Stylist talks to the new bestselling authors you need to let slip at your book club, along with first-look extracts from their novels to read online…
Words: Kate Sullivan
Camilla Läckberg: The new Stieg Larsson
She’s a rising star in Britain but the Swedish crime writer already outsells Stieg Larsson in her homeland and has shifted 4.5 million books in a country of just 9 million people. “It’s still a bit surreal when strangers wave to you on the street,” says the 38-year-old, who recently appeared on Sweden's Strictly Come Dancing.
Now UK sales of her psychological thrillers are growing faster than any other Scandi-writer’s, and she’s riding the crest of the trend for all things Nordic. The author, who has released seven novels in English, set her sights on crime writing from a young age. As a child she wrote about Santa Claus’s wife meeting a violent end. She admits, "Even my earliest stories related to mystery or murder." Does she have any tips for aspiring authors? "The trick is to live and breathe the story, so I isolate myself as much as possible when I’m writing.” And what if she hadn’t made a career from writing? “I’d maybe be a journalist or a songwriter, although being a professional dancer would be another dream!”
The Lost Boy is out now (HarperCollins, £12.99)
Samantha Shannon: The new JK Rowling
Talk about pressure. After landing a six-figure book deal with Harry Potter publisher Bloomsbury, Shannon is about to launch her debut novel, The Bone Season – the first in a 7-part fantasy series. The novel has been sold in 18 countries and film rights snapped up by Andy Serkis (Gollum in The Lord of the Rings). Oh yes, and Shannon is a 21-year-old student.
“Being cast as the ‘new’ JK Rowling has been daunting – she's irreplaceable,” says Shannon, who is studying English at Oxford, “I'm still only writing my second book.”
The series follows 19-year-old Paige, a clairvoyant working in the criminal underworld in the year 2059. “I got the spark during an internship at a literary agency in Seven Dials, Covent Garden, where some of the book is set. I ran out during my lunch break, bought a notebook and started scribbling. Six months later it was finished,” she says.
“Recently I've been juggling essays, books and manuscripts - it's been a rollercoaster.”
Has she managed to keep her feet on the ground? “When I met Andy Serkis I was babbling non-stop about how star struck I was. I did not play it cool.”
The Bone Season is released in August (Bloomsbury, £12.99), facebook.com/theboneseason
Asli Perker: The new Joanne Harris
Not only is Perker's latest bestseller her first to be released in English – the Turkish author translated it herself. “I don't know how or why I came up with the idea, but I now translate all my novels into English. It’s such a long process, but it really helps me get the feeling right,” says the 38-year-old.
Set across Paris, New York and Istanbul, Soufflé follows three people who all cook from the same cookbook while rebuilding their lives, drawing comparisons to classics like Joanne Harris’s Chocolat.
"I used to write recipes for a Turkish newspaper, making up the names of dishes and never giving proper measurements, just a pinch of this and a pinch of that," says Perker. “Food is at the centre of my family life. The biggest fight between my mother and my aunt is how to cook an artichoke.”
Soufflé is the third book by Perker - who also works as a journalist and divides her time between Turkey and the US. "I would never complain about my success, but it is often difficult for an author to find time to read!" she says.
Soufflé is out now (Telegram, £8.99)