Today on the CTG blog I’m delighted to be hosting a guest post by best selling crime writer Gunnar Staalesen as part of the #InheritTheWind blog tour.
And so, over to Gunnar …
I first met Varg Veum when he was 34 and I was 19 – almost 40 years ago. He had just opened his Private Investigator’s office on the Strand quay in Bergen, and I was working as a press secretary at the local theatre, Den Nationale Scene (The National Stage). Since then I have met him many, many times – at least every other year, in the beginning a little more often – and the result is 17 crime novels and about 15 short stories featuring my hero and good friend. I know him better with every year that passes, and I have no problem foreseeing what he is going to say – or what he will do in certain situations. Today we are both elderly people, I am 67 and he is – well, 72. However, because my books are set in the past, Varg Veum was only 59 in the last novel that was published here in Norway (None Is So Safe in Danger) with the action taking place in 2002, before his birthday. In We Shall Inherit the Wind, he is still a young man – only 56 years old …
Varg Veum is the modern kind of protagonist. He grows older, of course, but age is never a problem for a detective – even hardest-boiled ones. Hercule Poirot was around 70 when he started his career, and I guess Lew Archer must have been in his late sixties when we last met him. In August I will start writing my eighteenth novel about Varg Veum, and I have no plans to finish him off for many years yet. This is dependent upon my own health, of course, but my mother died when she was 94, my grandfather on that side when he was 93, so …
Throughout the years I have grown close to Varg Veum. When I first met him, he was newly divorced and had a five-year-old son. Today his son is a grown-up, and Varg Veum has just become a grandfather. Following his marriage, there have been several women in his life – natural for a freewheeling Private Eye like him – but for the last ten years he has been in a steady relationship with Karin Bjørge, who works at the Public Registration office. They were friends long before they became lovers, and she has become a very important part of this life. This goes some way to explaining the shock he is feeling in the opening chapters of We Shall Inherit the Wind, when something very dramatic has happened to Karin … I will say no more. You have to read the book.
I am often asked how much there is of me in Varg Veum, and the truth is that there isn’t much. I am not divorced, I do not drink as much aqua vita as he does, and I am not half as tough and witty as he is. But we are both kids from the same region in Bergen, a bit street-wise and definitely sharing the same view of the world around us, from more or less the same office. And when I drink my glass of aqua vita at the bar in Bergen where you can find Varg Veum’s corner, I always salute him, my closest friend for the last 40 years.
Skål! we say in Norwegian when we lift our glass. Skål, Varg! I say. Happy to have known you, and looking forward to the years to come. Perhaps, Varg, it is you and I who are going to inherit the wind.
A huge thank you to Gunnar Staalesen for making the CTG blog one of the stops on his #InheritTheWind blog tour.
We Shall Inherit the Wind is out now in ebook and on the 15th June in print.
Here’s the blurb: “1998. Varg Veum sits by the hospital bedside of his long-term girlfriend Karin, whose life-threatening injuries provide a deeply painful reminder of the mistakes he’s made. Investigating the seemingly innocent disappearance of a wind-farm inspector, Varg Veum is thrust into one of the most challenging cases of his career, riddled with conflicts, environmental terrorism, religious fanaticism, unsolved mysteries and dubious business ethics. Then, in one of the most heart-stopping scenes in crime fiction, the first body appears…”
To find out more about Gunnar Staalesen and his books hop on over to www.orendabooks.co.uk and follow them on Twitter @OrendaBooks
And be sure to visit the other fabulous tour stops on the #InheritThe Wind tour …
2 thoughts on “#InheritTheWind #BlogTour Guest Post: My Life with Varg Veum by Gunnar Staalesen”
40 years of living with the same character – wow, that takes some doing! Not tempted to kill him off, then, like Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie wanted to do with their creations?
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