I live near some woods, in Norway, with my husband and a fluffy dog. We have seven grandchildren. I have a liking for the trolls and dragons found lurking in the woods and fields. I’ve been taking pictures of them on my walks with Lula the dog. The pictures have now turned into stories. The stories came about all by themselves, the characters simply appeared and insisted that they be written about.
The Norwegian woods are full of trolls, you just have to know where to look. Lula, who is not the bravest dog in the world, and will run screaming when looked at by a cat, has overcome her fear of the trolls and now considers them her friends.
She, as you can see from the picture, is a black dog with a white chest in real life. In the stories I have had to make her grey. The reason for this is simple, drawing features on a black dog simply doesn’t work. The eyes became instantly invisible. I slightly regret it now, but the grey Lula is much easier to draw.
The author, also known as Besti, and her two eldest grandchildren
My grandchildren call me Besti, this is a shortening of Bestemor – Norwegian for grandmother – and is a name invented by me. It is not a word anyone has heard before, and often needs explanation. In fact, many people in England think I’m misspelling ‘Betty’.
Bestemor is a word I find hard to say because it has an R at the end of it. This might not seem to be an insuperable problem in the normal way. However, you pronounce the last letters of words in Norwegian, and R’s are either rolled, as in Spanish, or rasped, as in German, depending on which bit of Norway you live in. Now, we live in the rolling bit, and although I’ve lived here for over 40 years, I still can’t roll my R’s. Hence Besti, short and simple.
This link will take you to the Pictures of the trolls page, and you can see all the original photographs I was talking about in the first paragraph, and the way they turned into trolls. I can’t actually draw, but I’ve learnt with much trial and error to use Photoshop, and so that is what I do. I take a photograph, trace round it, colour it in, change it this way, change it that way, until I’m finally satisfied enough and can put it in the book. It takes ages.