My first book, The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, was published in Sweden the autumn of 2013. It is currently sold to 25 countries and might already or soon be available in a bookstore near you. On this page you’ll find some information about me and my book and things I do when I should be writing a book.
Helen Hanff, she of 84, Charing Cross Road, once said that everyone goes to London looking for their very own version of it, and that everyone finds exactly the London they were looking for. I have always gone there in search of books, literary history, and stories. Like Helen Hanff, I found precisely the London I was looking for. On my first visit to Foyles, when I was fourteen years old, I bought a slim volume of Siegfried Sassoon’s war poem. The book has followed me through life since. On my latest trip, I bought Diana Athills Life Class. I once spent three weeks travelling all across the UK visiting some twenty bookshops, and it remains in my memory the best vacation of my life.
It was right before my first novel The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend was about to be published, and it brought me to Hay-on-Wye. As I stood dazed amongst the bookshops (they counted twenty when I visited, a decline, one of them sadly said. But such were the times everywhere). For the first time in my life I asked myself if it was possible to have too many books. I have since answered that question with a resounding no, but it planted in my mind the first gem of the idea for Great Diddling, a village soon to be swimming in books and bookshops.
When I wrote The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, I had never visited the US. It was in a way my love letter to American literature and novels. I’ve always known I wanted to pay similar homage to British literature, having grown up with Charles Dickens and Jane Austen and the Brontë Sisters (I prefer Charlotte), and Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones, and Stephen Fry … but there’s no point in starting a list that’s impossible to finish (Oscar Wilde, P.G. Wodehouse, Dick Francis, Zadie Smith, and Sarah Waters …). Besides, it’s not just the book, it’s salt and vinegar crisps and warm ale, scones with jam and clotted cream, waiters using more endearments in five minutes than your partner does in a year (“There you go, love”), the cobbled streets, the small train lines with grandiose names (The Great Western, The Great Northern), the manic politeness (saying I’m sorry ten times in a two minute walk), the weather and the conversations thereof. I hope some of that warmth and fondness shines through in my book, even though it might be impossible to capture the entirety of an English village’s quirky charm.
The Pine Creek Motel has seen better days. Henny would call it charming, but she’s always seen the best in things. Like now, when she’s just met an untimely end crossing the road. She’s not going to let a tiny thing like death stop her from living fully–not when her friends and family need her the most.
After the funeral is over, her body is buried, and the last casserole dish is empty, Henny is still around. She’s not sure why, but she realizes she has one last opportunity to help her friends discover the happiness they once knew before they lose the motel and cabins they’ve cherished for years.
“Hopeful, heartening, and humane, this is the novel I needed to read right now.”–J. Ryan Stradal, author of The Lager Queen of Minnesota and Kitchens of the Great Midwest
“Remarkable…unquestionably a page-turner and full of wisdom. A brave, unusual book, which powerfully portrays friendship and love.” –Felicity Hayes-McCoy, author of The Library at the Edge of the World
Once you let a book into your life, the most unexpected things can happen…
Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her book-loving pen pal. When she arrives, however, she finds Amy’s funeral guests just leaving. The residents of Broken Wheel are happy to look after their bewildered visitor — not much else to do in a small town that’s almost beyond repair. They just never imagined that she’d start a bookstore. Or that books could bring them together – and change everything.
There’s a book for every person … and a person for every book.
The village is determined to use the media attention brought by the murder to get more tourists to visit the area. Surely everyone likes a British murder mystery? And what can be better than a real life one? Several villagers sell their confessions to the tabloids to make some cash, and later on they decide to start a literary festival, combining a cozy British village with murder, scones, ale – and books.