Klara Andersson was created at a course in creative writing at Skrivarakademin in Stockholm. Her past necessarily coincides with the author’s own to a certain extent, due to the fact that it was impossible to fake knowledge about all that went on in Sweden during the two decades the author herself spent in Spain and the US. Klara also shares the author’s very special job as a simultaneous interpreter because the job often takes place in interesting settings and with interesting people.
Klara Andersson’s background:
Klara is the single child of a family from Boden, a town dominated by the Swedish defense. There, at the amateur theatre she dreams of becoming an actress. Her boyfriend is training to be an officer at the Military Academy. In order to share his interests, she starts pistol shooting and has a few medals to prove her a good markswoman. The relationship ends when she spends a couple of years with her parents on Gran Canaria.
She studies remotely and returns to Stockholm for exams. Her teenage crisis, a rebellion against her agnostic parents, is an interest in the Catholic religion, but she never converts due to the demand for parental consent.
Her Graduation gift is a one-week trip back to the Canary Islands. She never uses the return ticket. Through friends she gets a photo-model gig for a tourist-brochure, and the fee for the job takes her to mainland Spain, and on to Madrid and a career as a model and extra in movies. The old dream of acting is rekindled and the leap to small roles not too big. But after a role in a Spaghetti-Western and a number of films featuring a Swedish tourist, she starts to doubt that she will ever get a chance to play anything else.
Klara takes the opportunity to work as a translator for Spanish Public Television. There she meets Louis Hornett, the International Producer of children’s programs for the US-based CTC, Children’s Television Company, and they initiate an affair. Hornett is in reality a CIA agent working NOC (under Non-Official-Cover, i.e. without diplomatic immunity) in Europe and the Middle East. He sees Klara as a slightly naive but intelligent, fast-thinking and intuitive young woman, with a non-Spanish background, and turns her into his asset.
With Hornett’s help, Klara studies Television Production and Direction at New York University, and she is promoted at TVE. When she is appointed producer for a co-production with Chechoslovakia, her frequent trips to the country, still under Soviet domination, suit Louis’s interests perfectly.
After some time, the need for Klara’s services declines, and Hornett turns her into a sleeper.
Convinced that her relation to the CIA is over, Klara marries film director Manuel, a widower with two small children, Serena and Marcos. Although the couple divorces, Klara maintains ties to her step-children.
The Asset takes place over a decade later.