Monday, April 23, 2012

Morten Jorgensen, Author


Morten Jorgensen  is an acclaimed Norwegian author who currently is writing his first novel in English.  A master of words, Morten is the author of Sennepslegionen (The Mustard Legion), Kongen av København (King of Copenhagen), Kalle Solflue og insekttyvene (Charlie Hoverfly and the Insect Thieves, children's book), Bank (thriller, German edition: Rache auf Raten), etc. 

Novelist, poet, musician, photographer, punk rock veteran, etc., Morten made ​​his debut as an author in 1984 with Shadow letter Bungalow 33 . He has published 5 books, written lyrics and reinterpreted texts for radio and stage, translated plays for, among other things, the National Theatre, written numerous book reviews and articles. 

I had the great opportunity to catch up with Morten on his return from his recent research trip to London and Beijing, China, for his forth-coming, two-volume, novel "Brent".......

Where are you from?
I was born in Trondheim, Norway’s 3rd largest city, population 176,000 (2012). When I was 13, my family moved to Oslo, the capital of Norway.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
I started reading at 5, and it became a teenage dream. The conscious decision to become an author I took after my first book was published in 1984.

What do you currently have in the works?
Brent”, a rather massive two-volume novel from the immediate future, scheduled for publication in 2014. A crossbreed between a space opera and a road movie, with Goethe’s “Faust” as backdrop. It is not science fiction in the traditional sense. No aliens, no laser swords. I chose the future because it gives me an indefinite and open canvas, and a large one at that. 

Where do you like to write?
At home. I travel for research, but I write at home. All my books have been written at home. Mostly at night.

What is your inspiration for your novels and poetry?
The word “inspiration” has always felt somewhat irrelevant to me. I am very systematic in my authorship. I planned my authorship in 1984 and adjusted its course, in 1988 and 1995. Brent is the final book on my temporary agenda. When Brent is out, I will decide what to write next. Maybe all the way to Tombstone.   Unless you count “women” as inspiration, that is. Authors are not all that different from rock musicians. Most of us start out with a romantic teenage perspective on writing, hoping for some kind of glory. I have been fortunate enough to grow out of it. But it is a statistical fact that I still work exceptionally well under the influence of women. I’m a sucker for female compliment. However, I never let it influence my work, only my drive. I think authors should be more honest about themselves. Not go all “Syria” and boast a lot of pompous drivel all the time when they talk about “inspiration”. Besides, if you have problems being “inspired” to write, you are probably not very skilled as a writer. A pen and a napkin is all an author needs. A finger. Sand. My only inspirations are language as such, the beauty of it, and my own technical ambition: The strive towards the smooth and the unique. In that sense, mostly dead, but also some living great authors, are inspiring. But I prefer the word “influence”, as I have no control over which authors who make an impression on me. Reading books by skilled colleagues is a learning process to me.

Do you use real life events; your own personal experiences?
I use everything. I’m a total magpie. I can use personal experience, real life events, whatever. But I find it most satisfying to write about The Other, Strangers, people I don’t know. The Dark. The Unknown. If I use personal experience, it is out of convenience. It saves time. And I have no “message” or theme. I find myself as a person completely uninteresting for my own authorship. Through Brent , which I consider the final exam of my apprenticeship as a novelist, my authorship is working its way towards what I consider riddles, mysteries, things that I don’t understand. I explore, I do not lecture, and my books have no opinions. Pingo ergo sum (I think therefore you are).

What suggestions do you have for beginning writers and poets?
That depends on what kind of writer you want to be, whether you want to explore mankind or (just) entertain it. If you want to write thrillers or romance, just go ahead and try. Think commercial, like everybody else. Suck up to your audience. It’s a good life. However, if you want to explore mankind, in whatever sense, ask yourself if this is what you really want to do. There are too many rehashed novels written in the Western World. Do you have something, if not unique, at least something special to bring to the public square, or are you striving for it, with a minimum of realism? The world does not need another depiction of your lost love. Write a diary instead. It is a very serious craft. Authors are statistically prone to divorce, alcoholism, drugs, suicide, conflict, ridicule, estrangement. In conflict regions, it’s even worse. This goes also if you are a happy camper and irony is your tool for exploring man and his doings. Ask yourself if you really want to. Maybe you’d be better off as a journalist or an academic.

Who is your favorite author?
Technically, I would have to say Shakespeare. It’s sort of embarrassing, in a way, even ridiculous. How can a poet born five hundred years ago, still be the master? It’s the DaVinci and Michelangelo syndrome. It may be seen as an indication of the validity of the theory of devolution. My favorite writer, though, is Nobel Laureate Samuel Beckett. I enjoy his brutality, his depth, his merciless depiction of man and his axing of language. I read him constantly, again and again. Norwegian Nobel laureate Knut Hamsun is another favorite. My favorite novel, though, is the epic The Master and the Margarita by Michael Bulgakov. A book that contains everything. Poetry: Besides Shakespeare, I have no particular favorites when it comes to poetry.

In your opinion, what is lacking in today's literary market?
Too much entertainment, too few watersheds and milestones.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Hopefully writing full-time with a generous budget to travel the world and explore mankind.

4 comments:

Andy David said...

Hello Gina.
Fascinating interview. Thanks for sharing.

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Johnny Wirjosandjojo said...

where i can read his book?

Fatianet said...

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Kelli Shea said...

What a lovely interview.