Author: Lene Fogelberg

Cover Reveal

Friends, I am beyond excited to share the cover for my novel The Lightning Tree with you! This is the first installment of a YA trilogy that will be out March 15, 2022.

Andrew Davis, the cover artist, has captured so much of the story in his design, and I was completely floored when I first saw it. I hope you like it!

Thank you all for cheering me on while writing this novel and trilogy! Your support has meant so much to me and I am happy that I can finally introduce you to the characters of The Lightning Tree.

And finally, an introduction to the story:

Flora Reed discovers a lifeless body in her front yard the morning after the last day of her junior year of high school. Matters get worse when more people from her small town are found dead under mysterious circumstances and police take an interest in the boy next door, Carl. Flora is convinced that Carl is innocent. Instead, she suspects that the deaths are somehow connected to her younger sister Fauna’s tragic accident a year earlier. What she learns changes everything and she has to race against time to prevent the killings from spreading. Flora and a small group of friends soon find themselves at the onset of an apocalyptic battle between man and nature, with no one believing their story.

The Lightning Tree is the first installment of The Natural Intelligence Revolution Trilogy.

More to come soon!

Love,

Lene

In Full Swing

I DID IT!

I finally finished my big writing project that I have been working on for the past four years! Such an amazing feeling! I have been hard at work for months to complete the editing, and I can finally say that I. AM. DONE. (Well, a text is always subjected to tweaks right up until publication, but you know what I mean…)

This is a project that I have loved writing though, and it feels a little empty now that I don’t get to ‘visit’ the people and places of the story every day. I know they’re fictional, but I have been close to these ‘people’ for four years now, so they’re starting to feel like family. 🙂

Ok, so maybe it’s time for me to reveal a little about this project, with emphasis on ‘little’, he he. I will reveal everything in good time, but for now, I’ll say that it is a Young Adult trilogy, taking place in the near future, in a fictional town close to the small town in Pennsylvania where we lived in the US. There are dystopian elements for sure, and action, drama, friendship, tragedy, love, and some horror in these high impact books whose titles I will not reveal at this time.

It took me about a year to write each of the books, and then an additional year to edit and tighten the whole trilogy so that everything fits together. It has been such a challenge and such a JOY to write these books that are close to my heart. I am sure that I was inspired to write YA by my two daughters who were 17 and 15 when I started the trilogy, and who both are avid readers. One of the challenges was to write in English, my second language, but it felt like the most natural option considering that the story takes place in the US, and that we at the time lived in an, to a large extent, American expat community in Kuala Lumpur.

My literary agent and I are now assessing the best way forward for this project, but I can tell you with certainty that the books will be available to readers in a not too distant future!

Aaaah, I can’t wait to tell you EVERYTHING!! I’m just so excited for this trilogy and I can’t wait to show it all to you! Until then I have planned a summer full of poetry and painting and long walks by the ocean, while I plot my next book…

What are you up to this summer? Will you stay home, or travel somewhere, depending on the restrictions in your area? We will stay home, but we’re cautiously optimistic about traveling to Spain in the fall to visit my parents. Hopefully we can make it happen, but it’s hard to plan things these days. I’m still clinging to my list of ‘Hopes’ that I told you about in my last blog post. One of them was to finish the trilogy, and I DID IT! In essence, my hope was that this year would be all about creativity and I am happy to report that creation is in full swing!

Love,

Lene

A Hope to Create

Happy Holidays, everyone! How are you doing? This has been a strange and difficult year, to say the least.

In the middle of the pandemic, we moved from Kuala Lumpur and back home to Sweden. We landed in March, and enjoyed the light spring evenings and then the beautiful Swedish summer (I took the photo a few minutes’ walk from our new home). But I have to tell you, now it’s getting a bit chilly! It’s still beautiful though, I love the humid, foggy climate here on the Swedish west coast, often magical this time of year with the naked trees wrapped in thin veils of mist.

As the year nears its end, it’s time for me to choose a new theme word for the coming year. In fact, I’ve already got one in mind that has stemmed from a place of longing in my heart for quite some time now. 

For the last two years I have chosen the simple, but powerful theme word: “Work”. And I have worked hard at honing my craft; to be able to write under challenging circumstances, with or without inspiration, sharpening my discipline. However, at the end of these two years, it all started to feel a lot like just… work. I felt I needed to find my way back to the joy of creating.

So, for 2021, my theme word will be: “Create”. And it has already boosted my enthusiasm and energy! I have picked up long neglected paintbrushes and paint and started painting again, inspired by long walks by the ocean. I can’t even describe how much joy this gives me! And concerning my writing, I am inching closer to reaching my goal in 2021. Hopefully, I can finish this project and finally tell you all about it!

Hope is another word that I feel will define the coming year; instead of making plans for 2021, I have written a list of “hopes”. One thing we have learned during this past year, is that plans can be changed drastically and without warning. There are still a lot of questions about how and when things might go back to something resembling normalcy after the pandemic, and meanwhile I can draw comfort from my list of “hopes”, hoping they might one day come true. One of these hopes is to be able to visit my parents who are living in Spain, and another is to finally finish my big writing project. I also wish to write more poetry and keep painting, making next year into a year of bustling creativity!

I also hope for all of us to be healthy and happy and surrounded by love and support, finding joy in the days as they come.

What are your wishes and hopes for 2021?

Hugs and take care,

Lene 

Work, Recharge and More Work

This time of year, I like to think back on the year we’re about to leave behind, as well as the possibilities of the one ahead. A few years ago, I started a tradition that has stuck with me: to choose a theme word in the beginning of the year to guide and inspire me as I pursue my goals.

2019 has seen big changes in our family, with our oldest daughter moving to Sweden in January. The rest of us went back to Sweden in the summer to attend the wonderful wedding ceremony and reception as she married our dear son-in-law, and then we went to Boston to help our youngest daughter settle into her five-week Berklee music college program. My husband and I also bought a new house in our hometown, before going back to Malaysia after an intense summer! The end of the year finds us all reunited here in Kuala Lumpur for the high school graduation of our youngest and to celebrate the holidays together.

We just came home from spending a couple of days in Pangkor Laut, a tropical island just off the Malaysian west coast, which is one of our favourite places to unwind from the stressful city life.

My theme word for 2019 was “work”, which served me well as I worked hard to finish my book manuscript in between all of these happy occasions and travels. With this latest manuscript, I have reached my goal of writing one book every year for these past four years. Which brings me to my theme word for the next year, which I have decided will simply be a repetition of last year’s: work.

I feel that after a few weeks of recharge during the holidays, I am ready to dive back into writing and editing with all the passion I have for this wonderful craft that I love. Yay! I can’t wait to tell you more about my latest project, but this is all I can share for now…

One thing that I can share, is that we are preparing to move back to Sweden in the spring, which will be a huge change for us after eight years in Asia. I am a bit anxious about the move, even though I consider myself a veteran of moving overseas at this point… I am very happy that we already have our new house in place, so that one big thing is already taken care of.

We are all looking forward to seeing our friends and family back home on a regular basis, as well as enjoying Swedish food and nature, both of which we have also missed dearly.

Wishing you joy and health in abundance in the coming year, with strength and energy to fulfill your dreams,

Love,

Lene

The Magical Words

When our girls were small and the days whirled by in a daze of everyday stress and mess, we tried to squeeze in some quality parenting as often as our sleep-deprived brains could muster. One of the principles we felt was important to teach them, was gratitude. So when they got something nice from someone, we had a gentle way of nudging them to remember to show gratitude: “What are the magical words?” we would ask them. “Thank you!” they shouted with their light voices and giggled.

Even though our girls are not little anymore, every now and then I’m reminded of this principle: the importance of gratitude, but also, the importance of words themselves. I believe that when we think, or say thank you, we feel more grateful, and the more we recognize things to be grateful for; the more of them we find.

I, like many of us, have had my fair share of dark days, and sometimes it really seems impossible to look for rays of light. Sometimes we just need to give ourselves a break and tell ourselves: This too shall pass. Then those words carry us through the darkness. This is something I have often marvelled at; words’ nearly magical power to change our moods and even our lives. Words like: I love you, and Will you marry me, and even simple words like: Yes or No can change our lives in an instant. There is a chasm between words like: I can do this and I will never make it.

When I write my novels, and perhaps even more when I write poetry, I ponder every word: its place in the sentence, all the other words I could have used, down to every little comma and punctuation mark. When building fictional worlds for the mind to wander, the words are the brushstrokes and the colors, breathing life into the scenes and the characters; they are truly magical.

In this season of change in our family, I’m grateful for the new gifts that are coming into our lives: an upcoming wedding for our oldest daughter, an amazing son-in-law, an exciting summer for our youngest; studying music at her dream college, and to top it all off, my husband and I bought a house!

We stumbled upon a beach bungalow in our home town of Gothenburg that checked all our boxes, and somehow we managed to buy it all the way from Kuala Lumpur. We haven’t seen it in real life yet, only pictures and videos, but after nearly eight years in Asia, we’re excited to be able to go back to Sweden more often to visit. And a house by the ocean! If you’ve followed my blog, you know I have dreamed about a house by the sea for years and years. The house we bought even comes with “a room of my own” as Virginia Woolf put it: a studio for me to write and create in. Perhaps I can pick up the passion of my youth again, painting sweeping seascapes of the ocean.

I look forward to continue to chase the magical words in our little beach bungalow; to wander down to the beach and to find my favorite spot among the cliffs by the sea. To look out to the horizon and wonder at the many miracles and hardships that brought me there. To breathe in the salty air and to exhale a quiet thank you.

Love,

Lene

Find Your Path

Since I wrote my last blog post: This Will Be Interesting, I’ve had a very “interesting” couple of months. Without going into details, let’s suffice it to say that last year was not my best one, but by no means my worst.

All in all, 2018 was a good year, but at the same time a string of disappointments, the one after the other, forced me to put my own advice to practice.

Determined to learn from my disappointments, I have forged on, with my eyes fixed on the future, and refused to dwell on the things that didn’t go my way. And now I am very happy that I did, since I now have a brand new book manuscript ready, which I wrote and edited during the last four months of the year. I have been stretching myself, working on such elements as speed and determination to reach my goal.

And I have learned all over again, that no matter how much other people’s paths to success may inspire, they’re never truly compatible to my own life. I have to find my own path, listen to my own voice, my own heart.

My focus words for 2018 were determination, resilience and patience, and boy, did I need all of these attributes! This year, I will focus on walking steadily down *my* path, and not be distracted by what other people are doing and their choices.

I think that when you’re working in a creative field, there’s always a danger of being pulled down by doors that are slammed in your face, rejections, and even people who try to tear you down. That’s why it’s extra important not to listen to the voices that tell you that you can’t, but instead listen to your heart that tells you that you can.

When you truly want to create something that wasn’t there before, you are always in a sense alone, and you have to find your own path and walk down it with determination. After all, the vision is yours, and the nay-sayers can perhaps glimpse it, but never fully see it until you have materialised it with your own hard work.

These past couple of months, I have also focused on not getting my motivation from outside validation, but to find my energy and joy from the work, the writing, itself. And this has been my best lesson from 2018! I found such tremendous joy in writing this last book manuscript, and I feel more confident and happy with my effort, than any outside validation could have given me. A deep sense of achievement, which no one can take away, because I found my own path through the disappointments, and came out stronger on the other side.

As we’re entering this new year, I’m wishing you boundless joy and fulfillment, dear friends! Let’s walk down our paths with confidence and a spring in our steps!

Love,

Lene

P.S. I snapped the picture as I was walking down to the beach in Tanjong Jara, on the Malaysian East coast. I just love the view of the little pathway and the stairs leading down to the water. Discovering this beautiful place was definitely one of the highlights of 2018.

This Will Be Interesting

Have you ever felt overwhelmed? Ok, that was a rhetorical question, I am sure you have, as have I, many times.

Life is hard. Sometimes it feels like stuff is thrown at us with lightning speed. We are filled with questions regarding the future: How will we manage? What if…? What if not…? The worry, or angst, can be paralyzing, not to mention times when we are overcome by grief, sadness, or depression.

I have often wondered at how we are born and instantly just thrown into the chaos, left to make our decisions as best we can. I certainly didn’t come with a manual that warned about my hidden congenital heart disease, or the depression that I would experience because of it, or the nearly crippling fear before my open-heart surgery. I didn’t have a handbook called “How to Raise Toddlers When Your Body is Ninety Years Old and No-one Knows Why”.

But I want to share one approach that I have found to give comfort in any circumstance we might find ourselves in. I have at least not yet encountered any situation where this approach wasn’t useful or comforting.

When my first book, the Wall Street Journal bestseller Beautiful Affliction, was about to be published, I was thrown onto a roller coaster of emotions that I wasn’t prepared for. It was a mix of anxiety for how the book would be received, the fear that often comes from walking into unknown territory, the uncomfortable feeling of exposing myself, and constant decisions that needed to be made, with no way of knowing for sure how the decisions would impact the book’s success.

My way of coping with this prolonged stressful situation, was to repeat the mantra that had helped me through the challenges described in the book: This will be interesting. I chased away thoughts that worried about success, and let myself rest in the assurance, that either way, the journey would be interesting. The assurance that I would learn a lot. The belief that things would work out for the best and even if they didn’t, it would at least be interesting.

It might sound simple, but the truth is we can always grow, always learn something. If nothing else, we can examine and learn from our own emotional response to the situation we are in. That is, I have found, often extremely interesting. Because we are not so different after all, and anything we can learn from our own experiences, can help us connect with others in a more profound way. Every time we feel something, which is all the time, we grow to better understand humanity.

As writers, we can use what we learn in our work, but every person is a creator–a writer of sorts–of their own story, and we can use what we learn in our interactions with friends and family, and thus grow, and learn, and grow even more. Even in times when we feel like our lives stand still and we learn nothing at all. Perhaps especially in such times.

Then, whatever dark place we find us in, the view can still be interesting, and even spectacular.

Love,

Lene

To Create Amid Uncertainty

Virginia Woolf said that “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction”.

I often come across this quote on social media, and it always stirs something in my chest. Perhaps because I had very little money for many years (which is often what happens when you have children early, and I regret nothing) and I still don’t have a room of my own. In addition, for the last ten years I have moved five times, of which 3 have been to another continent, and four to another country. I have lived in the US, Sweden, Indonesia and now, Malaysia, and I am tremendously grateful for all the experiences I have gained, thanks to my husband’s work, which takes us across the globe.

The way this expat-life works, is that our contract has to be renewed every year, and we consequently never know more than, and often less than, a year in advance where we are going to live. Of these past ten years, we have lived two in our native Sweden, and close to seven years in Asia.

Often have I felt a yearning for my own space to create in, a place that is constant. I dream of writing in front of a window with a view to a meadow, or the ocean. I can certainly understand why Virginia Woolf felt the way she did in her day, long before laptops and internet.

And I feel there is more to a room of one’s own, than the physical space. I feel that Virginia probably meant that we need peace of mind, the kind of peace that money and a room of one’s own can give, that will let the writer immerse herself in her work completely.

But unless we become John Donne’s famous “island”, we will always have things on our minds, important things, and less important. Life is a constant change, full of anxiety, worry, uncertainty, health issues, I guess even with “money and a room” of one’s own.

Even writing itself is full of uncertainty. Will this piece of writing fulfil my expectations? Will it find a home in the publishing world? Will people like it?

I have found that when I focus on writing for myself, I can concentrate better on the work, and it becomes more enjoyable. It is also easier to shut out the anxiety that is inherent in writing, as well as the uncertainties that come from living in a foreign country. When I feel passionate about a writing project, I let that passion guide me into the text, where I can forget all worries, and just create. Then creating becomes a refuge, something constant amid the ever-changing. All these years, no matter how little money, or how little space I’ve had, I have always had writing, like an anchor in a turbulent sea. And for this I am so very grateful.

Love,

Lene


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