Bergtagna for English readers

Bergtagna means something like ”Spirited away” or ”taken by the mountain spirits”. In this sense, the spirits are the creatures that in old Swedish tradition inhabited the woods.

I grew up with the forest outside the door on the top of a mountain. Therefore, the forest plays a big role in my novels. I’ve always been fascinated by the unknown, of the things we can not see.

In old times we lived very close to the nature and it was dark a big part of the year. In the evenings one crept up by the fire and told each other stories. Sometimes to entertain and sometimes to scare the kids. ”Don’t go to far, or the trolls will take you.”

In this novel the creature Skogsrå, is represented. She is similar to the nymphs, a beautiful, seductive woman who guards the forests, lakes and mountains. At first sight, she is beautiful, but if you look closer, she often has a hole in her back and sometimes a foxtail. She can be good or evil, depending on how you treat her.

In my last three novels, I’ve been inspired by the folklore but I’ve tried to make my own interpretation of it. My novels are for adults and contain some horror, but are also investigating human relationships and psychology. If I should describe my novels with three words it would be folklore, horror and human relations. I like to explore things that I don’t understand or things I find interesting. Why do someone lock their family in a cellar? What happens if your child becomes evil?

Ever since I saw Omen I have been fascinated by evil children. Children, who are supposed to be innocent and kind, but turns out to be the exact opposite.

I find it interesting with the conflict that arises when the carer is forced to live with the monster. How do you act in a situation like that?

I have used evil girls in two of my novels. In Bergtagna, 10 year old Moa is transformed after a meeting with a forest creature. When she comes back, everything seems normal at first. She looks the same. But her words belong to someone else. Something evil. And she speaks like an adult. Her parents are clueless.
They thought they had lost their child forever. Then she returns, but somehow they lose her again. Although this story is supernatural, I think a lot of people can recognize the situation when their loved ones change. A parent who becomes demented. A husband who becomes violent. Or someone who suddenly suffers from psychosis. The ambivalence between love and fear must be unbearable.

Bergtagna takes place in the north of Sweden in 2009 in a small town. People live an ordinary life on the surface, but if you scratch it, secrets are hiding.

Moa is a child with a big imagination and she has started to hear voices from the woods. They tell her to give them gifts, and they long for beautiful, golden things. Moa has a baby sitter, Jennifer, who she really looks up to and she wish she was a grown up. The voices from the forest promise Moa that they will help her. And so one day, she dissappears into the woods and when she returns her inside has changed.

About the same time Moa dissappears, the 17 year old Donnie is missing from a party. Donnie is a dreamer. He loves to paint and recently he has started to paint forest girls in different shapes. He lost his friend Adam when they were twelve, but he has denied Adam’s death and pretends like he still exists.

At a party his friends suddenly seem to transform into black creatures, and he flees to the woods. There, he is led to a cave by a beautiful woman who looks like the girls in his paintings. She wants him to make her pregnant, because in her world, there are no men like her and she longs for children. She is very lonely, so she snatch men for company. But the food she gives them does not still the hunger and the water does not extinguish the thirst.

Sören and Margareta lost their son Jonas ten years earlier. Margareta was promised a girl if she sacrificed her son to the forest. Sören knew nothing of this evil plan and mourned the loss of his son. After Jonas had dissappeared Margareta was afraid Sören would find out , so she locked him in the basement, where he has been ever since. In ten years he has lived his life, imprisoned by his wife. Sören loved his son, he took care of him when he was a baby and Margareta suffered from postpartumdepression. Margareta, on the other hand, always felt set aside, and that feeling grew stronger and stronger. She doesn’t like people, is moody and grouchy and she´s afraid that Sören will find a way out and tell everyone what she has done. But she’s a very dominant woman and Sören has almost given up.

All these people and their destinys intertwine and as in all horror stories – there are no happy endings.

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