Getting to know Simona Ahrnstedt


Photo: Jennifer Nemie

I mentioned earlier that I’d read Simona Ahrnstedt’s Överenkommelser, a Swedish historical romance that spurred me to read Swedish novels again. I sent Simona an email and told her how much I’d enjoyed her novel. Then I thought, let’s find out a little more about Simona and how she writes. Here’s what Simona told me…


How long did it take to write Överenskommelser?

I started in January 2007 and finished in May 2008. Then I revised the finished manuscript at least twice.

What inspired you to write Seth and Beatrice’s story? Are they inspired by real people?

I was inspired by romance novels I’d read. Seth and Beatrice are completely fictitious, even if I borrowed characteristics from historical people I’d encountered during my research.

How would you describe your writer’s process? Do you write every day and for how long?

I write as soon as I have any free time. The first thing I do every morning is turn on my computer and write a little. It’s also the last thing I do before I go  to bed. I can write anywhere from ten minutes to several hours a day, depending on my workload.

Did you have any support from other writers while you were working on Överenskommelser?

No, I didn’t know any other writers when I started writing Överenskommelser, had barely met an author. However, I did come into contact with a writing coach while I was writing Överenskommelser and her help meant a lot to me and my writing.

Överenskommelser has already been translated to several languages. Is an English translation in the works?

Unfortunately, no–at least not yet.

What are your desert island books?

A notebook! I rarely ever reread books. If I were stranded on a desert island, I would probably most want to have a survival handbook with me…

Have you started working on a new book? If so, is it in the same vein as Överenskommelser?

Yes, it’s also a historical romance.

You are the first Swedish romance writer. Why do you think it has taken so long for a Swedish writer to take on romance as a genre?

Here in Sweden, people look down on these types of stories. I think it’s because we have worked so hard for equality. For them, romance has a negative ring.

If Överenskommelser were a movie, who would you want to play the roles of Seth and Beatrice, and why?

Ha-ha! I don’t really know. I’ve always imagined Seth as looking like Clive Owen. But Beatrice…I’m not sure who could play her part.

What was the best piece of advice you were given while you were writing Överenskommelser? What advice do you have for writers just starting out?

It’s better to write something awful than to not write at all. You can always revise it if it’s bad!

To learn more about Simona and Överenskommelser, head over to her blog

4 thoughts on “Getting to know Simona Ahrnstedt

  1. Pingback: Simona Ahrnstedt

  2. Excellent interview! How amazing that Sweden has just one romance writer so far! I’m sure more will come but I find that absolutely bizarre. There is romance of course in Stieg Larsson’s trilogy, but it’s not the sweet romantic kind: (1) the newspaperman/hero (I forget his name) is a rough type who’s been having a standing affair for 20 years with a married woman while hubby watched on, not feeling particularly jealous (that’s something that would be unthinkable in Italy, ha, ha!); (2) the young brilliant hacker is naturally in love with him without admitting to it (she’s also bi-sexual). All that makes for a very smokey atmosphere – I assume very different from what your author is writing…

    But do Swedes only like smokey stuff? Wallender is another one – very smokey. Or are the times (and tastes) a-changin in Sweden?

    • Thanks, Claude! When it comes to romance, I think Swedes think that it’s shallow to write about romantic relationships. Even when watching the progress of relationships between younger Swedes, there seems to be an absence of romance. There aren’t many Swedish films that delve into love–I think the entire country has become obsessed with crime since there isn’t very much of it here. 😉

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