My short bio: I'm Jo Nesbo, best-selling Norwegian crime writer and musician. Author of the Harry Hole series and the stand-alone novel The Son, out in the US today. Ask me anything

My Proof:

Comments: 200 • Responses: 31  • Date: 

geitost835 karma

Hei Jo! I absolutely love your books, and after I started learning Norwegian last year, I have even read the last two in Norwegian :) I also got a friend hooked on your books. Keep it up!

I actually have two questions. First, your books tend to be very international, with lots of international travel, international characters and cross-border crime. What would you say is the impact of globalization on Norwegian crime fiction and on your writing in particular?

And second, despite the very dark descriptions of Oslo in your books, I always think I perceive a great love for the city in your writing. In one sentence, how would you describe Oslo?

Tusen takk! Anne

JoNesboAuthor13 karma

Oslo is a small and shy city. She is like the girl that will smile to you and be beautiful when no one else looks. Oslo may not be everybody's cup of tea, but it's my city.

bodhi303 karma

Mr. Nesbø,

I am such a huge fan. I began reading the Harry Hole books when I was pregnant and soon after I finished two of them, suddenly your name was everywhere. I've even read Headhunters which was brilliant. I'm saving Fart Powder to read to my son.

When the Hole series completed, I walked around in an emotional fog for days feeling as if a tumultuous relationship had ended and it was best for it to be over but I felt a hole (pun intended) was left. That is how beautifully written and constructed his character is. Harry is so complicated.

That said, what do you think accounts for the sudden explosion of Scandinavian mysteries abroad? What do you think separates them from the English mysteries?

You are immensely talented all around and I am a lifelong fan! I am so excited at the possibility you might see this that I can hardly type!

JoNesboAuthor3 karma

Sort of a lame answer... but I really don't know. Hopefully, it has something to do with the quality.

bigbangfan3 karma

Hi, could you clear up once and for all, phonetically, how your name is pronounced so we can get it right? I saw you being interviewed by Richard and Judy in the UK and they just called you Jo to sound like Joe but that isn't right is it? I like recommending your books to people but feel silly not knowing how to pronounce your name properly! Helen x

JoNesboAuthor5 karma

I've given up trying to make people pronounce it perfectly. So I've settled for the English sounding, Joe, which is what my father, who grew up in Brooklyn, NY, called me.

Excellentname472 karma

I seem to think more and more that Scandinavia has got to be one of the coolest (set of) countries; I love the music, novels, styles etc. that come out of it.

As an insider, is there a country that you think is particularly cool or awesome in some way?

Also you're a sick novelist, keep it up!!

JoNesboAuthor6 karma

I tend to think that Iceland and Norway are pretty cool.

BeatrixVonBourbon2 karma

Hi Jo. First off, I absolutely love your books, many happy hours spent reading, so thank you!

My question is about Harry Hole. What I find intriguing about Harry he as a real counter-culture vibe about him. Are the references to music from your own love as a musician or are they purely for the character?

Many thanks

Sarah x

JoNesboAuthor2 karma

Hi Sarah. It's a combination of both. My only regret is that Harry doesn't seem to have any interest in my band. x

BeatrixVonBourbon1 karma

Ah maybe you should sneak them in!. I have picked up some new bands from the books myself. 'Her Kommer Vinteren' by Jokke and Valentinerne being a favourite.

JoNesboAuthor5 karma

Interesting. Where are you from?

zechucheet2 karma

So have you ever hung out with Karl Ove Knausgård?

JoNesboAuthor2 karma

We have communicated on books but not hung out.

scientologyforever1 karma

what was your favorite moment from your footballing career. ever think of adding that aspect into your novels?

JoNesboAuthor1 karma

Probably when I was 17 and I played the first match together with my childhood heroes. No, I haven't really thought of using football in the novels, but that all depends on the story. It certainly will not be a starting point for a story. Then again, it's in my kids book Doctor Proctor and The Gold Robbery. There's a football match in it, and even an easily recognizable football star in it.

istudyscience1 karma

Jo. Such as huge fan here in the US! After Redbreast, I have not stopped reading your books. Thank you for writing. Harry Hole never bores me. Would you say that life in Norway is representative in the Hole series? Is the drug problem as bad at is seems in the latter of the Hole series? I guess my overall question is how much of the setting and details are an inspiration for your books?

JoNesboAuthor2 karma

Oslo has becomes one of the characters in the series. 90% of the Oslo in the books is the real Oslo, but I do add stuff that I need for the story. Oslo has a pretty ugly drug problem.

cindaa1 karma

Hi Jo, I have enjoyed all of your books and am looking forward to "The Son." Will this be a one time story or the beginning of a series?

JoNesboAuthor2 karma

I haven't decided yet. There is a sequel in my head, but I will have to take a close look at it.

pusene1 karma

When will you be releasing your DiDerre albums in the US?

JoNesboAuthor2 karma

I can't really see that happening.

tugboatfather1 karma

Who is writing really good mystery novels currently—besides you—who we should keep on eye out for?

JoNesboAuthor3 karma

If you're curious and want something a little different, check out Tore Renberg's latest.

Stopnonsense1 karma

Hi Jo! I'd like to know whether you're planning a trip to South Africa any time soon? I have many books for you to sign :-)

JoNesboAuthor2 karma

I've been to Johannesburg and Cape Town and I'd love to go back, but I haven't planned anything of yet.

trzewior1 karma

Just one small question Jo. Are you planning on continuing the Harry Hole series ? As all the fans know the ending of The Police was suggesting the next book :) Thank you very much for your work as i absolutely love all your books :) Greetings from Poland!

JoNesboAuthor7 karma

I haven't really decided, but that's normally the situation after having just finished a book. And the saga of Harry is not over, so we'll see.

billyparrott1 karma

In Phantom there was a brief reference to the television show Mad Men, and how the 1960s were a time when what didn't kill you made you stronger. How has what hasn't killed Harry Hole (alcohol, cigarettes, serial killers...) made him stronger?

JoNesboAuthor3 karma

I didn't say that they were right about it in the 60s.

MotherGinger1 karma

I made the awful mistake of starting the Harry Hole series out of order. Someone gave me The Snowman and I just started reading it - no questions asked - and then picked up The Leopard. Now I feel like I just need to start over and read the whole thing. I'm incapable of seeing scary movies, but genuinely appreciate and love your stories that terrify me, make me sleep with the lights on, and make my pulse race. So thanks for that.

I guess I'm just interested in the research goes into starting a new novel? How do you develop these intricate stories and characters? Do you start backwards with an ending or an idea and see what happens? You provide such detail and weave all your content into such a climax. It's truly impressive.

JoNesboAuthor3 karma

That question requires a really long answer. Short one would be that I have no rules of how to construct a story.

mariapresto1 karma

Hi! I want a Harry Hole playlist, one for each book, in correct order of appearance. Will you make one? Or even make cover songs with your band? And, I love your work. Got hooked when reading Snowman, and have read everything since. Huge fan!

JoNesboAuthor1 karma

You have to contact Oyvind Pharo at Aschehoug for those playlists.

Gustavorff1 karma

Hi Jo! greetings from Brazil. Now, whos the best, Duke Ellington, John Coltrane or Charles Mingus?

JoNesboAuthor2 karma

Difficult. A bit like asking who's the greatest Pele, Maradona or Messi. Only you left out Miles Davies.

JoNesboAuthor3 karma

And I of course left out Zico. Won't happen again.

Ruggstickles1 karma

Hey Jo, massive fan of your books and cant wait to read The Son.

My question: You write some pretty messed up things when it comes to murders/death, do you ever feel weird when writing such graphic scenarios? Do you have any scenes that you have written that have stayed with you after writing them?

Thanks for the AMA..please come to Bath, England on your next tour!

JoNesboAuthor3 karma

Yes and yes and let's see.

TinLip1 karma

Fender or Gibson? Taylor or Martin or Takamine?

JoNesboAuthor3 karma

I have a Fender and a Taylor and 2 Takamine. But right now, I use a Larrivee and I'm really happy with it.

funkyteach1 karma

Your books are the type of books that I just want keep reading....just wondering will there be an end to Harry? Do you write for an international audience or a Norwegian audience?

JoNesboAuthor2 karma

I write for myself and two friends. At least that's who I have in mind when I'm at my laptop.

chopinthechipmunk1 karma


JoNesboAuthor1 karma

To me they are different animals but I think most writers will always allow themselves the illusion that they are improving as a writer.

shivan211 karma

Can you tell us something about Occupied? Are you involved in it with basic concept or will be there more of your input?

JoNesboAuthor2 karma

I just contributed with the basic idea in an outline. From there on, the makers of the TV series have developed it without my interference.

shivan211 karma

Which crime genre authors do you like and which have influenced you?

JoNesboAuthor3 karma

Jim Thompson. I read The Killer Inside Me and Pop 1280.

tugboatfather1 karma

Have you considered doing a transmedia novel? Something like Night Vision where you take some liberties with the traditional detective novel format?

JoNesboAuthor1 karma

If the right idea comes along, I might try something.

ThomasBarca0 karma

Hello JO,

Im halfway through writing my first crime-novel. I have received extremely positive feedback from a known danish author (I can't mention the name), and also people who read some chapters, always ask for more. Yet financially Im finding it difficult to juggle writing with working. Is it possible to send a half-finished novel to an agency, and maybe write up a contract or do they only take a fully finished novel seriously?

JoNesboAuthor3 karma

I don't know. I don't think there are any rules. Just try. Worst thing is they return it, and want you to finish it. Sorry worst thing is of course that they hate it and tell you to never contact them again.

janisaa0 karma

Hi, I'm Janisa and I'm from Poland - big fan, read all your books. Propably You had been asked this many times but I still don't know how to pronounce Hary Hole. Is it Ho-leh or Hoo-la?

JoNesboAuthor1 karma

Hard to explain in writing, but it's not that far from the English pronunciation.

Splashbrother10 karma

Jo, such a huge fan here in Ukraine. Lots of questions to you, but I will try to simplify: 1. What impact if any have Stephen King books had on you? And if you read his works, could you please name your favorite ones, top-3. 2. Did you have a moment while reading a novel when you thought "ok, that's what I would also like to put on a piece of paper in my own way" 3. Please name 5-10 books you recentely read or went through?

Thank you and sorry for such nerdy questions))

JoNesboAuthor2 karma

Yea the last several times when reading writers like Knut Hamsun, Ernest Hemingway, Charles Bukowski, Vladamir Nabakov, Ray Bradbury.

paulodactyl0 karma

Just read The Son, terrific. Given he walks off in the end, is he likely to return in another book? Plus, some early books, eg. Karusellmusik and White Hotel have either/or not been translated or published in English; is this ever likely?

JoNesboAuthor1 karma

About Karusellmusik and White Hotel ... I haven't really thought about that.