For six months last year, I blogged as a fictional character. The idea – inspired by Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds – was to create a fictional world that initially appeared authentic, so that people could step right in, interact with the characters, and almost become part of the story themselves. I’ve always been fascinated with that concept: who wouldn’t want to enter a novel they’re reading, ask questions or give a character a few home truths?
When I moved to Stockholm and the story of a lonely expat who gets drawn into a murder mystery began to form in my brain, I knew I’d found my War of the Worlds.
It felt organic: of course Regan would blog daily about her impressions and experiences struggling to settle into her new life. Within weeks, she had built a fantastic, loyal following, who advised and supported her through culture clashes and the language barrier, a rough patch with Anders and her struggles dealing with his apparently cold and reserved friends.
Regan’s early accounts of being an ex pat in Stockholm are extremely autobiographical: one of my friends only clicked that it was fiction when she realized how much of what happened to Regan had happened to me. I love living in Stockholm, and love Swedish people – but my first year or so was definitely a struggle against loneliness, homesickness and frustration.
I remember at times feeling that I couldn’t read people any more – often I would meet someone and diagnose that they had no interest in being friends with me, then later discover that they were just being Swedishly reserved upon first meeting.
For me it was just a case of getting to know and understand a new culture, but, but it was a ripe emotional state to toss a little murder into! When one of Anders’ close friends is murdered and he is arrested, Regan sets out to clear his name – but unable to trust her perception of the people involved, unable to understand what she hears, it’s easier said than done!
Now that the final blog has been posted, the whole project has been put together into an ebook.
Therefore, Friday 21 February, is Life is Swede day! The idea is to gather up all the fantastic support the blog has had over the last few months – and welcome some new friends into the fold – and see if we can get this little project that could onto the Amazon best seller list for a day! (and also for the rest of all time. But you know, one step at a time)
To pull this off, we need to spread the word as much as possible to everybody in the whole world (ideally) to buy Life is Swede on Friday 21 February. Join Regan’s Army and blog, share, re-post, tweet, like, submit, pin with abandon! There’s even a Facebook group you can join and add your friends to if you really want to go wild!