I’m Lene Fogelberg, Swedish writer and expat living in Indonesia, and I’ve written the memoir Beautiful Affliction, that will be released September 15, 2015 in bookstores throughout North America. It is already available for pre-order on online retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BookDepository.com etc.
Apart from your to be published memoir you’ve also won awards for your poetry, can you tell us about that?
Poetry has always been a great love of mine and I started to write poetry when I was seven years old. My poetry has been featured in magazines and even in a national Swedish text book on writing. Anyway, I won this award during my university years that meant a lot to me, and really got me thinking that maybe I could write something that others enjoyed reading. It was a huge breakthrough for me personally, even if the award itself might not be a “biggie” in the literary world. This was all back in Sweden, long before I even imagined to have a book published in the US.
Why do you write?
I write to get to know this amazing place, planet earth, and to connect with the amazing people living here.
Why write in English over Swedish?
I write in English because my story takes place in Philadelphia, well most of it, and I felt it needed to be told in English. And English is such a melodious, nuanced and rich language with words as gorgeous as: serendipity, ethereal and epiphany… I guess I’m in love with it!
When do you find the time to write?
I write during the day, when my girls are in school. If I am not struck by some idea that has me running to my laptop or makes me stay up late to write it down.
What are you working on now?
I am working on a novel that takes place in Jakarta, Indonesia, where I am currently living. I am mixing West with East, and the modern world with the exotic myths of Java.
How have you found the world of publishing?
It is pretty overwhelming, so much to think about! After finishing the book, one is nowhere near “done”. But I have learned a ton and connected with awesome and talented people, who are helping me bring my story into the world, and I am grateful to have been given this opportunity to be doing what I love.
What tips would you give to those who are about to submit their manuscript?
Take a step back, rest your brain after all the editing. Then look at your story with fresh eyes and ask yourself “Why does this story matter?” “What in it is it that will draw people in?” From these answers build a solid presentation that is to the point, in as few words as possible. Polish your “elevator pitch” until it is squeaky clean. Be sure you know exactly what your story is about and why it matters.
What writing advice would you give to those budding writers out there?
Connect with other writers! And if you are a shy introvert, like many writers are (me included), make conscious efforts to “toughen” yourself up. If you are too shy to start blogging–start blogging. If you read blogs but are too shy to comment–post a comment. Challenge yourself. Do something scary everyday. When the time comes for you to submit your manuscript and later, to publish your book, you will need to be the toughest version of yourself.
Beautiful Affliction can be pre-ordered on all online retailers such as Amazon
The book hits bookstores in the US and Canada September 15, 2015,
Lene Fogelberg is dying—she is sure of it—but no doctor in Sweden, her home country, believes her. Love stories enfold her, with her husband, her two precious daughters, her enchanting surroundings, but the question she has carried in her heart since childhood—Will I die young?—is threatening all she holds dear, even her sanity. When her young family moves to the US, an answer, a diagnosis, is finally found: she is in the last stages of a fatal congenital heart disease. But is it too late?
“In her breathtaking memoir, Beautiful Affliction, Lene Fogelberg elegantly unites the savagery and raw beauty of the natural world with the wisdom and poignant insight of a young wife and mother for whom each moment, whether or not she realizes it, may be her last. Exquisite imagery and poetic prose pulse through this powerful, emotionally gripping story. With Beautiful Affliction, Lene Fogelberg gives us a gorgeously written story to savor and share, while adding her shimmering, deeply intelligent voice to the literary pantheon.” — Terri Giuliano Long, author of USA Today bestseller In Leah’s Wake.
“Gripping, powerful, touching, beautiful. A memoir about a woman who fights to remain alive because of her daughters and her husband. A story everyone can relate to and will want to read to the inspiring end.” — Mette Ivie Harrison, author of Ironmom and New York Times Notable Book, The Bishop’s Wife.