people to walk on the roof and give them a place to view both the entire city as well as sea.
The narrow streets in downtown Stockholm, Sweden, with all the small stores and artists playing music on various instruments.