After many years of screenwriting, often working on adapting books into film, I had an increasing desire to create a universe of my own. I wanted to make my own characters and stories, and, perhaps most of all, I didn't want to censor my writing. Instead, I wanted to take the plot whichever direction I thought was best, deepening the characters and improving the story. I think the inspiration for the Fabian Risk series started with that sentiment: the desire to write freely.
Most of my readers have read an awful lot – at least, much more than I have – which means almost everything in the crime and thriller genres. Consequently, I didn't want to give them another thriller they had already read a hundred times before. I wanted to give them the same feeling they had when they read their first crime novel: that feeling of not having a clue where the investigation would take them or what will happen next, wondering how it will all end, feeling that anything is possible. Somewhere therein lies the energy for this series. I try to invent new plot twists and astonish even the most die-hard crime reader, all while keeping the story believable.
When considering Fabian Risk, I wanted to create a protagonist different from many of his fictional counterparts in the genre. So instead of the stereotypical problems with alcohol, drugs, and divorce that plague the genre, I made him unusually normal for a main character in a suspense series. At least in the beginning. In the first book, Victim Without a Face, he and I had a lot in common; I put much of myself in him. But now, six books later, he's been through so much more violence than me. While I have been enjoying myself – writing stories – he and his loved ones have almost lost their lives… more than once. So today, we are very different.
Accompanying Risk, the leading female character of the series, Dunja Hougaard, is one of those creations that came about by itself. I needed an investigator in Denmark, and I wanted the Danish 'tone of voice' to be different from that of the Swedish police force. When we first meet Dunja she’s at work, hiding in the bathroom with a serious hangover. Since then, she has stayed true to herself, really. The main antagonist of the series, Kim Schleizner, is another character who just appeared to me in all his evil might, and then one thing led to another.
There was no grand master plan. I didn't have it all thought out from the beginning – instead, the series has evolved on its own. I have tried to keep different doors open in my storytelling, leaving a ‘hook’ that I could grab several books later to deepen the story. Many parts of the larger plot and many of the twists that might seem carefully planned were, in fact, not. The series is full of different types of doors that I have put in place. I have entered some, while I have left others closed. At least for now…