One Morning

A Morning In The Life Of Living With Someone Who Doesn’t Love Books:

Me (frustrated): Why can’t the &%¤##& mail arrive with my book?? I want to touch it!

The Man (always rational): They’re just the same words on paper. Touch your Kindle. What’s the difference?

Me: · · · – – – · · ·

Need I say more?


Release Day!

My debut novel Supermassive is out in the wild!

I think my emotions today can be split into three parts (sizes may vary):

One part where I rave around on the lawn, screaming YES! LOOK AT ME! I’M AN AUTHOR! PUBLISHED! YEAH! HIGH FIVE! LET THE AWARD SEASON BEGIN!

Another part where I try to quench my bouts of blushing, and where I keep reminding myself that it’s no big deal, thousands of books get published every year – you know you’re not going to earn any money on this, right? And what will people think about that book…

And a part where I smile quietly and pat myself on the shoulder while I eat my dinner, or patch up the kids’ bloodied knees, or grumble about the fact that it seems maybe I won’t have any time left to write on my next project tonight (of all nights).

But mostly, I’m just happy and proud and impressed – and I’m glad I can tick off one more box on my life’s wish-to-do list.

Here’s what else I did today:
I ordered my photographer/husband to drive me to Grimstad and snap a few decent photos of me eating the world’s best chocolate cake at Café Ibsen. The symbolism was too strong to resist on a day like this (for those not familiar with Ibsen: it’s never too late to learn about one of the most prominent playwrights of the world. Just don’t call him Henrik. It’s Ibsen. Or Henrik Ibsen. Okay?) Unfortunately, the café was out of that chocolate cake (no wonder, since it’s so good), so I had to settle for a cinnamon swirl bun with vanilla cream. It was delicious, so no disappointing substitute. It also cost a fortune. (My husband said I had to pay, since he plans on quitting his job in favour of early retirement now that I’m going to earn millions. Hahaha.) After taking 83 photos of me, 2 of the museum garden and 13 of a sparrow family begging for cinnamon crumbs, we left so that I could look through the pictures and post something on various social media. (I also had time to finish reading a novel, eat some sweets, enjoy my holiday, and spend far too much time on the internet.)

The Author at Large


Across the street from the café, at the house/museum where Ibsen wrote one of his early plays (which I haven’t read. Ooops.)                   
Subverting the Ibsen heritage and making fun of myself at the museum(s)

Now I Know Why I Hesitated to Join FB

In June I registered a Facebook account. I have been stoic for years and resisted this social medium with a great deal of zeal, but once I let the fun of Twitter in, I sort of felt I had to keep up the pace and open up an FB account too. In the name of promotion and such. It took a month before I added anything more than a very nice banner of my novel, and I’m still very unsure of what kind of focus this account of mine should have. Especially after today.

To tell you the story in a roundabout way: I went to the beach today, wearing a rather skimpy bikini (skimpy if you ask me, but it was nice and new too). I don’t go to the beach wearing a bikini very often, for several reasons – few of which have to do with my body image, most of which have to do with the weather in Norway (short summers, frequently rainy). I think the only body image ‘problem’ I have is that I am always the palest person at the beach (even in Norway), and if I’m abroad among people who tan easily, I don’t like to stand out as the ghost of the beach. Because people stare if you’re my kind of pale. They do. And I really don’t like being stared at, even if I do look rather fit for my age.

Onwards with the story: coming back from the beach, I opened my laptop and noticed there were some FB updates waiting for me. Inexperienced in this, I didn’t realize that the post I initially thought was pretty hilarious, and probably posted by one of my humorous friends, was in fact an ad for losing weight. The post contained various pictures of headless women in bikinis. There were two shots of each woman, where one shot was with them looking quite normal and one where they were very skinny (mostly scraped) and could show off at the beach, apparently. Ehhhh. Since when did Facebook know I went to the beach? In a bikini? The ad felt eerily tailored, as if Zuckerberg and company knew exactly where I was and what I was doing today. Creepy. Except they got it wrong: I’m not on the lookout for a slimming experiment called KombiKuren. Or any such thing.

Now I’m grumpy and think I need to write a dark and bleak novel about being watched all the time. The real 1984 or something.

Wasn’t there something about FB controlling people’s moods earlier this summer??? That might backfire, I say.



Two weeks from now, my novel will join the ranks of published books. Wow!  Knowing that people will read my book and like it or dislike it, makes me a bundle of nerves. But I can handle it – I’m not that worried, really. As long as I get some feedback, I’m happy (okay, I’d like it to be good or sort of fine, I admit that. If I get one terrible review, let me have a good one too to even out the balance). Some readers will like it, some will not. Besides, I know it’s unlikely the book will cause much of a stir in the book world. There are so many books published. My own to-read list grows and grows, and I have piles of books that haven’t made it to the actual list yet because I gather books quicker than I update my Goodreads list. It’s easy to drown among the masses. Fine. I’m still getting published!

Knowing that people who know me will read the book, though, makes me want to hop on a space shuttle and go to Mars and stay. Why? Well, my mother will see the swearing (I have never heard her swear) and my dad (who swears now and then), my in-laws too (they are lovely people, by the way), and my sister, friends and colleagues – even students – who read it will try to find out who they are (they’re not), or which character is me (no, I’m not the protagonist! I’m not a teenage boy, for one thing. And I didn’t grow up in Africa. But okay, I do ride a mountain bike), and they’ll think I have a thing for lots of things. Some weird things too. (“I always knew there was something strange about Nina…”)

Of course, there are things in the book that are real. There’s a Nissan Sunny, for instance. My husband and I had an old Sunny once. We nearly froze to death in -32 (or was it -33?) degrees Celsius when driving it with a broken heater across a desolate mountain late at night on our way home from Christmas holidays. I didn’t include that memorable story in my book, because it’s something I have experienced. I don’t want to write about my experiences. I want to make up other people’s experiences. I want to move far outside my own comfort zone. (Having people I know read the book is certainly outside my comfort zone.)

Getting used to the idea that from now on I need to get over myself and forget that I’m an introvert whose dislike of the spotlight is immense, will take a lot of time to process. But, as I say to my students: pushing the limits is good. (Usually – so let me add a disclaimer: Small steps at a time, please. My advice does not include partaking in dangerous and/or illegal activities just because. )



ITIN solved


I received my ITIN in the mail today, so I can officially start earning money in the US and not have to pay 30% tax to US authorities and then pay additional taxes to my home country.

It took three months to sort it out, so about twice as long as normal since I had to resend documentation. All troubles forgotten now!

Fingers crossed I actually sell any copies of the book… It would be nice to receive some royalties, after all 🙂