Lilja Sigurðardóttir

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Lilja Sigurðardóttir

Lilja Sigurðardóttir was born in Akranes, Iceland, in 1972, but spent much of her childhood living in far-flung places, such as Mexico, Sweden and Spain, as the family moved for her father’s job. She has nine books under her belt (five of which have been translated into English), as well as a stage play and a few screenplays, the most notable of which is the Netflix light sci-fi thriller Katla.

She currently lives in a house on the outskirts of Reykjavík with her partner and dog, and when she isn’t writing or travelling to promote her writing, she raises chickens in her backyard, grows potatoes and goes fishing. Six chickens were purchased in the first lockdown – for food and company – and she’s become very fond of them. She provides them with leftovers and they supply her with eggs – a good deal for everyone!

Lilja also loves to cook and is quite good at inventing recipes that contain fish, potatoes and eggs – in fact, she is even thinking of publishing a cookbook. But it would of course have to have a crime theme!

Interviewed 22 January 2022

Ten words to sum up your working life to date ...

Fighting-cock training, photocopying, fish-gutting, teaching, school-inspecting, report-writing, playwriting, crime-writing, screen-writing.

Nine things you can see from where you're sitting ...

My dog Dr Árni, who snores by my side.
My 16th century Mexican scull, Malinche.
My coffee cup (empty now, unfortunately.)
My diary. Blissfully empty for the next ten days as I am going on holiday.
My phone. A distraction as it is a gateway to news and social media.
The computer screen in front of me.
A polished stone from the black beach in Vík I took when location hunting for Katla (watch it on Netflix),
The pre-publication proof copy of my latest book out in English: Cold as Hell.
The African Voodoo doll in my window. Yes, I like spooky things.

Eight minutes to prepare a meal. What's it going to be ?

Eggs. Probably scrambled. I go out to my chicken coop every day to get fresh eggs. Lovely.

Seven people you'd like to go for a drink with ...

My partner Margrét.
My mum Jóna.
My dad Sigurður.
My sister Sigga.
My niece Gunnlöð.
My nephew Loki.
My niece Melkorka.
All family, I know … but I see all too little of them when I am writing and travelling to promote my books.

Six things you can't live without ...

Coffee, dogs, chickens, Icelandic wool stockings, a fishing rod, a computer.

Five favourite words ...

Miðgeimskringla (interstellar object)
Nástaða (two words standing too close in text, could also be a dead person standing)
Uppsprettulind (a source or a well, meaning water or inspiration)
Þræsingur (Thraesingur, a cold, humid storm)
Þróttur (energy as in mental or physical energy)

Four places you'd run away to ...

Rural Spain.
The little island out on the lake I live by.
The world of books.

Three books you've bought recently ...

1979 by Val McDermid
No Honour by Awais Khan
Dear Child by Romy Hausman

Two things that make you rant ...

The Icelandic fish industry
Bad coffee

One thing you'd tell your teenage self ...

Your life will not be this bad forever; in fact, it will get better and better. And then so much better again.