CATHARINA INGELMAN-SUNDBERG: AUTHOR.

Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg is an established Swedish author, with total sales of more than 700,000 to her credit. Catharina has produced 17 books in several genres, including popular science, cartoon and children’s. She is perhaps best known and loved, however, for her historical fiction novels from the Viking period.

Catharina’s expertise comes from personal experience as a marine archaeologist and museum curator as well as the diligent research she carries out to authenticate detail. Her individual writing style, featuring depth of insight, and sense of surprise and humour, gives her books a special appeal. So much so that in 1999 she won the prestigious Widding Prize as the best writer of popular history and historical novels.

Books by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg:

1. Marinarkeologi—dykaren, arkeologen, fynden (Marine Archaeology—the Diver, the Archaeologist and the Finds), 1985, Wiken. ISBN 91-7024-235-6. Popular science.
2. Kampen mot bränningarna (The Battle Against the Breakers), 1991, Wiken; last reprint 1998, Richters. ISBN 91 7709 582 0. Historical novel on the Dutch East Indiaman Zeewijk.
3. Den svarta ejderungen (The Black Duck) 1991, Norstedts, ISBN 91-1-917072-6. Children’s book.
4. Bland hajar, karlar och vrak. (Among Sharks, Men and Shipwrecks) Raben Prisma 1995. ISBN 91-518-2781-6.
A book about the authors marin archaelogical expeditions around the world. 5. Vikingablot (Viking Sacrifice), 1995, Richters. ISBN 91 7705 104 1. Historical novel (Book 1 of trilogy.)
6. Vikingasilver (Viking Silver), 1997, Richters. ISBN 91 7705 221 8. Historical novel. (Book 2 of trilogy.)
7. Vikingaguld (Viking Gold) 1999, Richters. ISBN 91-518-4080-4. Historical novel. (Book 3 of trilogy.)
8. Boken om vikingarna (The Book About the Vikings), 1998, Prisma. ISBN 91-518-4393-5. Popular science.
9. Stockholms dolda museer. (The Hidden Museums in Stockholm), 2000, Ordalaget. ISBN 91-89086-14-7. Popular science.
10. Mäktig mans kvinna. Om vikingafurstinnan Ingegerd. (The Powerful Man’s Woman. About the Viking Princess Ingegerd), 2001, Richters. ISBN 91 7709 189 2. Historical novel.
11. Tantlexikon (Dictionary for Hags), 2005, Forum. ISBN 91-37-12550-8. Cartoon book, a humerous appreciation of ageing in women.
12. Forntida kvinnor—jägare, vikingahustru, prästinna (Ancient women—the Hunter, the Viking Women, the Priest), 2005, Prisma. ISBN 91-518-4080-4. Popular science.
13. Brännmärkt (Doomed) 2006. Forum. Historic novel.
14. Förföljd (Hunted) 2007. Forum. Historic novel.
15. Befriad (Liberated) 2009. Forum. Historic novel.
16. Tempelbranden (Temple Fire) 2010. Historiska media. Historic novel.
17. Kaffe med Rån (Coffee With Robbery) 2012. Forum. Detective story.
17. Låna är Silver Råna är Guld (Lending is Silver Robbing is Gold) 2014. Forum. Detective story.

FROM WRECKS TO VIKINGS: A PROFILE

Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg

“We will never know who they were, the strangers from the sea—bearers of the great misfortune—that one day at the end of the eighth century came ashore in Portland on the English shore. Nobody knows, as those that could have told were killed.”

The Book About the Vikings, by Catharina Ingelman–Sundberg, 1998.

Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg is one of Sweden’s favourite authors

As a child, Catharina read a lot. At the age of eight she met the great Swedish author, Olof Lagercrantz.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” he asked.

“A writer,” she replied.

Catharina’s first interest was history. At university she studied archaeology, history and the history of art. She worked for fifteen years as a historical scientist, specialising in marine archaeology—“the joyful journey of diving for history” as she calls it. She was either member or leader of expeditions in several parts of the world, often as a pioneer on wreck sites and helping develop methods of retrieving and preserving artifacts: revealing historical secrets through finds of delicate porcelain, silver, heavy cannon, massive timbers fascinated Catharina. Four years were with the Western Australian Museum in Perth, Western Australia, working on 18th century Dutch East Indiaman sailing ships that had foundered off the coast; she participated in the raising of Batavia and lead the exploration and salvage of the Zeewijk.

Catharina retired from the physical rigours of field work to take curatorial positions at the Maritime museums in Stockholm and Malmo, Sweden, and in Oslo, Norway. Having satisfied her interest in marine archaeology, it was time for her to change profession. She joined the school of journalism in Gothenburg, trying radio and television, but settling forwriting. The Battle Against the Breakers was published in 1991 and is in its fourth reprint, having sold 60 000 copies.

Diving at Birka, Sweden’s first Viking town, and discovering a defence system from the Viking era, resulted in the first of Catharina’s historical fiction Viking trilogy. Viking Sacrifice, along with the sequels Viking Silver and Viking Gold, have been translated into Norweigan, Danish, Roumanian and German. Together they have sold more than 90 000 copies and are still selling. English translations are underway.

The Book About the Vikings, describing the history and lifestyle of the Vikings, also continues to attract readers, having reached about 20 000 sales.

Catharina says a few words about being an author:

In writing historical fiction, as well as having the usual people and plot concept, you have to know what you’re writing about. It could be a marten hunt, sewing a dress or going sailing. How did one do these things at the time of, for example, the Vikings? Thorough research is required. Then comes the combining of the research and the imagination. You can have 80 to 90 scenes in just one book requiring organization. All these things consume time and brain power. There is no short cut. You really have to love what you’re doing, and I do.

I safeguard the facts from research for my novels. They go into a recycling depository, whereby no information is lost, but remains available for reuse in new contexts. Most books on Vikings are about politics and war. But I need women and children in my novels. My recycling collection, which comes from many sources, provides me with details on both. Few people would notice but, as an author, you continue to learn and experiment.

People should have fun when they read my books. And get history lessons along the way. A girl I knew had not studied properly for an examination but passed anyway, using facts she remembered from reading Viking Sacrifice. That’s rewarding.

Catharina is already working on a new book contract. Set in the Middle Ages it takes place in Stockholm, Sweden. It is a follow up of the book “Brännmarkt” based on the true story of the Käpplinge murders, at the time when Swedes, Germans and pirates were fighting for power in Scandinavia. It is along the Viking trilogy line: a love and adventure novel in the historical fiction style.

After that? Catharina thinks it would be amusing to try a contemporary novel …

Back to first page