In English

The basics

I am a Swedish writer of historical novels, suspense novels, YA fiction, and books on Swedish grammar. My novels have been translated into English, Spanish, French, German, Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, Polish and Greek. You can read more about rights and translations on my page at Pontas Film and Literary Agency.

Becoming an author

I started writing at the age of four, and ever since then I’ve nurtured the dream of writing novels. I gave it my first try at 18, and failed miserably. After a few unsuccessful years I was left thoroughly humbled and more aware of the hard work that is actually required to write a novel. I was 28 when I finally signed a contract with Piratförlaget and began my life as a published author. Looking back, I am glad that I had those ten years of rejection, to realise what I was doing and what kind of writer I wanted to be.

My novels are very different from each other, but they all touch on the subjects of identity and psychology, and the perspectives of different people. In 2014 I did something different, and released a grammar book with a new and humorous take on verbs: Grejen med verb (The Deal with Verbs), which was followed by several other grammar books. Language has always been my passion – teaching it, learning it and exploring it. In 2017 I finished a series of psychological suspense novels inspired by some of my students, and a YA novel set in the Stockholm archipelago.

Themes in my books

A recurring theme in my books, and in everything I’ve ever written, is the sense of self. The need to be who you are, versus the forces trying to stop you. This applies, I believe, to every single person on this earth, and that’s part of the reason why my stories are so different from one another. A force that dominant is something that influences all sorts of lives and situations, and I can’t resist writing about all the pockets of society that go unnoticed.

My own struggle with identity and self-expression started when I was just a child. Some people would say I was a little girl with very specific interests, others would be franker and call me a nerd. In my early teens I discovered that I liked girls, and my struggle with identity and self-worth got deeper. And stronger. At 19 I decided to live the way I needed to live, and my whole life opened up like a flower. The inspiration for my stories can come from just about anything, but my most profound connection to my novels stems from life experiences like this. I think we all have them, and my wish is that every reader will relate my characters to their own struggles, feelings and experiences.

The novels

Kouplan’s Survival – a tetralogy about the truth (2015-)

Kouplan has problems. His asylum appeal was rejected three years ago, yet he can’t return to his country without risking his life. He dreams of his family every night, yet he is afraid how they would react to him now. He cannot be seen by anyone, yet he needs to get out and make money. In Iran he was a journalist; he should be able to use his skills here. So he writes an ad: Do you need help with research or detective work? One woman answers to his ad. Her six-year-old daughter, Julia, disappeared four days ago, and she can’t contact the police.

The hunt for Julia’s kidnapper makes the first part in the book series about Kouplan. Over four novels, we get closer and closer to Kouplan’s secrets, as he tries to make a living as a private detective. The truth always plays tricks on him, and sometimes on the reader. The Kouplan tetralogy is about a man’s struggle to discover other people’s truths, while doing his best to survive.

Heart of Jazz (Hjärta av jazz) (2013)

The heartwarming story of the teenager Steffi and her unexpected friendship with Alvar, an old man. Steffi is bullied at school, but finds comfort in jazz music by Povel Ramel, a jazz musician who was popular in Sweden during the 20th century. One day Steffi passes the retirement home and notices that someone is playing Povel Ramel on a gramophone. Behind the gramophone is Alvar. Alvar is almost 90, and as soon as Steffi puts a foot in his room he starts telling her about the time, in the midst of World War II, when he left for Stockholm to become a jazz musician. His story inspires Steffi to nurture dreams far bigger than those of her bullying classmates.

Back to Her (Tillbaka till henne) (2012)

A grand and dynamic story about two women in different time periods. Hanna, in the present day, is a disillusioned woman with a crappy life, a boring boyfriend and an oppressive mother. One day, four old items come into her possession by chance. Hanna starts to feel like they have a strange influence on her, and eventually, she decides to find out where they come from. The other woman in the novel is Signe, a teacher in 1906 involved in the suffragette movement, coming into contact with some of its most important figures – which also sparks the beginning of a difficult love story. Hanna’s search for the origin of the four objects leads her to Signe, whose life story starts to influence her more and more. As past and present collide, nothing will ever be the same again.

In the Deep Blue Sea (I havet finns så många stora fiskar) (2011).

This is the story of Malte, a five-year-old boy in a small town in the north of Sweden. Addiction and violence creates a less than ideal home environment, and the ways he tries to express himself are not encouraged at kindergarten. This is also the story of ”the Watcher”, who lives in an apartment facing the kindergarten, and watches the children play outside. When a blonde man approaches the exposed and angry Malte in the playground, painful memories start catching up with the Watcher. This is a novel about being a child, about opening your eyes and making a choice.

Different (Udda) (2009)

A drama about three very different people, young adults in the city of Stockholm. Martin is the well-adjusted store manager who hides a shameful secret about his desires for amputee women. Lelle is his opposite, a loud, out-and-proud lesbian who doesn’t care much about the broken hearted women she leaves behind. When Martin meets Paula, a strict and proper scientist in a wheelchair, the relationship between the three of them becomes both strained … and steamy. This book won first prize in Bok-SM 2009; the judges called it: ”An open, warm and loving story about people who struggle with openness, warmth and love”.

Contact

I give lectures about writing, about my novels and about certain themes in my novels. If you have questions regarding this or anything connected to my work, please contact me at sara.lovestam at gmail.com

I tweet (usually in Swedish) as @sara_lovestam.

My Instagram name is saralovestam. I mostly post pictures of birds, books and gingerbread houses. And the occasional selfie.

I have an official Swedish Facebook page: facebook.com/saralovestam. Since that page touches mostly on Swedish matters, I have also started an international page where I write in English and give news on translations and international events: facebook.com/authorsaralovestam.

For questions about novel rights and translations, please contact Pontas Film and Literary Agency at maria@pontas-agency.com

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