Q&A With Jussi Adler-Olsen

It’s officially fall, which means our beloved publishers will be rolling out the best of the best in literature over the next couple of months. It seems that all of my most coveted books become available around September/October, which makes them the perfect Christmas gifts! Unless you simply cannot resist buying them beforehand. OOPS. In celebration of this wonderful season, I’m incredibly pleased to bring you an interview with beloved crime fiction author Jussi Adler-Olsen, author of the Department Q series. I was honored to receive an early copy of his latest book, The Scarred Woman, and it is being described as the more tender side of the story within this group of coworkers. Since I won’t be posting my review for the book until next week, I wanted to go ahead and give you guys a sneak peak into what I was most curious to ask the author.


1) Have you always wanted to write both fiction and non-fiction? Who most inspired you in becoming a writer yourself?

I always wanted to be a writer, but wasn’t sure if I should. Back in 1980 I spent half a year in the Netherlands and wrote my first novel, just to prove to myself that I could, but I found that I needed more life experience before I could give it a serious try. In the late 1980’s I thought of the plot of The Alphabet House and my wife told me “go for it”. That is how it all started. Without the love and support of my wife I could never have done it.

2) As a man of many talents, you have grasped a firm knowledge in various subjects, including music, medicine, sociology, and film making. Do you feel this has enabled you to become a trusted name in crime fiction? How have these many experiences influenced your writing?

Every field during my time playing, studying, and my working life has been an entire education in itself, and I have had fun experiencing all the different things I’ve done. There is no doubt that all the different people I have met have given me inspiration that I can make use of in my writing.

3) As a reader, who are the authors you most anticipate new releases from?

I am an avid reader, but I don’t follow particular authors as such. I read what comes along. But as long as I write crime thrillers myself I never read novels in this genre. I want to know for sure that my ideas are my own.

4) THE SCARRED WOMAN is book 7 in the Q series and appears to have a different atmosphere than the previous books in the series. What influenced your decision to show a bit of the softer, more personal side of the team?

The synopsis to the entire series was written before I wrote the first sentence of Q1, The Keeper of Lost Causes. I planned the series to be read as individual novels, but also very much to be read as one long novel. And when you write a novel you need to mix various kinds of writing to keep your reader interested. Q7 was the book where I begin to unravel some of the inner secrets of the main characters.

5) Can you give us any details on where you are taking the series in future books? What are you currently working on?

As mentioned the Department Q series consists of individual novels, but it is also a series which can be seen as one long novel where each “book” is a chapter in the long novel that is first and foremost about Carl Mørck and his two assistants, Assad and Rose, and later on, Gordon. Each key character in the series has his/her own story. In “The Scarred Woman” Rose’s story is revealed. The next novel, which I am working on at the moment, will reveal a lot of Assad’s secrets.


Jussi Adler-Olsen is a Danish author who began to write novels in the 1990s after a comprehensive career as publisher, editor, film composer for the Valhalla cartoon and as a bookseller.

He made his debut with the thriller “Alfabethuset” (1997), which reached bestseller status both in Denmark and internationally just like his subsequent novels “And She Thanked the Gods” (prev. “The Company Basher”) (2003) and “The Washington Decree” (2006). The first book on Department Q is “Kvinden I buret” (2007) and the second “Fasandræberne” (2008). The main detective is Deputy Superintendent Carl Morck from the Department Q and he is also the star of the third volume, “Flaskepost fra P” which was released in the fall of 2009 and secured Adler-Olsen ”Readers’ Book Award” from Berlingske Tidende-readers, the Harald Mogensen Prize as well as the Scandinavian Crime Society’s most prestigious price ”Glass Key”. The fourth volume in the Department Q series, “Journal 64” was published in 2010 and he was awarded the once-in-a-lifetime-prize of “The Golden Laurels” for this in 2011”. In December 2012 the fifth novel was published, “Marco Effekten”.

Furthermore, Jussi Adler-Olsen was awarded “Favourite Author of the Danes” in 2011, 2012 and 2013 leading the organization behind to change the set-up, so the winner cannot be chosen more than once in a three year period.

Jussi Adler-Olsen’s novels have had such an impact abroad, that he has also received a variety of awards there: ”The Sealed Room Award” in Japan for “Kvinden I buret”; ”Best Translated Mystery Novel of the Year”,”The Crime – Blitz Award 2011” in Germany for “Flaskepost til P” given to the best international crime, Elle magazine’s French reader award: ”Prix de Lectrices the Elle” for “Kvinden I buret” as well as ”The Barry Award” in the US for “Kvinen I buret” that was elected ”Best Novel of the Year”.

His first novel “Alfabethuset” and the first four books of the Department Q series have been sold for film adaptation. “Kvinden I buret” premiered in 2013 and “Fasandræberne” opens in Denmark October 2014.

8 thoughts on “Q&A With Jussi Adler-Olsen”

  1. This was a great interview– I liked your specific questions rather than the standard generic ones. Interesting that the author won’t read any other books in his particular genre, so he knows his ideas are fresh. I really do need to pick up book one in this series soon, so thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great job, Chelsea!
    I haven’t read any of the series before but I won this through Goodreads and I’m really looking forward to reading it.
    It’s nice knowing the authors thoughts before starting. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s