I go to every school that´ll have me to read and talk to the kids about books and all other things. I´m a passionate fly-fisherman, amateur carpenter and the most promising football player in Iceland. I speak English, Swedish and Serbo-Croat but can babble a bit in Danish, German, French and Spanish. I used to be a really really good skier (lots of medals and one trophy) and am usually very happy. :)
I´m married to the actress, playwrite and director Björk Jakobsdóttir and we have two boys named Ásgrímur (´93) and Óli Gunnar (´99) and they´ll most likely both become actors as well.
Then there is Esja the dog, Grímur the puppy and the 7 horses!
But I get asked why I write for children ...
I was born into a very fun family. My mother was the funniest mom in the building (Háaleitisbraut 18 – the stage for Jack and Georg) and even in the whole world. She always had us kids doing some fun stuff. She used to get together a bunch of kids to play games or sing songs. She played the guitar or the piano even if she said she couldn´t play any instruments. My Mommy was quite nuts!
I have a twin brother, Ásmundur (Ási) is his name, and two older siblings, Nina and Hallgrimur. I used to share bedroom with Nina (Ási was with Hallgrimur)until she got so hormonal that mom and dad decided she (and Hallgrimur) had to have her own bedroom. Also my Grandmother used to sleep in Nina´s bed when she lived with us so I shared a room with her too. I have no idea where Nina slept at that time.
My dad worked for the Road-administration, designing bridges and later on as the boss there. That meant a lot of travelling in the summers, a loooooot, and we had to stop at every single bridge so my dad could look under it and check the state it was in. So we didn´t travel very fast but me and Ási developed a keen interest in throwing stuff into rivers. It started with stones and rocks but later on we threw fishing-flies. I´m an addict. To fly-fishing. I have done two films about fly-fishing and two TV series along with my brother Ási. The third one will be aired in the spring of 2017 on RÚV.
The reason why I write children´s books is simple: When I was 8 years old I read the magnificent book: Jón Oddur og Jón Bjarni by Guðrún Helgadóttir. My world changed. This was a book about me and Ási. I wanted to write a book like that.
The reason why I write is also complicated: I grew up to the notion that the ultimate goal, the pinnacle, the ultra coolest thing in life was to be an artist. A painter or a writer was top nudge. I never intended to become one. In my mind artists were like magicians and I could just as likely become an artist as to become Harry Potter. But then I grew up and now I feel I´m pretty good at writing and one should try and do what one is good at. So maybe I am a magician after all!?
On the other hand I wrote my first book in 8th grade. I was supposed to write a short story or an essay but I filled out en entire notebookwith a story about immigrants in the USA and Indians and bad guys and all of that. My Icelandic teacher, Guðni was very pleased with the story and read the whole thing to the class. It took a week. A very difficult week for me but as he finished the reading Guðni said I should do more of this. Which I didn´t.
Until high-school. There I met another teacher who encouraged me. That was Brynjúlfur. Actually, he gave me only 6,0 for a short story I wrote that was part of the final grade in Icelandic. That sucked because I had also written stories for two of my classmates and they had gotten 8,5 and 9,0. I got another chance and wrote another story and got 8,5 for that one. I had intended to be so deep and complex in my first story that nobody understood it „even if the style of writing was pretty good” as Brynjúlfur put it.
I was quite bent (but not broken) after that whole experience but I got some wind in my sails a month later; on the final exam we were given a few topics for a really short story. I picked „Crime and Punishment” and wrote a children´s story. I got 9,5 and it was written in read on the paper that it should have gotten a clear 10 but it was impossible to give a story a perfect score.
So ... little by little I got it confirmed that I could actually write.
Right after graduating from Drama School I wrote Jack and Georg. I worked the night-shift at an old peoples home – where my grandma was living – and after going my rounds and getting coffee and pancakes from grandma I sat down and wrote my first book with a pen. It got published two years later and was received kindly, both in sales and reviews. At the same time I hosted and wrote a Children´s TV show so it looked like I had found my place in life. But then I founded a theatre and got busy with that.
In 1995 I wrote the sequel to Jack and Georg but after that I got to busy acting. I wrote Grýla but other than that I was acting and directing.
It wasn´t until 2008, when I started working as a Live Entertainment Officer at Lazytown that I found my sweet spot again. It was in making and producing children´s entertainment. So I decided to start writing again. I left Lazytown in 2010 and decided to write a book a year.
It has worked out just fine!