Ari Behn is out with a new book this autumn, Vivian Seving etc. about a girl who marries into the royal family. On that note, he’s given an interview to Massiv. Here are some out-takes from the interview, translated, that particularly refers to the royals. Interviewer is Magnus S. Rønningen.
“Have you met the king of Morocco?”
We met in the wedding of Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands in 2003. I told him that I had a dream of buying a house in Morocco. That I’d been there twice a year for a six year period. — I met him again two years later, in the wedding of Felipe of Spain. He went through the whole party, across the floor, between all the people – and straight to me. Then he asked: “Why haven’t you bought the house in Morocco.” So, I’m taking that as an order. The next time I meet him, I have to have that fixed.
“But judging by the theme of your new book Vivian Seving etc. you haven’t been able to travel so much lately.”
No, I’ve become a father of three children, and don’t travel as much on my own anymore. But the new book is well-researched. It is about shopping for identities in the celebrity culture. The main character is an ordinary girl who marries a prince. Among other things, she has a deciding journey to the Middle East, an area I’ve visited several times myself.
“Has Mette-Marit read the book?”
No. I am not representing anyone. I am married to Märtha, but as an author I don’t represent anyone but me. We’re approximately an ordinary family, like everybody else, but at the same time in a position where we can’t relate to everything that is being written about us. We have that in common. But we talk as little as possible about things like that. We’re used to there being plenty of opinions.
“Do you think there will be more travels like earlier for you?”
Probably. I don’t like spending much time in one place. Sooner or later they will kick me out from home. It is probably worse for those who spend time with me to have me walking about at home. I’m planning a trip to Afghanistan, the Middle East or the Democratic Republic of Congo. We’ll see.
“How did you and the princess handle the front page where Se & Hør wrote ‘Why are you doing this, Ari?'”
The wife handled it remarkably well. She is used to the press at its worst, and isn’t affected by anything.
“What really happened in that period, after the fight with Grimstad – you were out and about town all the time?”
I wasn’t out more than anyone else, but it still ends up on the front page. I wish I could say that I have learned from the headlines, but the truth is that I am just as astonished every time regarding what people end up saying on behalf of others. I have to live my own life. I can’t adjust to what others may think after seeing an edited picture on the front page of the best-selling garbage magazine in the country.
“What about the Swedish woman that Se & Hør got hung up on, what was the story?”
Malin is recently married, to Klaus, both are friends of Jerry Månsson and myself. I think it is a pity that this nice and happy couple experience being written about like that. But they handled it very well, thankfully.
“Is Sonja still tough on you when it is needed?”
Without my mother-in-law, I wouldn’t have a chance. She is one of the people I treasure the most, and admire the most. She always tells it as it, puts nothing in between. She has a wealth of knowledge, has a style that is consequent and without measure, is very funny and socially very lively. It is no secret that I love her.
“If you are in Oslo and get tired, does it happen that you pop by the Palace and nap on the couch?”
The wife has a flat at the Palace. We do sleep over there, from time to time, after a night out, yes.
“How is life?”
I have three wonderful daughters, which helps the mood a lot. But in general I’m chronically depressed, and it keeps getting worse, apparently.
“Are you happy?”
No. My wife and my girls are the best in the world, but as a husband I am difficult to deal with. Unfortunately. I’m bad at practical issues, and it irritates people, as well as myself.
“How much do the kids understand? Have they started looking in your books? Are they proud or embarrassed?”
My girls have begun realizing that the family is being covered by the media. They have, of course, realized that grandfather is pictured on the coins. So long, it is not affecting them, except that they’re proclaiming with pride that their father is an author and not a prince.
“…How did they react the first time they saw their grandfather on a ten kr coin?”
The oldest girl found the coin in the tooth-glass and commented, shocked, that the tooth fairy wasn’t a real tooth fairy since her grandfather was in the glass. Haha.
“Do the foreign royals know about your authorship, have they read the books?”
My books have been translated to German, French and other European languages such as Danish, Swedish, Hungarian and Russian, so naturally I meet people internationally who know what I write.
“But the European royals in particular. Princess Madeleine of Sweden, for example?”
The Swedish king’s children are all especially nice company, smart and quick of thought.
“Tell us of the royal life. How many weddings? How decadent is it? Are they interesting people? How much representation is it during a year? Fun?”
My wife is very well liked in Europe, and the extended royal family. I am a hanger-on, as her husband, and continually discover new knowledgeable and interesting people.