Taking a chance

In the Shadow of Sadd was long in the making. The idea of combining related short stories to construct a novella had been in my mind for years. For old-school publishers, it was, of course, a hard sell. I didn’t have to ask around to arrive at that conclusion – if you choose to work in genres, you have to play by the genre rules. Publishers and booksellers, as well, were not likely to bite, for fear that such a title couldn’t be marketed effectively.

So there I was, a man with a crazy dream: I wanted not only to break the rules of the crime novel by constructing a narrative in four short stories, I also wanted these stories to be written by different writers.

I was a mad man, wanting to do a book like that.
I knew it.
It was an impossible book to get published. End of story.

Until I went indie. In 2002 I left Gyldendal, the most prestigious publishing house in the country, and founded my own publishing house, 2 Feet Entertainment, and in celebration of my newly-found artistic liberty I simply had to give this crazy project a chance.

I told myself that if we indie writers weren’t willing to risk the thin ice of the unconventional, where the established publishing world didn’t dare to tread, we did not deserve to call ourselves independent writers at all. If you believe in it, you have to take a chance and give it a try.

I knew it wouldn’t be easy. I had to find three talented writers who were willing to work on this book, and, in addition, I had to find writers who had the right voices for the characters in each short story; and they had to be writers who would accept the conditions of this project, which were basically that I was the boss.

The writers would have to stick to my plot, as there was little room for them to move their quarter of the story in any other direction. The connection between the four short stories had to fit like a jigsaw puzzle.

I was lucky to gather a team of three of the most talented Danish crime writers around, and I’m so grateful that they were willing to use their skills, their time and their patience to help me tell this story.

If you haven’t read them yet, you should check them out. They are, of course: Sara Blaedel (author of the international bestselling series featuring Detective Louise Rick and journalist Camilla Lind), Gretelise Holm (author of the bestselling series featuring Journalist Karin Sommer) and Lars Kjaedegaard (author of the bestselling Hvid & Belling-series).

And myself?
I’m just the mad man with the impossible idea.
I hope you’ll enjoy it.

(And by the way, this book ended up being one of my bestselling novels ever.)


About steenlangstrup

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