Frequently asked questions About Johan M. Dahlgren

Gritty, exciting and original.
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Q: Who will enjoy your novels?

A: Anyone who likes the works of Richard K. Morgan, Gavin G. Smith, Neal Asher, Alastair Reynolds and S.A. Corey should enjoy my novels too.

If you're into violent, dystopian sci-fi action with a dark sense of humour, give them a shot. You might have found your new favourite novels. You might not.

Still, it's worth a shot, isn't it?

Q: What is your writing process like? Are you more of a plotter or a pantser?

A: I'm a bit of both. I tend to plot the big picture and then pants all the details. To me, writing a novel is like sculpting a statue. I start by blocking out the main shape with great care. Then I go in with the fine tools and chip away to bring out all the little details. If the underlaying shape is finished, adding those details is just pure fun.

Q: Are your books available in other languages?

A: Yes. My first novel, Under a Dark Sky, has been translated to Dutch. Hopefully, other languages will follow.

Under a Winter Sun just came out, and I'm hoping that will be translated to Dutch as well.

If you want to read my novels in your language, please let my publisher Next Chapter know!

Q: What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

A: I bought a one year license to ProWritingAid, which is a great tool for self editing your novel. I learned a lot using that tool, and hopefully my next novel will be even better because of it.

Q: What’s your writing software of choice?

A: I write in VS Code. It's actually a text editor for programmers, but I've found that it works amazing as an author's tool. Since it's just a text editor there are no distractions, like starting to fiddle with layout or colours instead of writing. It also has a Zen-mode that hides all the menus to let you focus on your text. It has an amazing box of plugins, with everything from spell checking to advanced grammatical analysis. And it's free.

Q: Do you play music while you write — and, if so, what’s your favorite?

A: All the time! Music is a huge influence on my writing. Writing scenes is a lot like directing a movie, and a movie without music is not much of a movie. What I listen to depends on the scene I'm writing, but mostly it's music from movies and TV-shows. For Under a Winter Sun I listened to a lot of pagan and viking black metal, for obvious reasons.

Q: When do you think someone can call themselves an author?

A: I read somewhere that everyone has a book inside them, but only an author has more than one.

I guess that means I'm an author now!

Q: Have you listened to any audiobooks? Which did you enjoy the most?

A: Actually no. But I would love to try. The audio book of Under a Dark Sky is coming out in a couple of weeks. I think that will be the first audio book I listen to.

Q: If you could be mentored by a famous author, who would it be?

A: Neil Gaiman. He is one of my favourite authors, not so much because I love all his books (which I don't), but because he has one of the wildest imaginations in the world. Every time you sit down to read something by Gaiman you know you're in for a ride. I want to reach that level.

Q: Do you Google yourself?

A: All the time. Since I work a lot with SEO and structured data to try to spread information about me and my work, I spend a lot of time Googling myself to see if my efforts pay off.

Q: What does literary success look like to you?

A: Being successful as a writer to me is being able to live off your writing. I'm still far from there myself, but that is my goal. In the meantime I'm working full time and writing in my spare time. It would be great to have it the other way around.

Q: If you were to write a spin-off about a side character, which would you pick?

A: That would probably be Winger. She is a very interesting character, and I know she has a lot of stories to tell. It would be great fun to explore her background.

Q: Would you and your main character get along?

A: That's a good question. We have a lot in common, but he's a bit of a violent arsehole, and I like to think that I am not. After the first few whiskies, I think I would slip quietly away to avoid having my ass kicked.