Where art and life meet.

Alternative titles for this post include: “Life is Swede “and “I’ll admit it, I was fooled and fell for an apparition”. Let me explain…

(Warning: Potential plot spoilers here.)

One day last summer a bright sparky lass by the name of Regan left a comment on my blog. It went along the lines of “hello there, waving frantically across the Baltic to you”. I moderated the comment and popped over to check out her blog.

Turns out Regan was another version of me, albeit with a few differences. She was American for starters and had met her Swedish other half on a Thai beach. Still I liked what I read and decided to go back to the beginning. I didn’t have to go back very far: Regan’s blog launched earlier in the summer and basically picked up from her arrival in Stockholm.

Many of the earlier posts reflected exactly how I had felt when I first arrived in Finland. There is a special type of loneliness, mixed with awe, mixed with frustration mixed with excitement when you first move to a foreign country. Especially when there is no easy road ‘home’. I wanted to help and I wasn’t the only one. Regan attracted a whole chorus of helpful voices, everyone eager to assist this young lady stuck a million miles away from the familiar.

Then things started to go pear-shaped. At first it just looked like petty stuff. Girls being mean girls. Some multi-cultural mix ups. Nothing to get too worked up about and certainly no reason to jump on the next plane out. Then the bodies started piling up.

At the same time the tagging changed. A new category was there: crime fiction. Still the penny didn’t totally drop for me. Some of Regan’s followers were quicker on the uptake than me and became very vocal in expressing either pleasure or displeasure at this new turn of action.

When the penny did finally drop, I felt very foolish and a tad embarrassed. I’d invited Regan to catch up if she ever found herself in Helsinki! What’s more, I’d given relationship advice to a fictional character!!! (Advice I stand by, in case you are wondering.)

By now, however we were all invested in the bigger picture: was Anders really as innocent as Regan believed him to be? The blog continued to its fiery conclusion. Then the author ‘fessed up. She wasn’t a completely new arrival in Stockholm, although some of the things said and done had happened to her earlier. It was a work of fiction right from the very beginning, although the amount of interaction from the blog followers had taken the author quite by surprise.

I will readily admit to being taken in by the initial idea of the blog. It was me, 12 or so years ago. Except it was a misunderstanding over the difference between päärynä (pear) and peruna (potato)that nearly reduced me to tears one day. Poor Regan had alone confused with lonely. Believe me, every expat/immigrant/what-ever-you call yourself has been here. Just when you think you have everything under control, someone says or does something that just proves how wrong you are.

This was my story. Except I didn’t have dead bodies piling up at the mökki (cottage) after a weekend away! Still, I awaited every post and wondered what twist would unfold, where we would be lead… I commented as time and circumstances allowed and marvelled at the very loyal fans that contemplated, commented, forecasted and tried to solve the mystery for the rest of us on a post by post basis.

The best thing about those that took the time out to comment was that they all brought their own perspective of being Swedish, being an expat, being an expat in Sweden into the equation. I learnt plenty from my fellow commentators 😉

That story is over and we’ve all moved forward. Claire peeked out from behind Regan and introduced herself. Along with her plans of world domination. Plan one is to be on Amazon’s best seller list for a day. Life is Swede is now an e-book and already collecting some rave reviews. It’s a great read and if you follow the link this Friday, it’s at an extra special ‘Life Is Swede Day’ price. How cool is that. You too can have a piece of ‘art meets life‘ fiction.

As a bonus, there is a new series to follow and this one (IMO) is even more gripping. On my Blog Royalty list over on the left you’ll see Identity The Series. Check out the prologue and tell me you are not hooked immediately. Happy reading! Hope to see you in the comments section soon 😉

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