Alex Ahndoril(Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril & Alexander Ahndoril) Photo: Karl Nordlund

How awesome that we got to ask you a few questions on the occasion of the release of your new book, thank you very much for taking the time to answer them!

Of course, the pleasure is on our side! 

How did you come up with the idea for writing this whodunnit? 
We have always had a passionate relationship with whodunnit-books because the puzzle itself is at the center and the only way to solve the puzzle is to get to know the characters. The answer always hides beneath the small details and people’s secrets. For a long time now we’ve wanted to write a whodunnit novel set in here and now, but it took us some time to find a workable path. We needed an entry to the genre that felt relevant to us, with psychological credibility and modern relationships. 


Was the character of a private detective with a physical disability there initially, or was the character Julia there first, but lacking the reason why she did not become a police officer? 
It actually feels more like the characters come to us, seek us up and ask us to write their stories. That was what happened a long time ago with Joona Linna and that was also the case with Julia Stark. We both felt that somehow Julia came walking towards us far away on a dirt road. When she got closer we saw that she was leaning on a stick despite being a young woman – and then we discovered that she had a large scar across one half of her face. It turned out that she was very complicated both in her heart and in her brain. As a teenager, she was involved in a plane crash. Her post-traumatic stress disorder still makes relationships difficult, but it also makes her attentive to details and hypersensitive when it comes to people. She experiences certain moments with agonizing intensity, like the last seconds on the plane. That’s why she opened her own detective agency. 


For me, the book had a high ‘Knives out’ feel to it. All the storylines revolve around the house, with its residents/guests. Does the next story also take place in and around a house? Or does Julia take on a completely different case? 
Julia takes on a brand new case, this time in Stockholm, at the Royal Dramatic Theatre. This case, just like in the first book, takes place in an almost closed room, this time the theater building, where Julia has to track down a stalker, who may be a member of the theater ensemble. 

Is Sidney a keeper? (yes please ????) 
Yes, we will definitely meet Sidney again. He is Julia’s ex-husband, whom she is still in love with (despite the fact that she was the one who ruined their marriage). Julia knows that Sidney may never forgive her or love her again, but she hopes that she can keep him in her life by drawing him into her cases. 

The story reads very smoothly, how do you guys ensure this? Do you take turns writing? (it does not feel that way) 
We are constantly writing in each other’s text, changing, filling in and editing, like when jazz musicians sit and jam. It’s very important to us that our books have a strong, unique voice, and we’re glad you think so. 

Did you use a different approach writing this book compared to your books about Joona? 
Yes, there is a very big difference. Alex Ahndoril’s books are not idyllic, but readers will not get any nightmares from them. This new series focuses entirely on the mystery, the web of characters and the logic of the solution. It’s about a crime, a detective, a place and a handful of suspects. As a reader, you get an opportunity to solve the case together with Julia Stark by using your own human knowledge and eye for detail. 

Do you have a number in mind of how many books there will be in this series?  
No, don’t want to limit ourselves, we just follow our passion. But because we became so fond of Julia Stark, we have already finished writing the first three parts of the series, which we call the Key Series – and now Netflix has bought the rights to them. 

Where do you prefer to write and do you do it silently or do you prefer to do it with music? If so, with what music? 
When we plan a story, we talk for a long time, twisting and turning our story, discussing characters, plot and setting. But when we sit down to write, it’s completely quiet. It is magical for us, when we are both filled with inspiration and the only thing that can be heard is the music of two rapidly clicking keyboards. 

Why did you choose another name instead of continuing under Lars Kepler? 
To be super clear with our readers, so they understand that this is a brand new series. You shouldn’t expect Lars Kepler’s serial killers and authentic violence. Alex Ahndoril offers something different. We embraced the whodunnit story, tried to make it modern, relevant and believable – and hope that our passion will connect to the readers. 

When can we expect another Joona Linna? 
This fall will see the tenth book about Joona Linna, it’s called The Sleepwalker and it’s a really terrifying story. 

Are you guys already working on a new book? If so, can you already give away what/who it’s about? 
We always write – and nowadays both as Lars Kepler and Alex Ahndoril, but we never talk about our stories before they have taken shape.  

When was the last time something exceeded your expectations? 
We made a really good pasta yesterday … with salami, pepper fruit, garlic and lots of herbs. It turned out really well. 

Which year of your life would you like to relive again? 
We love our lives the way they are, if it can continue exactly as it is, we would be very grateful. We try to live in the moment and we have three children who always keep us alert. 

Where do you go to think? 
We think well everywhere: in our office on Oden street in central Stockholm, but also in our house out in the archipelago. Sometimes we sit in bed and plan our stories. We have no particular place – thinking and talking and writing fill our lives and is ongoing all the time. 

What mischief did you get into in the past? 
Next question please 😉 

More of Alex Ahndoril on thrillersandmore

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