Ragnar Jonasson is the award winning author of the international bestselling Dark Iceland series. Ragnar released Snowblind the first in the Dark Iceland series, and the novel went straight to number one in the Amazon Kindle charts, with his second novel Nightblind doing the same thing in the Australia charts. Quite a remarkable achievement for any author. Ragnar Jonasson has also had his writing recognised by numerous awards and recognitions, including the Mörda Dead Good Reader Award in 2016 and his first in the series Snowblind being selected by The Independent as one of the best crime novels of 2015 in the UK. Ragnar is also the co-founder of the growing Reykjavik international crime writing festival Iceland Noir, and is a part of the UK Crime Writers’ Association. So needless to say, when it comes to crime writing – Ragnar Jonasson is a force to be reckoned with. Some of my previous guests have listed some of Ragnar’s novels in their interviews, so I was keen to speak to the man himself. Please enjoy my interview with the supremely talented Ragnar Jonasson…
When someone asks you ‘what do you do for a living?’ – How do you respond?
Usually I respond that I am a lawyer, because that is my day job.
I am currently reading lots of books, as always. I am reading; Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough, Yesterday by Felecia Yap, Agatha Christie on Screen by Mark Aldridge, Ör by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir, and re-reading The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie.
When you think about your childhood, what book comes to mind?
It would probably be Enid Blyton’s books.
Can you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. It was called Óli fer í ævintýraferð (Oli Goes on an Adventure Trip). I think I still have the only copy, I was probably around 6. Some years later I also remember writing crime stories set in London.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I think I always wanted to be a writer.
What do you think your school aged self would think of the present day you?
I think he would be quite proud to have books published in so many countries.
If you could wrap up a single book and gift it to yourself as you left education – which book would it be?
I would gift my younger self Fermat’s Last Theorem by Simon Singh.
Does your reading have routine? Is there a particular time or place that you like to read?
Usually late in the evening, although I often don’t have much time to read.
Probably reading Agatha Christie, as that led to translation and then writing. The first Christie book I read was Evil Under the Sun.
What two pieces of advice would you give a young aspiring writer?
My two pieces of advice would be to have your own voice, and don’t give up.
Do you have any books that you strongly associate with someone important in your life?
Usually books given to me by my family, or indeed written by them, such as my father or grandfather, but also my books are dedicated to people important to me.
What book have you recommended the most to friends and family?
The book I’ve recommended the most is The Greenhouse by Audur Ava Ólafsdóttir.
Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction?
I prefer fiction. It has no boundaries, as the imagination can be limitless.
Do you think reading is important?
Yes, it is. I can´t imagine life without books.
What’s the best book you’ve read in the last 6 months?
I would say the best book I’ve read over the last 6 months was The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravatn.
I love real books, old and new, and have a very, very large collection of books, so I have to say I prefer them, although I do of course read digital books as well on my Kindle.
What is the book that you feel has had the single biggest impact on your life?
Probably reading Christie, as I mentioned previously. Also reading my fellow Icelander Olaf Olafsson, who demonstrated to me that it was possible to write books while also pursuing a very different career in business.
Are there any books you haven’t mentioned that you feel would make your reading list?
I would mention PD James, one of my all time favourite authors.
What books or subject matter do you plan on reading in the next year?
Mostly fiction, a mixture of crime fiction (both new and Golden Age) and non-crime.
If you were to write an autobiography – what would it be called?
I have no idea. (I’ll leave it to readers to guess whether that’s my answer to the question or the title of the book).