Interview with Louise Warberg
Louise Warberg’s novel, Stories the Butterfly Told Me, has been an invaluable addition to the stories offered at Widbook. Told in beautiful prose that evokes feelings ranging from happiness to sadness to hope, Warberg gives us vignettes of life in various cities as we follow the butterfly through its journey.
Thank you for the opportunity to learn more about you and your work.
Amazing questions. It’s a joy to answer them.
First, congratulations on your book, Stories the Butterfly Told Me, having been selected as the book of the week at Widbook. That’s quite an accomplishment. I read your book and was especially moved by chapter three, in London. It was poignant and sweet. The cover was also top notch. What inspired you to start writing and how long have you been a writer?
Actually school did – whenever I wrote a story for an assignment, I would get it back with a high grade. Even when I hadn’t put any real effort into it. It just seemed so easy and natural for me to make up stories, make them unique, and try to make them interesting!
But of course I was very inspired by stories I’d read – I really wanted to try and write just as thrilling and interesting as the great writers do! So getting the acknowledgement and getting told what I wrote was good work – well, I guess it all added up to inspiring me to write in my free time.
I’ve been a writer for about 2-3 years – I’m still taking it a tad slow trying to focus on school though.
What types of writing have you done (fiction, non-fiction, genre, poetry, etc.)?
Fiction. Definitely fiction – mostly I’ve wrote some short stories, that’ve been, like, ‘serious’. Other than that, I’ve written/am writing several teen fictions, partly because the other site I write on is more for younger people – so that’s what they want to read! And I think it’s fun to write in that genre as well – it’s quite easy and has a lot of possibilities. So it’s a good way to practice my English.
Is there anything you know now that you wished you’d known when you first started out writing?
I wished I had been better at English when I first started writing. When I read through some of the first stuff I wrote, I always shake my head and think, “I wish I had written that correctly from the start.”
When you have a hard time getting motivated to write, what do you do?
I do something completely different. For me it’s more of a hobby right now, so it’s not something I have to force myself to do. I write when I feel really inspired and feel like writing, when I’m not motivated I do something else. Maybe something that will inspire me to write, like see a movie, spend time with friends, or even just go for a run.
I’ve often witnessed that when I’m not motivated to write, the stuff I then force myself to write is just useless and not very good. So I write when I feel like it. That’s what keeps it fun!
Do you have a writing routine?
I try to plan the major things in the plot very roughly – usually I always have the settings and characters crystal clear in my mind. I get an idea of what topics the story is going to touch – but then I just let my mind wander and write what I feel like, when it comes to actions and what is going to happen in the story.
What’s the best story you’ve ever written? Why?
Hm, well I guess it would be Stories the Butterfly Told Me. Actually, it’s the first serious short story I’ve ever written, so I can’t really compare it to my other works, as they were merely for practice and not something I could imagine publish for real.
I guess I really like Stories the Butterfly Told Me because it’s something I’ve put a lot of work into and I think it does what I want my stories to do: touch different important topics and maybe come up with a different view on them. Give people something to think about – inspire them, make them feel something – anything! I want my stories to be able to touch people and I think Stories the Butterfly Told Me actually manages to do that. Or at least that’s what my friends tell me it does!
What does the publishing landscape look like in your country? Do you have concerns about the future of publishing?
Well, I think Denmark is a pretty wide and open country when it comes to publishing. We accept a lot of different views and literature and we read a lot! A lot of people take interest in new published work and the Danish literature is also at an extremely high artistic level. Even though we are a small country, we’ve still had some amazing writers, such as H.C. Andersen and Søren Kirkegaard. So I think Denmark is a country which is eager to explore literature – and has been for a long time.
Honestly, I think there’s going to be an interesting development in the world of publishing. Everything is turning electronic these days – it’s just easier. I mean, with websites like Widbook, for instance, people can visit and find amazing stories without even paying for them. I still think readers enjoy buying an actual book from time to time. There’s just something very unique about holding a book in your hands and reading the written words.
But right now I don’t really worry for the future of publishing, though. I don’t really have any major plans concerning publishing my own stuff in the near future and I guess I therefore haven’t really chosen to spend time worrying about it.
But I do think that in the future it’s going to be harder to live off merely writing literature. The market is definitely there but online, and in that way it becomes cheaper to be a reader, but harder to become a full time writer.
In a few words, what advice would you give to new writers?
Explore the endless possibilities that writing offers and keep practicing how to tell your stories – let yourself get inspired by others, too. Just go for it and let your imagination flow; it should be fun to write, so make it fun. Make it your story and be proud of that, but always keep in mind that every writer can improve. Practice, practice, practice. I often think to myself when I’m writing, “Am I having fun writing this?” If the answer is, “Not really,” then my readers probably won’t have fun reading it, either.
Again, congratulations on your book of the week selection and we wish you well in your writing career, Louise.