THE SCARRED WOMAN: Five Questions with Jussi Adler-Olsen

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Filled with dark humor, sharply-written dialogue, and plenty of twists and turns, Jussi Adler-Olsen’s new novel, The Scarred Woman, is a blast to read. Ahead of the release of his fantastic new crime novel, we caught up with the bestselling Danish author to chat about everything from his new book to his writing process, and everything in between. 

Read the brief Q&A below, then keep scrolling to find out more about The Scarred Woman.  


TRBS: The plot of this book is really intriguing. How did you come up with the idea?

Adler-Olsen: “The basic plot in this book is the unraveling of Rose’s sad story, which was part of my original synopsis from 2006.  Additionally, there’s the story about the girls exploiting the system. This story was inspired by a talk I had with a legal advisor working for the Copenhagen City Council who was saddened and provoked by witnessing the exploitation of the welfare system, which is perfectly legal due to the very rigid rules that have been imposed over the last few years.”

TRBS: How much research did you have to do for The Scarred Woman?

Adler-Olsen: “Research is very important to me. In this novel, I was helped by people working in this kind of department so that I was certain that the system is correctly described.  Also, I am very careful when describing details; it must be correct, which means that I am out checking locations. If one detail is wrong, to my mind it will undermine the credibility of the entire novel.”

TRBS: With a plot that has so many twists, turns, and layers, what is your writing process like? Do you sit and outline the whole thing, or just start writing and go from there?

Adler-Olsen: “I never start writing without a synopsis. In fact, right from the start I had a synopsis for the entire series. Once I start working on a new novel I work on a specific synopsis for that particular novel. It often takes a very long time, because I need to know the exact plot before I start doing the actual writing. Having said that, there is always room for improvement if a great idea suddenly appears.”

TRBS: Which authors do you enjoy, and what books are currently on your nightstand?

Adler-Olsen: “I love reading, but it has to be something that challenges me. The plot should be special and dialogue is important to me.  John Steinbeck is my all-time favorite. His writing style has been a great inspiration to me. Right now I am reading Jung Chang’s Wild Swans and a biography by Mr. Kai Vittrup, a Danish police officer, who has served as an advisor for both the EU and the UN in places like Kosovo, Iraq, and Sudan.”

TRBS: After The Scarred Woman, what’s next for you? Will you take some time off or start writing the next book right away?

Adler-Olsen: “I will certainly try to start on the next novel straight away, but sometimes I need some time to recharge my energy. Not too long, mind you. I am writing a series and my readers shouldn’t wait too long for the next installment.”


Special thanks to Jussi Adler-Olsen for taking part in our Five Questions segment, and for providing some really great answers to our questions! 


The scarred womanThe Scarred Woman

“Detective Carl Mørck of Department Q, Copenhagen’s cold cases division, meets his toughest challenge yet when the dark, troubled past of one of his own team members collides with a sinister unsolved murder.

In a Copenhagen park the body of an elderly woman is discovered. The case bears a striking resemblance to another unsolved homicide investigation from over a decade ago, but the connection between the two victims confounds the police. Across town a group of young women are being hunted. The attacks seem random, but could these brutal acts of violence be related? Detective Carl Mørck of Department Q is charged with solving the mystery.
Back at headquarters, Carl and his team are under pressure to deliver results: failure to meet his superiors’ expectations will mean the end of Department Q. Solving the case, however, is not their only concern. After an earlier breakdown, their colleague Rose is still struggling to deal with the reemergence of her past—a past in which a terrible crime may have been committed. It is up to Carl, Assad, and Gordon to uncover the dark and violent truth at the heart of Rose’s childhood before it is too late.

The Scarred Woman is out today, so click here to order your copy now! 


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