Christian Moerk has always told stories. Born into a family of actors, he realized when he was quite young that he’d rather tell the tales himself than interpret other people’s words on stage. But he sucked in the words. From Richard III to Faust.
At 21, he left his hometown of Copenhagen, Denmark, and moved to southeastern state of Vermont, deep in the Green Mountains, where he stayed long enough in the mud and the cold to graduate summa cum laude in History and Sociology from Marlboro College, 1991. They gave him the Margaret Mead Prize for the best social sciences thesis, which dealt with the British Empire in India. He didn’t want to be an academic, though. He wanted to write a book. But didn’t feel the time was right yet. Vermont was too cozy.
So he next went to New York City, where he spent enough time riding along with the police department and the ambulance services, and scouring the darkest alleyways he could find to attain his master’s degree in 1992 from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. He was awarded the Henry N. Taylor Award as the best foreign student in his class for his thesis “Alien Nation,” which dealt with the lives of illegal Irish immigrants in New York. He began formulating ideas for a book. But it still wasn’t ready to tell it.
Before he could work on it, he got a job at VARIETY, the entertainment industry’s trade paper of record, where he first covered independent and European film before moving to Los Angeles. Once there, he was quickly headhunted by Warner Bros. Pictures then-President of production Bruce Berman, who gave him the chance to learn the movie production trade. He was given an office on the Warner lot, and couldn’t believe it.
For the next several years, Christian was awash in stories – but they were still other people’s stories. He was involved in the production of small art pictures, such as Neil Jordan’s Michael Collins and The Butcher Boy, and also held a hand in the making of bigger blockbusters like Eraser, The Devil’s Advocate, and Outbreak.
Christian moved back to New York City, and began to write stories for The New York Times, interviewing directors like Wes Anderson (Darjeeling Limited) and Bennett Miller (Capote), while preparing to make the leap from journalist to novelist.
A story kept tapping him on the shoulder. He rummaged through his old files and found a yellowed newspaper clipping he’d kept from years back. It was an article detailing the strange and mysterious death of three nieces and their aunt, who were found in their suburban house in Ireland after months of living like shut-ins.
From there, Christian imagined a different story, in which the tragic end in that house was merely the conclusion of a gothic love story that began in a tiny fishing village on Ireland’s ragged, beautiful western coast. And he finally began to write his own words.
Darling Jim swept the Danish critics in September of 2007, selling more than 38,000 copies there to date, with rights sold to thirteen other countries, so far. It reached number four on the local bestseller list. His genre is best described as intelligent suspense with an emotional core.