Linni Ingemundsen’s debut novel ‘The Unpredictability of being Human’ is a bold step into the YA fiction genre. Get to know more about her journey through writing the coming-of-age novel here.
Thanks for taking the time to speak to us! First up, for those who haven’t heard of ‘The Unpredictability of being Human’ how would you entice them to pick up a copy?
For some reason, I have the feeling that one will either love this book or really truly dislike it. If you are looking for a book with a strong voice, a unique character and a quirky writing style you might like it.
This is your debut YA novel, where did you pull your main inspirations from for the title?
Coming up with a title was a bit of a process and for the longest time, nothing seemed quite right. The book is about growing up and Malin tries to make sense of the world, find out who she is and what it means to be human. In the end, it was my publishers who came up with this title and I think it’s perfect.
You studied an MA in Creative Writing while writing ‘The Unpredictability of being Human’ how did you manage to balance the two?
Writing this story was a big part of my MA Course and I handed in an excerpt of the novel as my dissertation. It was actually much easier to write while I was studying because I was receiving feedback as I was doing it and I had specific deadlines to work towards. The real challenge began when the course ended and I had to balance writing the novel next to work and life just like a real writer. I remember writing during lunch breaks a lot, in the beginning, to try and keep the flow up.
Can you tell us what a typical writing day looks like for you?
On a good day, I will start writing as soon as I wake up which is usually between 7.30 and 8.30 am. (Or 7.26 and 8.32 as Malin would say) Then, once the rest of the world awakes I might venture out to a coffee shop. If I stay at home it is too easy to get distracted and end up doing housework or something. Mostly, I just go out so I can procrastinate in a different environment. I find a way to take a break every time I hit an obstacle and every time I come up with a solution. (In case the solution doesn’t work I need some time to be happily ignorant before realising this.)
The book is set in the fictional Norwegian town of Haasund, what was your reasoning for not choosing a real town?
I wanted to draw inspiration from my childhood and at the same time have the freedom to make things up. For example, small town shops similar to Holberg’s doesn’t really exist in my area anymore and this was something I wanted to include in the story.
It was quite refreshing to read a book that had an authentic teenage character, Malin deals with some traumatic events in her life. Did you base her character on anyone you know?
None of the characters are based on anyone in particular and as far as I know, there is only one Malin Sande. The characterisation of her actually came rather spontaneously. When I started the story I had no idea that she would be so concerned about time and rules or how literal her take on everything would be.
What advice would you give to people looking to start a career as an author and become published?
I think one of the most important things is to finish your stories. It is tempting to constantly go back and edit yourself during the process, but you won’t get anywhere until you have a beginning middle an end actually written down. You will experience numerous problems and issues as you are writing, but these can all be fixed later. Keep going and keep writing. (Oh, how easy life would be if I was actually able to take my own advice)
‘The Unpredictability of being Human’ is going to be made into a film! Who would be your dream cast?
I don’t really know the names of a lot of actors but I think a Wes Anderson cast would bring justice to the flat dialogues, the tension and the dysfunctional family relations. I find it hard to picture Malin so I think she might be played by a new talent that hasn’t been discovered yet.
Lastly, you’re also a freelance cartoonist! If you could incorporate any other literary character into a cartoon version of ‘The Unpredictability of being Human’ who would it be and why?
I’d like to see Willy Wonka “help” Malin make sense of the world. Malin doesn’t like things that are not logic and Mr Wonka doesn’t like to be questioned. I think they could have some interesting conversations.