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I’m so excited for the July 18th release of A Norn in Bloom, the English-language edition of my 2021 Swedish novel, Sommaren på Nornö.

The book was originally written in English and skillfully translated into Swedish by the talented Hanna Svensson. However, my dream has always been to publish the novel in my native language. Furthermore, many English-speaking readers have been asking for access to this story, so I’m thrilled it has finally come to fruition.

But what did it take for me to get here? Like much of my writing journey, this process was filled with challenges.

I was so happy and grateful for the response Sommaren på Nornö received from Swedish readers. If you got the book and what I was trying to convey, you really got it--as my daughter loves to say :). I queried a handful of literary agents in the United States but received no offers of representation. However, one agent suggested I switch from third-person to first-person POV. Initially, I tried this as an experiment but discovered I preferred how Linn and Zoë’s voices and emotions leaped off the page, establishing a deeper level of intimacy and relatability. Although this agent passed on the book, she gave me helpful feedback!

Rather than continue the time-consuming task of querying more agents, I decided to focus my energy on writing the sequel to Sommaren på Nornö, which took about a year of intense work. I submitted the manuscript to the same publisher in late 2022 but have no news regarding a publication date. Without concrete plans, I felt like I was in author limbo; the waiting game made me insecure, second-guessing myself, my abilities, and my career. This cloud of self-doubt negatively impacted my mindset and I felt anxious internally and blocked creatively.

Luckily, one author who I admire and follow on Instagram, Camille Pagán, is also a master certified coach whose mission is to help aspiring and established authors reach their goals. I needed to reset my frame of mind, so I signed up for Camille’s 10-week session. Aside from plenty of insightful advice and actionable tips, I came in contact with a wonderful community of writers when I desperately needed a safe space to confide my concerns.

Camille made me realize that one of my happiest experiences was when I self-published Lagging Indicators. I enjoyed being in control of my destiny and working collaboratively with an indie book advisor. Wanting to recapture the joy I had once felt in writing, creating, and publishing, I invested in editorial and self-publishing expertise to achieve the best English-language version of A Norn in Bloom I could. This decision has rekindled my passion for the writing life and reaffirmed my faith in the complicated profession I’ve chosen. As I've stated in the past, writing can get very lonely and we writers are at the mercy of gatekeepers, critics, etc. Reclaiming my agency has given me clarity about the type of career I would like to have--motivating me to become a bolder, braver writer.

Many thanks to everyone who has gotten me to this point. I hope you will enjoy A Norn in Bloom. Available in print and e-book from July 18th!

All photos by Stefan Anderson

Today is Morsdag/Mother’s Day in Sweden and it feels particularly symbolic this year. I recently celebrated my daughter’s college graduation; she just rented an apartment in New York. My son will graduate high school in two weeks, and in August, he'll be off to college in the US. It feels as though my years of active parenting are effectively over. I’ll no longer have a child living at home full-time. Both bedrooms will be empty for months until one comes to visit. The refrigerator will no longer stock my son’s protein drinks, and the mountain of laundry I’ve done for the past twenty years will decrease significantly. Furthermore, my kids might decide to stay in the US and never move back to Sweden. I’m adjusting to a new reality.

Frankly, I’ve been processing these changes for a while and spent the first half of 2023 feeling melancholy. A sadness that an era was ending has been quietly spreading under the surface. The shock that time passed by so quickly. Frustration—and guilt—that I didn’t enjoy it enough when they were younger. I got too caught up in the details of having a clean house rather than embracing the chaos of free play. I wasn't too fond of all the driving and running around. Little did I know that their independence and self-sufficiency would gradually build and then hit me with a bang. Suddenly, I was no longer needed in the same way I had (sometimes begrudgingly) become accustomed to. Nowadays, my attempts at inserting myself into their business are not always appreciated. I went from craving time for myself to wanting to hang out with them all the time.

I was nervous in the lead-up to my daughter’s graduation. I remembered those early years as a young family and feared breaking down from nostalgia during the ceremony. Surprisingly, I was flooded with an overwhelming sense of pride, love, joy—and gratitude. Grateful that, somehow, my husband and I had pulled this thing called “parenting” off. My daughter is well-adjusted and ready to enter the world as a full-fledged adult. I can’t stop that progression simply because letting go is hard. As unsettling as this emotion has been, it has better prepared me for my son’s college journey and ascent into adulthood.

Nature has determined that my kids are ready to move on, recalibrating my frame of mind. I’m still their mother but must develop other skills for this new phase. Listening more and talking less. Accepting rather than judging. Suggesting instead of dictating. Opening my mind to the world they live in today--their passions and choices--and not clinging stubbornly to my ideas. They are unique personalities, not carbon copies of me or my husband.

Hubby and I have talked a lot about our future plans. They include reprioritizing our relationship after having the kids as our primary focus, spending lengthier periods of time in the archipelago and America, improving our tennis game, taking up golf (The ultimate cliché! You can groan; I get it.), and nurturing deeper relationships with friends and extended family. Our children fill our hearts and will always take precedence, but we'll give them space to explore and lead their lives. Ostensibly, they’ll also be more time for writing, so don’t be surprised if I cobble together a story about a menopausal empty-nester 😊.

Wishing all the mothers and mother figures in Sweden a very Glad Morsdag!

Today marks the first day of Spring! Despite Stockholm's cool and misty weather, a perceptible shift is in the air. Daylight is longer, the snow has melted, and the birds are chirping. I have much more energy and a renewed curiosity to do things beyond my four corners. However, before embarking on anything fun, I had to get the proverbial "Spring Cleaning" out of the way. Over the weekend, I filled five bags with items to donate and resell. It felt good to clear the excess and emerge with a less cluttered space and mind.

Luckily, there are many new and noteworthy happenings to fill the air. I wish I could see the Vermeer exhibit in Amsterdam, but tickets are sold out even if I had a trip planned. However, New York is on the agenda, and I’ll be checking out the much-lauded Hip-Hop: Conscious, Unconscious at Fotografiska New York, celebrating 50 years of the most powerful cultural movement of our generation. The Karl Lagerfeld retrospective at The Met Costume Institute in May also gives every indication of being outstanding.

Last week’s Academy Awards reminded me how gripping cinematic storytelling is, unlike many drawn-out, inconsistent series. I’m excited to see two new releases generating buzz: the British rom-com Rye Lane and the French heist film, The Innocent. Speaking of French, springtime is practically synonymous with Paris, and I will be going there in April. A visit to the Fondation Louis Vuitton for the Warhol x Basquiat exhibit is high on my list. Their collaboration in the 80s was groundbreaking and had lasting consequences for both artists. Warhol x Basquiat promises to evoke the energy of that era’s New York downtown art scene— my favorite time and place. On the culinary side, I would also love to snag a table at Septime and Chez Janou instead of going to the more scene-y restaurants I typically haunt.

Stockholm unfolds before my eyes this time of year. It may take a while, but the city comes alive once the air warms up and the first cherry blossoms appear in Kungsträgården. A springtime ritual is visiting Rosendal’s Trägård for botanical inspiration and a lovely lunch or fika. Some exciting musical performers are also coming to town. I'll miss seeing Beyoncé on May 10/11th, but I will be grooving to my favorite teenage band, Depeche Mode, on May 23rd.

Spring is always an exciting time for book releases. Not as heavy as Fall or Winter but less escapist than summer reads, spring titles seem to balance depth with relatability. Ann Napolitano’s new novel, Hello, Beautiful, is Oprah’s 100th Book Club pick. After reading an article about Napolitano’s writing journey, I was moved by her talent, humility, and perseverance. I’m also intrigued by Irene Muchemi-Ndiritu's Lucky Girl, a tale about a young Kenyan woman who comes to New York in the Nineties.

Finally, my biggest news this Spring revolves around major family events: a college commencement, a high school graduation, and a milestone birthday. Each celebration will be special—and bittersweet. Change is jarring, and the passage of time seems to march faster with every year. I find myself going down memory lane and having bouts of nostalgia, but I’m determined to be in the moment and not get stuck in the past. I want to savor these high points for our family with gratitude, joy, and optimism for what’s ahead—much like the dawn of Spring itself.

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