Rebecka Edgren Aldén is a journalist and editor of the women’s magazine Damernas Värld. She lives in Nacka outside Stockholm.
In 2015 she made her literary debut with the suspenseful page-turner
The Eighth Deadly Sin, followed in 2017 by the rock-solid thriller
And Flowers Die.
Here are a few Q&A’s to Rebecka Edgren Aldén, from december 2015:
Who is Rebecka Edgren Aldén?
I am a journalist who have always dreamt of being a writer. I read a lot and I always long for time to write. Currently I work as the second editor in chief for a big fashion magazine in Sweden, Damernas Värld. Well actually, the largest fashion magazine in Scandinavia. Personally, I'm more into literature than fashion, but I love making magazines!
I live with my husband Björn and our three children, Morgan (14), Ellinor (12) and Simone (8), outside Stockholm. We also have a puppy, a Jack Russel-girl named Charlie. Three times a week I train young girls (8–9 years old) in gymnastics. I teach them to do all kinds of somersaults and backflips. I so enjoy gymnastics and to be a trainer.
In The Eighth Deadly Sin, your debut novel, we follow Nora, a successful self-help author with a broken past. What was your main inspiration?
My inspiration was actually a book by Barbara Ehrenreich about the 'industry of positive thinking'. The belief that you can be happy and successful if only you make up your mind and believe it hard enough. Nora, my main character, strongly believes in this because it works for her. But when a new neighbor moves in down the street it suddenly doesn't work anymore.
I think that life is much more complicated than what these 'life coaches' preach. There are no easy recipes to achieve happiness. But also, I wanted to comment the image of the fantastic and happy life we show through social media.
I love thrillers. I love to read books in the genre domestic noir, like Gone Girl, Girl on the Train and so on. That is why I write in that genre. I write what I myself would like to read – scary thrillers but without homicides and police work.
Did you have a theme for the book?
Yes. The book is about authenticity and status. About who you really are, and how hard it is to be true to yourself. For example, many of us today show a false image of our lives, with a nice filter on it, from the right angel. It's perfect for Instagram, but what does that fake images do to us? I too struggle with this in my life. Of course I don't want people to see my dirty laundry or ugly morning selfies... But at the same time – what happens if we only show the sunny happy days? I think many of us struggles with this.
Nora's new neighbor Klara doesn't react to Nora the way other people do. That makes Nora insecure and the façade of her perfect life starts to crack. The past comes to life, the truth bubbles up to the surface, and that's when it starts to become scary. You could say that her fake life is crumbling and that she has to face the truth.
As parents, our worst fear is always that something bad will happen to our kids – also for Nora in your book. But still she knows that she isn't able to fully meet the needs that they have, in particular her daughter Saga.
True. There was a survey made in Sweden, asking Swedish people what they thought would give them the most status. Being a good parent was the number one top answer from women. Nora is all about status. She has it all, she is rich, famous, successful, beautiful... but she is not a good parent. And she can't reach out to her daughter Saga (a common name that means fairytale in Swedish). Nora has a fantasy about having a daughter that doesn't match the reality. It's a big frustration, something that she can't control – another human being. She can display her beautiful successful life, fake many things, but she can't fake the relationship with her daughter. When her neighbor Klara connects with Saga, this really humiliates and threatens Nora.
Who would you like to read this book?
Anyone who like thrillers. And anyone who is interested in the human mind and psychology. It's the right book for people who likes thrillers but don't want bloody murder and hardboiled police action.
Will there be a new novel after this?
I'm currently writing a new book in the same genre. It's about dignity and human values: are all people equal in worth? I want it to be dark and mysterious and really scary!
It is soon Christmas, what would you most of all wish for?
Maybe it's a cliché but in these times I really wish for peace and for all hate between people to sieze. I am, of course, really upset about the terrible things that are happening in our world and I hope that we can meet these terrible deeds with love instead of hate. And then I wish for some lazy time with my family, a white Christmas and many new books to read. And of course for more time to write.
I hope more people will discover and like The Eighth Deadly Sin. And I look forward to write many more books!