Saturday 27 November 2010

Dancing With Myself: STAFFAN BRUUN interviews STAFFAN BRUUN

I'd like to thank Staffan for doing this. I'd also like to offer a big thank you to Paivi Ruottinen of the Elina Ahlback Literary Agency for her professional contact and for allowing an editor/translator to make this perfect.

Scandinavian Crime fiction is our flavour of the month so, if you're in the business of publishing, why not come and get a taste of Staffan before some other publisher snaps up the rights for the English translations? Suck it and see?

1. Who are you, Staffan Bruun?

I´m a reporter on the Hufvudstadsbladet, a Helsinki daily. I’ve been doing a radio show every Saturday for 22 years and I write books, mainly crime novels. So far I´ve published eleven novels but there are more to come.

2. Tell me more about your books

Why? You should read them.

3. Have they been published in English?

Alas no, but I hope they will be translated one day. As a representative of the Swedish-speaking minority in Finland, I write my books in Swedish. As all my books have been translated into Finnish, you can read them in Finnish or Swedish. And, I almost forgot, the novel Struggling Love (2008) has been translated into Bulgarian. Does that help?

4. I´m afraid not. My Bulgarian is a little rusty. Your hero is a guy called Burt Kobbat. Who is he?

Like me, he lives in Helsinki, he’s a little over 50 and has worked as a reporter. He likes the same sort of food and drink as I do and he is a keen football fan, just as I am.

5. Is this man your alter ego?

No, because he does lots of things I wouldn´t do. For example he gets into serious trouble in every book. And he always gets out of trouble in some dodgy way. I couldn´t manage that. And Burt Kobbat drinks more than I do, and he also has affairs with beautiful women. It´s easy for him because he´s divorced - I´m not. I’ve had the same wife all my life and now I have three adult kids. Kobbat’s family situation is totally different.

6. What kind of trouble does Burt Kobbat get into?

It depends on what is going on in his world. In my novel The Ayatollah he battles with the fundamentalist Muslim party in Finland. In The Siberian Cocktail a lot of EU money from Brussels goes missing, and in Struggling Love an old Beatles tape containing an undiscovered hit surfaces from nowhere.

7. An old, undiscovered Beatles hit? Should I believe that?

The hit is called ‘Struggling Love’ and Paul McCartney wrote it in 1963 during his holidays in the Caribbean. He was drunk, forgot about the song and lost the tape. Thanks to Burt Kobbat the world is now one Beatles hit richer.

8. What does Paul McCartney say about the song he didn´t know about?

If the story wasn´t true I expect Sir Paul would say so and deny that he wrote ‘Struggling Love’. But he seems to be quite comfortable with his new song. In fact, he hasn´t said anything about it.

9. You also have another hero?

Yes. In two of my novels the hero is called Antonio Sallinen. He’s a well-behaved family man who doesn’t drink or fool around with foreign dames. But it doesn’t help him: he too finds himself in an awful mess. In the last Sallinen book, The Suitcase Full of Money (2010), he ends up with the wrong suitcase at the airport. It contains a lot of money, and Sallinen, together with his wife, decides to keep the cash. But there’s someone else out there also after the money and it’s not anyone kind or gentle.

10. And the hero of your next book, Burt Kobbat or Antonio Sallinen?

My next novel will be a Burt Kobbat story. The novels with Antonio Sallinen are classic thrillers with straightforward storylines from beginning to end. Burt Kobbat’s life is more complex with humor, satire and outrageous gags as essential elements.


  1. I am genuinely intrigued. I wish I could read the books. The storyline about the lost Beatles song is something I wish I'd thought of!

  2. Cool interview and I still can't tell if the McCartney story is true or not.

  3. There's no way to learn that language without total in country immersion, so I hope you have a guest room. I love Bergen and McCarthy too but I didn't know they'd written a song. Enjoyed all of the questions, even the ones written in Bulgarian.