For this week’s Fast Forward Friday, we are excited to interview renowned Danish Novelist-Screenwriter-Children’s Book Writer Glenn Ringtved. Glenn’s award winning picture book CRY, HEART, BUT NEVER BREAK illustrated by Charlotte Pardi, has been translated into English by Writer-Playwright Robert Moulthrop (a previous Fast Forward Friday interviewee). CRY, HEART, BUT NEVER BREAK is receiving rave reviews and will be released this month in the US by Enchanted Lion Books. In 2014 Glenn received the “Writer of the year” award from the danish ministry of culture for his YA novel about teen suicide “DIG OG MIG VED DAGGRY.” (“YOU AND ME AT DAWN” ).
Q: What are you currently working on? Tell us about it.
Apart from a couple of movie scripts, I have just finished a YA novel about sexual abuse between children and young people within a family. It’s a tough subject, but very important to articulate. But it is also about the silence and taboo in a family, and how to deal with this.
Q: What was the inspiration and impetus for doing this project?
A young woman close to me told me her childhood story. And the worst thing for her was not the actual abuse but that she was told to keep quiet about it. Not to tell anybody. I spent a couple of years thinking about it and then asked her if she wanted to let me tell her story. And she was very happy that I did so because it had been such a destroying secret for her. She just wanted to scream it out. And she felt that a book would be a good way to do it.
Q: Who are your artistic heroes – who have had an impact on you and your work?
Not so many writers I am afraid. I am not much of a reader. I don’t come from a home of readers. But the radio was always on, so my heroes would mostly be musicians. First of all The Beatles. Their talent, originality and playfulness is an internal inspiration for me. And Bruce Springsteen too. I love the way that he can tell an epic novel in a three minute song. Goes straight to my heart.
Q: What keeps you motivated and inspired as an artist?
It’s very simple, to be honest: Writing makes me happy. Disappearing into a story and into the characters is the best thing I know. I don’t really care too much about the result, it’s the process that matters the most. Being glad and excited about my job (and hobby) every day.
Q: What other projects would you like to tell us about?
Well, I don’t really like to talk so much about what I am doing right now. It kind of loses the magic, when you talk too much about it. It’s better to keep it inside your head – and on paper. But there are many good things going on. Working on films and having books out in different parts of the world. Especially the YA novel Dig Og Mig Ved Daggry (“You and me at Dawn”) me co-written with Sanne Munk Jensen that we hope will be published in the US one day. It’s a book that I am really proud of and I think could do very well.
Q: What has been big your biggest obstacle in achieving your vision?
My wish to always have fun with what I am doing. I’m an autodidact writer who doesn’t care too much about the theoretical parts of writing. If I did, I maybe I could have been a better writer. But on the other hand I am always writing from the heart and I guess that’s a good quality as well.
Q: What do you do to stay connected to your creative self?
I try to live very much here and now. Not letting too many outer circumstances interrupt my life and thinking. So I am alone most of the time. And I take long walks by the North Sea where I live. That’s the most inspiring thing for me; just to walk and let the thoughts drift freely in many different directions … and then suddenly get an unexpected idea.
Q: If you could let go of something that has held you back, what would it be?
Being shy and sometimes a little too modest.
Q: What is your favorite piece of art?
That’s difficult. A shot from the hip could be the album Darkness on the Edge of Town by Bruce Springsteen.
Q: What person do you most admire, living or dead?
That would be John Lennon.
Q: If you could be known and celebrated for one thing, what would it be?
Apart from saving the world … I don’t really care about being celebrated but if somebody comes up to me and says “that book of yours changed my life – in a good way of course” I think I would be pretty satisfied.
Q: If you could describe yourself in one word what would it be?
Q: What is your guilty pleasure?
Lying on the couch pretending to be thinking about my work. But that’s not a guilty pleasure, is it? Watching Austin Powers Goldmember or listening to ’80s pop music.
Q: If you could sit down with yourself 15 years ago, what would you say?
Enjoy our life right now, son, is the best it will ever be. ‘Cause from now on it’s only downhill … I say that because my kids have left home and I miss being with them every day the way I was 15 years ago.
Q: Where would you most like to live?
Could be fun to try to live in NY for a period.
Q: What is your idea of success?
Being happy for what I am doing when I wake up in the morning. I have tried not to …
Q: What is your idea of happiness?
To wake up and really look forward to seeing what the day will bring.