By Seija Rankin
November 10, 2020 at 12:00 PM EST
Jo Nesbo
Credit: Stian Broch; Knopf

Jo Nesbo knows good crime. The literary powerhouse has written dozens of detective books that have collectively sold more than 45 million copies worldwide, and an HBO adaptation of his novel The Son starring Jake Gyllenhaal was just announced. But this fall, Nesbo will pivot from his longstanding crime-solving series to release The Kingdom, a book about the tensions that arise between two brothers when one moves back to town with a mysterious new wife. And yes, there will be murder (this is Nesbo, after all). Ahead of the book's Nov. 10 release, the author is participating in EW's author questionnaire — read on to find out how he got his start and how he gets it all done.


ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What is the first thing — ever — that you remember writing?

JO NESBO: A poem I wrote in one of one of my classmates' books called a memory book, I don't know if you have those? I was probably 9 years old, and since I didn't like the usual greeting you would write, I came up with my own words. Not something that hinted at a career as a writer, I'm afraid.

What is the last book that made you cry?

If I can't remember actually having cried while reading a book, does that make me emotionally stunted?

Which book is at the top of your current to-read list?

Climbing Free, by Lynn Hill. Actually, I've read it but I need to read it again, as part of research for something I'm working on.

Where do you write?

I used to write in local coffee shops, but since March I write at home. In my loft.

Which book made you a forever reader?

Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain. I was hooked at a young age, and my mother, a librarian, kept feeding my habit.

What is a snack you couldn't write without?

I need sugar cubes with my coffee. Brown sugar.

If you could change one thing about any of your books, what would it be?

There are some passages in my book The Phantom that were especially violent. I do believe that you sometimes need to describe violence to establish characters by their deed. But in hindsight I can see that the descriptions of someone being tied to an oven were beyond that.

What is your favorite part of The Kingdom?

How the older brother in the story denies his feelings and tries everything not to fall in love with his younger brother's wife.

What was the hardest plot point or character to write in this book?

It was a challenge to lay out in the right tempo and the right places the complex love-and-hate relationship both brothers had with their father.

Write a movie poster tag line for The Kingdom.

Two brothers, one woman.

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