interviewIn Copenhagen, Denmark, Danish Blogger and Designer, Stine Kim Nielsen, met up for an exclusive interview with indie author, Anya Valentino.

Stine Kim Nielsen is an established businesswoman. She has worked for years in a managing position until creating her own clothing brand “StineKimDesign” and company with the same name where she is now known for her signature leather items. Also, Stine manages her own blog about fashion, style, and new trends; and she has continuously been nominated and won “look of the day or season” within the established fashion community in Denmark.

Today, Stine is on the mission to get to the bottom of what the novel ‘Misunderstood – Secrets of a Teen Queen’ really is about, why the cover looks more like a fashion magazine than a book cover, and get insight into the main character, Enya Utzon; and why she is Danish-American.

How did you get started writing (as this is your first novel)?

‘Misunderstood’ is the first novel that I’ve written and published as an ebook. I’ve been establishing a career as a businesswoman for more than a decade, but one day I woke up and decided to try out a new direction in life working on something that’s truly my own project which I love.

Actually, it’s a funny story how it stated out as sporadically writing on a lot of different stories. Then a close girlfriend of mine, who’s a designer and travels to India on and off all the time, asks me if I have anything interesting that she could read on one of her trips. I was like, “Okay, sure. I have this unfinished and random story but I don’t know if it’s anything worth reading”. My friend is a big fan of the ‘Gossip Girl book series” and long story short, she reads my book and loves it. Her comment on the novel was that she thought it gave ‘Gossip Girl’ a run for their money!

From that point on, I decide to continue writing on it. Eventually, it turned into what it is now – An independently released novel!

Why the title ‘Misunderstood’?

The title of the novel was something that I was never unsure about. It was just right. It intrigues me that the lives we live in are driven by subjective understandings of the reality and the world that we perceive are based on our background: where we grew up and who affected us. In fact, isn’t everyone in some way or another “Misunderstood”?

In the novel, I play with the idea and the boundaries of how things can be misunderstood or viewed through different eyes and characters. If you take a closer look into the characters of the novel, the main character, Enya Utzon, isn’t the only one who’s “Misunderstood”.

Why is it that the cover looks like a magazine cover?

I decided to make the cover look a magazine as apposed to a traditional book cover. It’s the whole idea in fact! The interesting thing about the cover is that it is deludes you, just like Enya Utzon’s world in the book. Enya is a covergirl and her life is on the front page for everyone to watch and read about, so why not make the cover illustrate that! The interesting thing is also that her face cracks, as if she’s made of porcelain – again underlining the fact that Enya is misunderstood and throughout the book it becomes hard for her to keep up her façade – therefore the cracks.

The cover is totally ironic – and that’s what I love about it; even if others might disagree. I think, it’s one of those things that you either love or hate, which is fine by me, as I would rather make a statement than be indifferent and forgotten in the crowd of all the e-books that are out there.

What was your inspiration behind the protagonist Enya Utzon
– and why is she Danish-American?

I see myself as a Danish-American, and I gave her a name subliminal with my own. When being rooted in two so different cultures, you pick up a lot of ironic differences, and I thought it would be both ironic as well as interesting to put those cultural differences and life value controversies into one and the same character. For instance, LA to me is all about whom you know or are associated with. Namedropping seems to be the thing, and you’re always aiming to get somewhere higher than you are, and are not afraid to be ambitious. In fact, you’ll be sure to let everyone know just how important, talented, famous, wealthy and/or powerful you are.

Denmark and the Danish mentality is quite the opposite. There’s this thing called the “Jante Law” stating that you shouldn’t perceive yourself more than others. Having a family if a hubby and two kids and no aim for anything more than that is often perceived as the ultimate happiness. In fact, the whole public system is based on financial equality to the extent that it’s possible within a free market.

You see those differences and inner controversies in Enya in her personality and life as a Bel Air Teen Queen versus her pursuit for true love in a grounded guy like James as well as her almost motherly relationship with her maid, Carmen.

What is the main theme of the novel aside from being ‘Misunderstood’?

The main theme of the novel is without a doubt the ultimate question: What is true happiness in life? Is it the jewelries you wear around your neck, a big fancy Hollywood house in the Hills, dating the hottest guy – Or is it true love to someone that gives you butterflies in your stomach, no matter who they are!

Another important theme is staying true to yourself and handling the pressure of people’s expectation for you to be a certain way and thereby the struggle to be who you really are and make the people around you understand that. I think when someone first has a strong opinion about someone; it’s hard to make them change that opinion. It takes quite a lot, which is why many people so often are “Misunderstood”.