Acclaimed novelist Therese Bohman, author of The Other Woman and Drowned, discusses her most recent book Eventide, an astute novel following the life of an art professor at Stockholm University as she navigates the academic world, with its undercurrents of sexuality, competition, deceit, and fear.
Eventide is your third novel. How has fiction writing changed for you since your debut?
I would say it has gotten easier and more difficult at the same time. In one way, I feel much freer than when I wrote my first novel. Then, my main focus was on the story; now I am more interested in the characters and their thoughts and feelings—sometimes I have to stop myself from telling everything that enters my mind about them. The story is still there, but there is more flesh to the bones now. On the other hand, it is difficult to write when people expect things from you—writing the debut novel is a bliss in that way; no one expects anything from you.
In what ways is the book you wrote different from the book you set out to write?
When I started writing Eventide, I wanted to write a pleasant, funny, feel-good novel. That’s the original reason for it to take place at a university: I love novels and films set in a university, and I thought I’d write like a mix of them (Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, Christopher Isherwood’s A Single Man, John Williams’s Stoner, the movies Wonder Boys, Mona Lisa Smile, Dead Poets Society…). But then Eventide turned much darker than planned. Sometimes felt as if the book wrote itself and I was a passenger on the ride. I am very intuitive in my writing, and sometimes it feels like the text has a will of its own that takes the story in directions I wouldn’t have thought of.
What would you like readers to take away from Eventide?
I am very fond of Karolina, and I think she is very human. Not always a nice person, not acting exemplary, but I hope that readers will take her to their hearts, even if a bit reluctantly.
You can read the interview in its entirety here.