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October 10, 2021

Photo: Ariana Ghatan

I’m back! My apologies for the lack of blog updates. My goal has always been to write a monthly post, but the period before and after the release of Sommaren på Nornö took me on an all-consuming but incredible ride. If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you know the novel was chosen as the sommarföljetong (summer book selection) by TT News Agency and serialized in over 30 newspapers across Sweden. The thought of having my words in local papers and reaching such a broad audience had never entered my wildest dreams. Truthfully, I had never even heard the word följetong before and did not know what it meant! But what a privilege and pleasure it was to connect with so many engaged readers around the country. I was also fortunate to receive some media coverage, and being interviewed on Nyhetesmorgon, Sweden’s most popular morning program, was such an honor. However, the most extraordinary part of my book release has been seeing the photos and reviews posted by readers and book influencers. Beautiful vignettes and creative bookstagrams. Honest opinions and deeply thoughtful comments about the narrative. Agnes, Linn and Zoë Holmgren, and the fictional island of Nornö, really took on a life of their own. I have learned so much from this journey and am enormously grateful for the experience.

Things culminated with the Göteborg Book Fair a few weeks ago, where I met other writers and more of the Norstedts team IRL. I love Norstedts and feel so lucky to be a part of their family! Sometimes I feel like the new kid on the block, but everyone is so nice and helpful, putting my nervousness at ease.

Admittedly, Summer 2021 was quite intense, and the last few months have also been a whirlwind of personal travel and celebrating my milestone birthday—interspersed with some book events. As a result, I have felt the need to rest, read, and replenish. At the end of August, I had lunch with Jennifer Lindström, Senior Editor at Norstedts (and the woman who made it all possible 😊) to discuss my next project. I shared my ideas with her, and once we outlined a plan, I felt like I could finally leave my obsessing over the stats and reviews about Sommaren på Nornö behind. It was time to look ahead and move on to the next story.

However, all is not lost. I can now officially announce that I will be writing a sequel to Sommaren på Nornö! Although this wasn’t my original plan, many readers are curious about what happens next and have expressed a longing to read more about the characters. So, you will continue to follow Zoë, but in a new time and place (yet still with her connection to Nornö) and get inside the head of a new character. I am so excited to begin writing and hope you will want to read this new story once it comes out (hopefully Autumn 2022). Until then, you will find me hunkered down over my computer—typing away—but see you in this space next month!

The final cover! My novel will be published on June 3rd.

To say I was on the verge of tears when I saw the first draft of the cover for Sommaren på Nornö would be a complete understatement. I wanted to bawl, sob, weep–so reduced was I to a blubbering sack of JOY! Given the multilayered themes in the novel, I wasn’t sure what element Norstedts would choose to highlight. Instead, the super-talented artist Emma Graves went for a mood, that summer feeling in the Stockholm archipelago when the sun begins to set and the sky is bathed in a rose-gold glow, eventually vanishing below the horizon to make way for the violet-gray night. This fleeting time of year is a character unto itself and the blanket of lavender flowers in the foreground flawlessly evokes the season’s natural beauty. I definitely think shades of purple will be my motif in the visual profile supporting this book. I may even stick to an all-purple wardrobe if I do events haha!

We tweaked the cover a few times before reaching the final image that best represented Zoë Holmgren, the eighteen-year-old girl whose narrative alternates with that of her mother, Linn. Thankfully, Norstedts recognized the importance of authentically depicting Zoë’s biracial traits: her textured, curly hair, tan skin tone and curvy physique. Here are the three previous drafts:

The fact of the matter is things seem so much more real once an author sees the cover of their book, which is usually completed before revisions are even finalized. This gave me extra motivation to dig deeper into the soul of the characters and what I genuinely wanted to convey, no holding back. The manuscript returned from the Swedish translator last week and I’m so excited to read her interpretation of my words and tone. However, she is such a pro and has translated many best-selling authors, including Josie Silver, E.L. James, Paula Hawkins, Jennifer Weiner, Ruth Druart and Mike Gayle, so I have faith she captured the spirit of little ol’ me as well!

I recently participated in a virtual sales conference where Norstedts presented their releases for Summer 2021. I was given a publication date of June 3rd, perfect timing for vacation season. My hope is that people will want to read Sommaren på Nornö while they’re sunbathing at the beach, lounging in deck chairs, or catching some rays on the dock. It was interesting to hear the other writers talk about their upcoming titles and to pitch my own work, giving me a glimpse into the business side of publishing. Sommaren på Nornö is now listed on Adlibris and Bokus–another thrill–and I love the back cover copy. In addition to all of this, I took some new author photos. It was so much fun getting glammed up to look laid-back and casual!

Photos by Hugo Thambert.

I also received a summary of the communications plan surrounding publication and it was very professional, on point, and a bit nerve-wracking! As the oldest publishing house in Sweden, Norstedts’ literary and cultural bona fides run deep. I am so grateful to be one of their writers, but upon reading the document a few words made me stop and think, namely “critics,” “cultural editors,” “review copies,” and “book bloggers.”

This is what I keep telling myself, but it’s more like a fifth child!

After a year of being in my writing bubble, it suddenly dawned on me that Sommaren på Nornö will soon be going out into the world and at that point, every word, all of my thoughts, ideas and contemplations about Zoë, Linn and the fictional world of Nornö will be open for analysis and commentary. This is certainly a daunting thought (!), but I’m also very curious to see how the book will be received. Until then, I’ll probably have to undergo some kind of therapy beforehand…


I’m going into 2021 like this still photo of Diana Ross from the iconic 1975 film Mahogany. Her sharp white ensemble and confident smile radiate positivity and optimism!

After such a chaotic and confusing year, I did not regret leaving 2020 behind. Unfortunately, my husband, son and I contracted the coronavirus in the beginning of December. Although our condition was not grave, we were sick for two weeks, experiencing body aches, congestion, headaches, fatigue and low-grade fevers. My husband also lost his sense of taste and smell for a few days. But the overarching sense of uncertainty over how the virus would hit us was almost debilitating. We wondered every day if we would feel worse and are extremely grateful we recovered. So, I ended 2020 with what I feared the most…

2020 Thank you for all the lessons 2021 I am ready

I suppose that’s why I’m not as self-critical about the year that was. I did my best given the unprecedented circumstances and was reminded that so much is still beyond our control–no matter how hard we try. I did have two major silver linings: more time with my family and a book deal. I feel stronger mentally and am excited about 2021. I’ve deliberately avoided making an exhaustive list of resolutions, but I do have some goals, intentions and dreams for the coming year:

  1. Embark on a consistent wellness and fitness regimen. My motivation and habits shift, especially if I’m under a writing deadline, but I’m having a milestone birthday this year and want to meet it in top form!


  1. Establish a sustainable writing routine. Ideally, I want to write 4-5 hours per day, five days a week. I don’t want to work nights, weekends or vacations (all of which I did last year) unless I have a hard deadline. I don’t want to reshuffle my hours to accommodate others or to compensate for my faulty work habits. Frankly, I get in a bad mood when I’m under too much pressure. To fix this, I will say no to non-essential activities during business hours and sit in front of my computer until some sort of magic happens!

image - 2021-01-04T113227.012


  1. Speak more Swedish. When my novel, Sommaren på Nornö, is published, I will have to talk about it with a Swedish audience and while I am 100% fluent in Swedish, working alone and living in a bilingual household has made me lazy; it’s very easy for me to only communicate in English. Swedes are also highly proficient English speakers which enables me to cheat. In order to step up my Swedish-language game, I need to practice, practice, practice…

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Photo by Marcus Westberg

  1. Begin working on my next novel. I have a new idea that will require some research, but I’ll start with a detailed plot outline to see if the story has any legs. My goal is to complete the first draft of something by the end of the year. I’ve learned by now that if I focus and allow myself to get in that creative headspace, a story will evolve.



  1. Travel mindfully and responsibly. I am beginning to experience some pangs of wanderlust, but I’m longing to return to places I’ve already been. I want to see my family and friends and rediscover sights and sensations. New York City, Italy and warm locales like Miami or the Caribbean are on my wish list. I don’t think I’ll be hopping on a plane for quick trips to random places like I did in the past. I would rather travel less and spend more time somewhere.  

image - 2021-01-04T113224.079


  1. Take the Covid-19 vaccine when my turn in the queue arrives! Aside from strengthening my own immunity (since it’s unclear how long that will last), I believe it’s my civic responsibility to do what I can so we can return to some semblance of normality.

What are your thoughts about the year ahead?

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