EDITORIAL: ANNE METTE KIRK, 42, AUTHOR, AUTUMN LOVER & DOG MOM
If the Danish author, Anne Mette Kirk, had to choose her favorite season, it would undoubtedly be Autumn. This time of the year equals fire in the wood stove, colorful leaves covering the forest paths and dark mornings without interruptions allowing her to dive into her manuscripts. We sat down with Anne Mette to talk about her career as a successful author and about Autumn, which she always looks forward to.
With your impressive background as a journalist and press advisor, what made you finally choose to become a fulltime writer?
It never felt like a conscious choice. More like an overwhelming longing that I couldn't ignore. Through all my jobs, from TV2 to my work as a press adviser with the Danish Royal Family, I have been passionate about telling stories and doing it in the most captivating way. In a way, writing novels unites everything I love, and it fills me daily with pure joy and excitement. I pinch myself every day that this is my job, but I’m also aware that I work hard every single day. Having many readers is a privilege that I will never take for granted.
How do you use your work experience in your writing?
My background as a journalist is, on the one hand, a huge advantage. Because I easily know how to research, interview professionals, and meet deadlines. But in the beginning my background was also a curse. There is a discipline and some conventions as a journalist that I had to throw far away before I could find my own personal creativity and form of expression.
In which setting do you write the best?
I live with my husband, three children and our dog in Copenhagen, so there is always a bit of wonderful chaos in our apartment. If I really want to immerse myself in my manuscript, I flee from Copenhagen and set up a camp in our summer house in North Zealand, where the only distraction is all the books on the bookshelf that I haven't read yet. I do my best writing in the early hours of the morning. From five to seven, when everyone else is asleep, my energy is bubbling.
Why the crime genre?
I began my writing career with crime fiction. A genre I love. My next book 'Double Fault' is a more classic novel and who knows if I'll write a TV-series, a collection of poems, or something completely different next time? I don't plan, but I’m constantly looking for new paths, playgrounds, and inspiration.
When do you know when to end the story you’re writing on?
It is difficult to describe, but at some point, when I have worked for an infinite amount of time with a text, it emerges and becomes its own. Suddenly, it no longer has anything to do with me, but is its own being. When that happens, I know my work is done.
If, what do you hope to communicate to the readers with your books?
What the readers conclude after reading my novels, I leave up to them. For me, reading is a personal experience, and I don't want to interfere in it. However, I sincerely hope that my stories stay with the readers long after they have read the last sentence.
I am incredibly humbled and grateful that my books are read so widely. I will never take that for granted.
How do you come up with the names to your characters?
The inspiration for my characters' names comes from everywhere. My family, friends, famous people, and other times I just find a great name in the newspaper that I instinctively know I must use in my novel. Other times it's hard to find the perfect name, and then my characters must live with changing names a few times. Okay, many times!
Which one of your three books are you most proud of?
What a difficult question! It's a bit like choosing between your children. But okay, if I really must then my debut novel 'Shattered' will always have a special place in my heart. It’s written with the enthusiasm and iron will of a beginner. And I’m still extremely proud of the result.
How would you describe your writing aesthetic?
”Keep it simple.”
A strong narrative does not need to be wrapped in too many fancy words and expressions. I try to cut out all the unnecessary so that my novels are exciting and engrossing. There is nothing worse than a boring book!
What aesthetic do you practice in your personal style?
I’m an extremely curious person; this is probably also reflected in my personal style. One day I'm wearing a floral vintage dress and the next a black minimalist suit. I hope this playful approach to fashion will never stop!
Three best things about the approaching Autumn season?
2) My birthday coming up.
3) To snuggle up inside with tons of new novels written by my favorite colleagues.
Your number one staple to wear throughout the colder season?
After a long summer, I can hardly wait to open my wardrobe and get my hands on my favorite jeans again. I wear jeans with everything from feminine blouses to chunky sweaters. Jeans are the closest I get to wearing a uniform. And I'm forever on the hunt for the perfect pair.
What scents do you associate with Autumn?
For me, Autumn equals long walks in the woods with our dog while wearing giant sweaters and knitted scarves. We have coffee with us in thermoses and our eyes are constantly enchanted by the colorful leaves of the trees. The fresh air has a very special scent, which I would like to put in a can and save for later in the year.
What tastes to you associate with Autumn?
Since I traveled around Costa Rica many years ago, I have loved coffee in all its guises. Every Autumn, I try some crazy pumpkin or marshmallow flavor but regret it every time. If I must boil Autumn down to a single taste, it must be freshly baked apple pie almost covered in whipped cream. And coffee. Just plain black coffee.
What sounds do you associate with Autumn?
Crisp leaves that crunch under my feet in the forest, the fire that sparks in our fireplace and the children who complain in the garden because their kite won't take off from the ground. But another favorite sound in Autumn is the rain, which beats almost melodically against our windows.