Even as I pursued a doctorate in the history of ideas in my native Denmark, I realized I had neither the encyclopedic training nor the passion for cool logic – not to mention the nerve – to follow in the footsteps of classical liberal philosophers and economists such as Robert Nozick, Friedrich Hayek, and Milton Friedman.
I was in Siena and decided I wanted to write a story set there. Then I discovered that the original story of Romeo and Juliet was set in Siena. It occurred to me that this was too much of a gift – I had to do it. That’s how I ended up writing a parallel story to Romeo and Juliet.
I think Shakespeare is everybody’s treasure.
I’m from Europe, and I was very aware that there are a lot of literature snobs – especially in Europe. As soon as something becomes a success, it has to be bad, and then they’ll do everything they can to stab it to death.
Verona is a very beautiful city, but Siena just never ceases to fascinate me.
Within the realm of fiction, it is always tempting to set one’s stories in a dystopian future, where all our misgivings about state power can be shown in full force.
A novel is, hopefully, the starting point of a conversation, one in which the author engages readers and asks that they see things from a different point of view than they might otherwise.
While at Oxford in 1999, I met Jonathan Fortier, who is a Montreal-born Canadian. Despite the challenges of a transatlantic relationship, we remained keen on each other and eventually married in 2002.
Ever since childhood, I’ve been interested in history and myth. Not just the facts and figures of the past, but everything that contributes to shape our perception of an age: architecture, art, literature and so forth.
In many ways, a degree in the history of ideas is the ideal training for an aspiring writer.
I absolutely believe the past had its share of warrior women who fought like men. Whether some of these were the actual Amazons from Greek myth is another matter.