Read her review of 172 Hours on the Moon here.
- Where did you come up with the idea for 172 Hours on the Moon?
Ideas are always difficult to backtrack, they seem to come from so many places more or less at the same time. One of my favourite film directors, Michel Gondry, once said: "An idea is two or more thoughts colliding." And I agree with that. So the question here is really what thoughts came before the idea. One of them was a thought about doppelgangers and why I've always been scared of the them, scared of one day meeting myself in the street. Another thought was: Why did we stop going to the moon in the early 1970's. Was it just a question of money? Or was it someone different. A third thought was this: If I was going to build a space station on the moon, what would it look like? And why would it be there? A fourth one: Why do I love the Talking Heads now and not when I was sixteen? A fifth: What happens if you expose your body to the vacuum of space? A sixth, while I was in Paris: Who's got money to live in those apartments next to the Eiffel tower? And do they know that I can look into their apartments using the binoculars mounted on the railing of the tower. And so on and so on. So the the answer to the question is this: I don't know where these thoughts came from, or why, but they did, and this is the beauty of writing: it's just there one day, most of the time when you're busy doing other things. And you may spend weeks, months, or even years figuring out what a book will be about or how to write it and then one day, just when you're picking up a loaf of bread in the store you realize: that's it! Then you have to run home, furiously taking notes and cancel all your appointments for the next six months or four years...
- Would you have entered the lottery to be one of the teenagers going to the moon?
If I'd gotten the opportunity when I was a teenager, I think so, yes. Now, whether or not I would have been brave enough to actually go to the moon if I won is another question completely. I've never considered myself very brave. I'm the kind, anxious type, I'm afraid. But at least I would have dreamt about having the courage to do something like that. Which, in its own way, was something that made me feel very interested in the characters. I admired their bravery and wanted to spend time with them, and, believe it or not, I wanted them all to come home safely. Now, one doesn't always get what one wants, eh?
- What are you writing next?
I'm currently in the middle of writing what will be my first adult novel since 2007 and I'm hoping to have it out in Norwegian early 2014. Over the last years I've been working a lot on writing for the theatre (which is like pushing elephants up the stairs with your hand tied to your back), publishing plays and a non-fiction book that came out in October, about my relationship with the Norwegian rock band called Motorpsycho, especially their album "Blissard" (intentionally misspelled, by the way) from 1996. It completely which changed my life when I was 17. Then of course I discovered The Velvet Underground and Radiohead and my life was changed yet again, but that's another story... You should all check it out (Blissard) as it's a great record and one of Norway's most diverse and interesting rock groups. Btw, an English edition of this book might become available as part of a 7xLP special edition of the album, slated for release in the fall. So if you want to spend 90 pounds on limited edition box by a band you haven't heard before, this is surely the one to go for! But since I've been away from novels for some years, it's an absolute joy (and sometimes a nerve wrecking ordeal as well…) to be able to fully immerse myself in the process of writing a novel.
- What is it you love the most about writing?
I always wanted to be a great singer. Or a talented musician at least. Or a film director. Or a painter. Or a music producer or a film editor. At its best, writing literature feels like a combination of all these things and the most precious art form there is. The freedom you have to do whatever you want, think whatever you want, create whatever you want, analyze it, live in it, find friends and loves which feels as real as real people while you're writing, without having to be concerned about the cost of special effects or shooting schedules or renting a music studio or buying equipment – it really amazes me sometimes.
Thank you very much, Johan Harstad.
172 Hours on the Moon is out now, published by ATOM.