The fifth season marks the end of the season series about criminal inspector Malin Fors. The books in the season series have been a Dante-esque study in evil. I really try to look at evil from all possible angles to try to answer what it is, where it comes from, what it feels like, how it smells….
I approached the inner core of evil and through this process I knew The Fifth Season was to be a gruesomely and terribly violent book. To afford me very frightening room full of light, no comapssion, only pain and death and above all, violence with no feeling.
It was hard to write all this, and try to find it in myself, but that is an absolute must if the writing was to be worth anything in the end.
The next books featuring Malin have a theme of love, which is where I ended up in The Fifth Season. Love, for me, is the closest thing to evil’s neighbour, hate.
One problem I had when writing The Fifth Season was to try to tie up the case of Maria Murvall, which has run as a side story throughout the other books in the Season series. To be honest, there was no masterplan from the beginning, so I had to look at all the books; the storylines, the characters to try to develop a story about the case of Maria Murvall, the girl who walks out of the dark swedish woods one morning, as if raped and tortured by nature itself. This was very challenging, and rewarding, because when I sat down to write it, it was magic, like the story had been there from the beginning, just waiting to be written.
In the writing porcess I had to be stone cold, even more than usual, to not get emotionally involved in my charachters, otherwise I knew the book would be a disaster. The more I write, the more I believe in the stone cold writer’s eye, sadly enough. Emotion should be felt by the reader, not by the writer in the process of writing. You have all that accesible, and you access your compassion through your skill. It is the only way to write true things.
One of the joys of writing about Malin is that by now she is alive for me. It is like she tells me what she wants, and I know what she can’t have. She is so full of desires, needs, faults and has a big, big heart. Writing about her is like sitting with a really good and interesting friend at a bar, trying not to get too drunk or carried away. A great life experience in all.
I am proud of The fifth season. I think it says something valuable about evil, what it is, its nature. I did not look away from what I found inside myself in the artistic process of writing the book, although that would have been a much easier thing to do than to drive down all the way to the heart of darkness.
Now on to love!
The Fifth Season by Mons Kallentoft is published by Hodder