Tina N Martin is as close to infectious laughter as she is to scary stories. Her books combine the darkest darkness with midnight light and sparkling snow in scenic Boden settings. In three years, Tina has churned out three crime novels that have taken her and Boden around the world.
Yes, it is possible to make a living from writing. In the ground. As a new writer. Tina N Martin certainly has a vivid imagination. But even a few years ago, she could not have imagined that she would be sitting on her patio at home in Boden, collecting figures from different countries’ bestseller lists for her books.
She was, and is, a high school teacher. Initially, she was a dance teacher. Today, it is her fingers that waltz across the keyboard, while she still has one foot in the school world as a Swedish teacher.
Although only two years have passed since her debut novel and she is already making a living as a writer, she has chosen to continue working as a teacher.
– Teenagers are the best people in the world. I am really passionate about young people and also get inspiration from them.
The situation of the younger generation in society, the adult world’s betrayal of young people, power and vulnerability, recur in several of her touching stories and fictional characters.
Tina N Martin has written three crime novels: The Liberator, The Thunderer and The Sorrowful Sister. It follows Detective Inspector Idun Lind and her colleagues through discoveries and revelations, with parallel flashbacks in time, space and human destiny.
The start of Tina’s writing career was not planned. It hit her like a bolt of lightning during her distance learning studies in religious studies.
– Reading about cults made me think about cult environments. The story I wanted to tell was so strong that I finally decided not to register for the last course in religious studies. I started writing my first book instead.
It was a stroke of luck to listen to my gut feeling and let what emerged be put on paper. Shortly after sending the manuscript to several publishers, she was signed as one of the authors in the Polaris stable, with a contract to continue publishing several books. The stand-alone sequel came just a year later. It is about trafficking.
– The thunderer I wrote in pure rage. It was completed in a few months. The latest book, Sorgsystern, was published in 2023 and is set in a closed juvenile detention center in a story about SiS homes and mental illness.
Tina talks animatedly about how she is a bit environmentally damaged by her murder stories and collects ideas and inspiration everywhere. She draws on the wealth of places, nature and seasonal changes that we have at our fingertips here in Boden.
– Norrbotten is perfect for murder! In the summer, we have light all the time and no lights to give anything away. We have rivers, ice, streams and forests.
Real-life characters and settings are intertwined with fiction and fantasy to create hair-raising stories. She is inspired by what is happening in Sweden and the world and identifies problems that she wants to highlight. But with its own twist.
Among many other things, her own childhood paths, climbing trees and the school she attended in Heden are featured in one of the books. In another, the steeple of the Överluleå church takes center stage.
– I think Norrbotten is too often a neglected part of literature. Northern Sweden is often described as barren with loners who don’t talk to each other and a focus on darkness, an image I don’t share.
Setting her murder stories in the bright, scenic and unique environment of Boden gives her books an extra dimension, which is especially appreciated by readers outside Scandinavia.
She is now writing her fourth book. According to her, more scary than any of the others, this time from the Harad forests.
– The risk is that I won’t be able to show myself in Harads again after the next book, but it was actually on a library visit there that a reader wanted me to choose Harads next time,” laughs Tina.
Exactly what it is about and what is contained between its covers is still top secret. But the story unfolds methodically, interspersed with site visits, fact-finding and inspiration.
– The dancer in me is used to working in a disciplined way and I follow a schedule. But I don’t show the script to anyone until it is ready. Then my publisher comes in and then the editor.
So, until then, we’ll have to make do. A tip – let Tina’s first books take you to Boden. And if you’re here, feel free to follow in her footsteps.
TEXT: ANNA BERGSTRÖM