Den vidunderliga utsikten (An Amazing View), Maria Gustafsson’s first novel, was published in 2003 followed by Huset på Carrera 9 (The House at Carrera 9) the next year. Then came Absintängeln (The Absinthe Angel), all three with Klara Andersson as the protagonist.
Gustafsson has participated in a true crime anthology, Liv och död i Stockholm (Life and Death in Stockholm), and co-authored a romance, Stockholm-Belize, under the pseudonym Ingrid Larsson. Now Gustafsson has completed The Asset, her first novel in English, loosely based on her first Swedish novel.
Maria Gustafsson was born and grew up in Boden, a small city, which at the time was the ultimate Swedish stronghold against the east, just two hours south of the Arctic Circle. Foreigners were not allowed even to visit. As a teenager she travelled to the Canary Islands with her mother, staying for almost a year. Back in Sweden, she finished high-school and immediately returned to Spain.
At 24 she met Miguel Lluch, a movie and TV director. They married and had two children – Elin and Mischa.
Gustafsson’s career in the South of Europe initially concentrated on acting and modelling. She worked in Spain and France, becoming well-known to Spanish TV audiences as “Britt” in a popular quiz show called Un, dos, tres… responda otra vez. After those fifteen minutes of fame that actually lasted 13 months, Maria changed tracks, and started working as a translator for the Spanish Public Television, TVE. Her immersion into simultaneous interpreting came while she was working at the live broadcast of a TV-debate about euthanasia. Additional training advanced her freelance interpreter opportunities. A few years later, after studying TV Production and Direction at New York University, she became a TV producer. Some of her work for TVE includes: the Spanish versions of Sesame Street and 3, 2, 1 Contact, as well as her own series, Dinamo – a youth program about music and extreme sports – and Lápices de colores, thirteen original fairy tales for small children. She also wrote the manuscripts to these two programs.
Maria Gustafsson was Head of Programs at Canal 10, the first private TV Channel in Spain. Shortly thereafter, she founded The Missing Piece together with her husband. As Managing Director and producer, she led the long running sit-com Apaños, the documentary series Viejos Oficios, and international co-productions like Torch – together with the BBC and the Czechoslovaque Television – Cita en Benidorm, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and four documentaries about culture and traditions in Senegal and the Ivory Coast under the generic name of Griot.
By the mid 1990’s, Maria felt the need to reconquer her mother tongue. She started out working at Strix Television, as a production manager, with a documentary about the murder of the Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme. After that, she was recruited to train simultaneous interpreters at Stockholms Universitet, Tolk och översättarinstitutet. During an internship at the European Parliament, her first book was conceived.
Since then she has interpreted at Political Summits, for various Heads of State, at the Swedish and Spanish Parliaments, for Secretaries of State and Ministers, at board meetings as well as for CEO’s of large multinational companies, and for Latin-American police and military at courses in Human Rights and Conflict Management. She has also worked at legal proceedings and arbitrations with international connections. A great deal of inspiration for her books stems from her work as an interpreter.