I was beyond excited to make my first trip to Denmark for Krimimessen 2017! This crime book festival is held in the Horsens State Prison, and brings together authors from around the world with a huge crowd of crime fiction readers. I was truly so impressed with this festival—I've never seen so many readers and authors in one place. Plus, the festival organizers and the publishers in attendance were so welcoming and generous! I'm so, so thankful for the amazing experience I had, and will definitely hope to return next year.
Here you'll find a day-by-day recap of my time in Denmark, including both my time at the gorgeous Kurhotel Skodsborg with Sara Blaedel, where I met Tess Gerritsen, and then my time in Horsens at the crime festival, including meeting Jussi Adler-Olsen and Emelie Schepp, interviewing Stuart MacBride and Gabriella Ullberg-Westin, a party with Sara and Yrsa Sigurdardottir, and a whole lot more!
Note: While reading this post, remember that you can click on the photos in the post to enlarge them!
Book Recommendations from Krimimessen Horsens 2017
Sara Blaedel, THE UNDERTAKER'S DAUGHTER (releasing 2018 in the US)
Yrsa Sigurdardottir, DNA (releasing 2018 in the US)
Stuart MacBride, BIRTHDAYS FOR THE DEAD
Authors to Watch: their books aren't out in the US yet, but you'll want to write their names down...
DAY 1 - Thursday, March 30, 2017
I arrived in Copenhagen around noon on Thursday, and immediately headed to Kurhotel Skodsborg - an absolutely stunning hotel located right by the water. I was so lucky to get to spend the night at the hotel and go to an event hosted by Sara Blaedel! Sara periodically hosts Nordic Noir events at the hotel, and this month, she interviewed internationally bestselling author Tess Gerritsen in front of a packed room of enthusiastic crime readers. The format of this event made it so fun to be in the audience—it's held in a small, beautifully decorated room in the hotel, and it's so fun to be in such close proximity with these extremely talented and world-renowned authors.
Sara and Tess' interview was absolutely fantastic! It was informative and engaging, and more than anything else, it was genuine. They seemed to be totally enjoying their time talking with each other, and I learned so much about Tess' books and her background. My personal favorite nugget of information? That Tess grew up watching horror movies, and now has actually made a horror movie with her son! Oh, and that she actually burned down a house in the making of the movie. You can find my full blog post about this event (and with more photos of the gorgeous hotel) linked below - trust me, it's worth a read!
DAY 2 - Friday, March 31, 2017
On Friday morning, Sara gave me a truly authentic welcome to Denmark by taking me to the hotel's spa for a very unique sauna experience! In Denmark, there's a profession called a "saunagus" - it's someone who guides you through a sauna experience that includes three different sessions in the sauna, having a bucket of ice dumped on you, and jumping in the ocean! They also use different essential oils throughout the sessions to give you the different benefits that each oil offers. Honestly, I had no idea what to expect going into this, but it was the most amazing thing I've done in ages - especially the part where we all jumped in the ocean! The hotel has a gorgeous pier that goes right out into the water, and we walked out there in the chilly weather and jumped into the freezing cold ocean water. It was such a beautiful experience, and even though I was so nervous beforehand, I'd do it again in a second! It's totally different from going into a sauna on your own, and about a million times better.
After our sauna experience, Sara and I got ready to head into the city to get lunch with Yrsa Sigurdardottir before Sara had a TV interview in the evening. While we were getting ready, Sara got a call from the TV producer who wanted to know if they could ask me a few questions on TV too!!! Of course I said yes (and was completely blown away by the offer). After lunch, we went over to the TV studio.... and I got to go on TV! The TV host asked me a couple questions about Sara: why I'm traveling to Denmark with her, and what I consider the main strength of her books. I was beyond excited for this opportunity, and so thankful to have the chance to make my TV debut in Denmark of all places!
After our TV interview, Sara and I got in the car and got on the road to Horsens, the town a few hours outside Copenhagen where the crime festival takes place every year. When we arrived in Horsens, I checked into my room at the Hotel Opus, and discovered that I had a view of the prison right from my hotel window. See that building off in the distance, on the hill? That's the old prison that now houses Krimimessen Horsens.
After arriving in Horsens, it was time to call it a night!
KRIMIMESSEN HORSENS 2017
DAY 3 - Saturday, April 1, 2017
Saturday was all things crime festival! I woke up, and headed up to the prison with Sara. Faengslet is the most perfect setting for a crime festival that I could imagine! It's an imposing structure, with looming walls and barbed wire. The festival itself takes place in a number of different stages set up throughout the prison campus, and I loved having the chance to explore the different buildings within the prison as I went from panel to panel. And because book people always need their coffee, the prison even has a charming little cafe—complete with barred windows with creepy hands attached to them!
Saturday morning, I had my first author interview of the festival: this one with Stuart MacBride. Many of you will already know Stuart's name for his wildly popular books including BIRTHDAYS FOR THE DEAD and A SONG FOR THE DYING, among many others! I was totally honored to have the chance to interview him. Our conversation was nothing at all like I expected, in such a great way—Stuart is a very humble, thoughtful, and all-around fascinating guy, and I learned so many details about his books and his writing process that made me keen to dive right into his work. Read our full interview below!
After my interview with Stuart, I ran off to a blogger lunch with Emelie Schepp and Julie Hastrup. The lunch was primarily in Danish, but I was so thrilled to be invited, and to get to meet Emelie and her husband, Henrik! I've worked with both Emelie and Henrik in the past as I've covered Emelie's Jana Berzelius series on Crime by the Book, so it was an absolute pleasure to finally meet them in person!
I then went to an award ceremony for Yrsa Sigurdardottir, who was awarded the Palle Rosenkrantz Prize for best crime fiction novel published in Denmark. Yrsa won this prize for her novel DNA, a recent release which (very sadly!) isn't available in the US yet - but which will be releasing in early 2018. This is such an amazing accomplishment, and I was so happy to be there and see Yrsa receive this award. She's so deserving of it—if you've never read her books before, I highly recommend her standalone THE UNDESIRED.
Following the awards, it was time to do some exploring! I spent quite a while walking around the hall where all the publishers in attendance had booths set up. There were so, so many books, it was basically like walking around heaven! The whole time, I just kept thinking that I have got to learn how to speak Danish so I could buy any and all of the books that caught my eye.
I then met up with Sara again, following a panel she was on with Jussi Adler-Olsen, and she introduced me to Jussi! I've long been a reader of Jussi's books, and now that I work for his US publisher, I'm excited to share that I'll be a publicist for his new book THE SCARRED WOMAN, releasing in the US this fall. Jussi was absolutely wonderful to meet—he was personable and charming, and I was so glad to have the chance to meet him. I also loved seeing Sara in action, signing books and greeting her (many) fans following her panel!
Then it was off to a panel with Sara interviewing Tess Gerritsen! These two just did such a fantastic job every time I saw them in conversation this weekend.
Just like at Kurhotel Skodsborg, their conversation at Krimimessen was lively, and the audience was totally engaged. Tess is a fantastic storyteller, and Sara was so good at asking the right questions to draw these stories out of her! Tess and Sara discussed the first 3 books in Tess' Rizzoli & Isles series: THE SURGEON, THE APPRENTICE, and THE SINNER. I've personally read THE SURGEON and THE APPRENTICE, and wholly enjoyed them both. Tess' books are dark, violent, and totally additive—they have that special something that makes you just want to keep reading. If you're interested in medical thrillers and/or thrillers with both dark plotlines and commercial appeal, Tess Gerritsen's books will be right up your alley.
After Sara's event, I ran off to another author interview! This one was with Gabriella Ullberg Westin, a Swedish crime author whose books are being shopped around in the US right now. Fingers crossed they'll be snatched up by a US publisher soon, because my interview with Gabriella made me so eager to read them!
Gabriella writes crime books with a romance edge, which normally I'd be hesitant to pick up - but throughout our conversation, I was so impressed to learn about the level of research that she has put into writing crime fiction—it made me fully confident that I'll enjoy her books whenever they are translated. She was also just pure fun to talk to! You can read our full interview below, and be one of the first US readers to learn about her work.
Last but certainly not least, I had the chance to sit down with Emelie Schepp for a very quick video for my Instagram! You will recognize Emelie as the author of MARKED FOR LIFE and MARKED FOR REVENGE - books 1 and 2 in the Jana Berzelius series. I've covered Emelie's books quite a lot on Crime by the Book, and it was so fantastic to meet her and her husband Henrik in person! You can watch our quick little video below.
That wrapped up my day at Krimimessen, but the fun didn't end there. After a little break back at the hotel, it was time for the festival dinner! I always love these dinners - they're a fantastic chance to get to know authors in a casual setting. I was seated next to Jakob Melander, author of Lars Winkler series, and of course Sara Blaedel! I had an absolute blast getting to know Jakob—I've "known" him over social media for quite a while now, and it was so fun to meet in person! Meeting him was an excellent reminder that I've got to read book 2 in his series (THE SCREAM OF THE BUTTERFLY). I read book 1 (THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT) last year, and totally enjoyed it!
I also caught up with the one and only Clare Mackintosh at dinner! Clare was on a whirlwind tour this weekend, and she managed to come to Denmark for I believe a total of 16 hours. It was fantastic to have her there, and such a pleasure to catch up with her. Along with being one of the most self-possessed and funny people, Clare is also an absolutely brilliant psychological thriller writer—I highly, highly recommend both of her books, I LET YOU GO and I SEE YOU.
After dinner, it was time for a party! I spent time with Sara, Yrsa, Clare Mackintosh, and Danish crime writer Katrine Engberg. These ladies are so kind and welcoming, and I was just beyond happy to spend part of the night with them! There's something just so inspiring about spending time with these talented, confident, hilarious women who are also such successful crime writers—talk about a dream group to hang out with. Sara, Yrsa, and I tried to get a photo together - below are the hilarious results!
Finally it was time to call it a night! I was completely exhausted after this day, but also so, so happy and thankful to be there. What a truly fantastic day.
DAY 4 - Sunday, April 2, 2017
Sunday was (sadly) my last day in Denmark, and I had very limited time to spend at the prison before I had to pack my bags and hit the road. But I was beyond thrilled to be invited to a breakfast held by People's Press (a fantastic Danish publisher) along with a group of fellow bloggers to meet with three crime writers: Katrine Engberg, Louise Stigsgaard, and Karen Strandbygaard. This was truly such a kind invitation! The talk was originally going to be all in Danish, but they were so thoughtful to make sure I always understood what was going on, and mix in some questions in English as well. The women I met from People's Press were truly so kind and welcoming, and it was so much fun to spend time getting to know Danish bloggers and authors. Read my full post about this breakfast below!
Sadly, after breakfast, it was time for me to head back to the hotel and pack my bags up. Side note: the hotel that the festival-goers stayed at (Hotel Opus) was gorgeous, too!
I was truly heartbroken to leave Denmark—I had such an outstanding weekend, and made so many new friends.
Before I sign off, I owe huge thanks to: Sara Blaedel, Vibeke and the organizers of Krimimessen, Mette from HarperCollins Nordic, Lene from People's Press, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Stuart MacBride, Gabriella Ullberg-Westin, Katrine Engberg, Emelie Schepp, and many, many more for making my weekend such a memorable one.
Denmark, I will absolutely be back for you soon!