Hélene Fermont’s novels are character-driven and deal with a number of dark, emotional issues – but what is the lady behind them like?
Which movie did you see the first time you were out on a date to the cinema?
The first film I saw on a date was Fanny and Alexander directed by Ingmar Bergman and starring a host of elite Swedish actors. It’s a family drama that fundamentally deals with a controlling father figure who domineers the lives of his wife and stepchildren. The characterizations from the actors and Bergman’s excellent directing never cease to amaze me!
I was very young at the time and have watched it several times since the release. My date was slightly older than me and was the son of one of my Mother’s friends. He took me out to a nearby bistro after we saw the film but after a couple of dates our adolescent fling fizzled out!
What makes you cry when watching a movie?
Films I like are mainly character driven. To make me cry it has to move me or strike a chord. I always get emotional when I watch films like Bridges Of Madison County, The Notebook, One Day and A Song for Martin. The last is a Swedish production and deals with the outcome of a loved one suffering with Alzheimer’s.
Where you ever taken on a date to a sporting event?
Not really! On a date I prefer the focus to be on the people who are on the date, rather than what goes on around them!
How sporty are you?
I love walking! It clears my mind and I’m able to come up with ideas for novels! It’s also the best way to discover the outdoors and places I’d have overlooked just travelling by car. Swimming is another of my favorite pastimes. I also love to watch tennis – it’s such an elegant sport!
Which sports people do you admire?
Definitely the Swedish tennis player Björn Borg. He won five consecutive Wimbledon tournaments and retired from the game at the peak of his sports career. I was too young to appreciate it fully at the time but I always knew and admired how much he achieved.
When a sporting event is a contest between Swedish and British teams, whom do you shout loudest for?
I’ve one leg in each camp so to speak! My late parents were British and Swedish.
Which art gallery, exhibition and installation would you recommend in Sweden and the UK?
In Malmö, I frequently visit the art gallery Leger. It’s one of the oldest galleries in Malmö and predominantly features contemporary Nordic landscape paintings and sculptures. Malmö’s oldest surviving Renaissance Castle and Malmö Konsthall also offer a number of exhibitions throughout the year.
In London, I like to visit the Tate Modern and The Royal Academy of Arts. I enjoy an eclectic mixture of new and old artwork.
Which are your two favorite restaurants in Sweden and the UK?
That’s a tricky question to answer! I hardly get the time to visit my favorite restaurants since work and writing take up most of my daily life.
When my partner and I get the time, we like to eat in Annie’s restaurants in Barnes and Chiswick. They’re romantic, and they have great ambience and food. Another favorite of mine is The Harcourt in Marylebone as they serve a Scandinavian inspired menu. Lisa’s restaurant in Portobello Road is also lovely. It serves really authentic Swedish cuisine.
In Malmö, we often visit some of the places I wrote about in Because of You and my new novel We Never Said Goodbye. My personal favorites are Epicuré and Qui Osteria. Both serve great food and have a fantastic atmosphere. You’ll have to read my novels to find out about the others!
What is your food heaven and hell?
I love fish, vegetarian dishes, pasta and poultry but I’m less keen on spicy food and meat dishes.
Describe a perfect date for two of your characters.
Again, without giving away too much, I think the dates in my novel Because of You are quite romantic. A perfect date for them may be a picnic in Richmond Park, by the river, somewhere in the countryside or even just at home.
Personally I love to share a candle lit dinner with my partner, just the two of us. It’s so important to nurture the love between the two of you and it’s equally important to communicate. In Malmö I love nothing better than having a picnic on the beach or in one of the parks or commons, which are free for everyone to visit day and night.