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Video: Girlfriend of ‘Dragon Tattoo’ author on secret novel

  1. Closed captioning of: Girlfriend of ‘Dragon Tattoo’ author on secret novel

    >>> back now at 8:45 with the intriguing story of the author behind the popular me len anymore trilogy, a man who died in 2004 before he was able to see the success of his books like "the girl with the dragon tattoo." the millennium trilogy is a global publishing phenomenon. the books have broken record since their first printing.

    >> his first novel "the girl with the dragon tattoo" became the first million copy selling e book . steve larson right now is one of the best-selling e book authors of all time. last year we were selling steve larson book every second. 550,000 copies a week.

    >> reporter: in sweden the books became hugely successful films, grossing over $100 million and hollywood took notice. the american remake of "the girl with the dragon tattoo" hits theaters in december. steve larrson died unexpectedly in 2004 at the age of 50 were any of the books were published. she lived with larrson for 30 years. he left no will and his estate estimated at $40 million went to his father and brother, who says he was estranged. eva has not seen one penny from any of steve's book sales if resulting family feud is as epic as his thrillers. fueling the controversy larrson reportedly left behind a 40 book on his laptop.

    >> the most basic question about the fourth book is, does it exist, what format is it in, who owns the rights to it. the hope is that at some point these issues will all be sorted out and book four will see the light of day because i know that leaders around the world would welcome it.

    >> eva gabrielle is with us this morning, her new book is called "there are things i want you to know about stieg larsson and me." stieg larsson , long-time companion died in 2004 . you are just now writing this book. why did you wait?

    >> i didn't plan to write a look at all. i started to compile my handwritten diaries after stieg died just myself and it grew from there. it takes time because i work full time in another job, so i'm not -- i'm not a professional author in that case full time .

    >> we just saw an amazing success of this trilogy. stieg larsson is not a rich man in life but $40 million after his death. and yet you say you have not seen one penny of this. why is that?

    >> the swedish law is not really up to date. no cohas been tants will receive anything after divorce or when a partner dies so you're left dispossessed, you should say.

    >> no common law marriage like in the u.s. if you live with someone for a long time you are treated as a wife.

    >> no, i don't have we don't have that. we also don't have the possibility to go to court and let the court decide if theis is a reasonable outcome. tragic. it takes time.

    >> a lot of people wonder, 30 years. why not marry?

    >> i think i explain that in the book. we couldn't for security reasons. stieg was writing at the extreme right wing and we had to keep him stay single in the public records so they wouldn't find his home address.

    >> because the home address was under your name and if you had been married it would have been revealed.

    >> just a precaution, yeah.

    >> we reached out to stieg larsson 's father and brother and they said they offered you a seton board of the company that controls his estate. let me read this statement. quote, we have wanted to share income from stieg's works as well as cooperate with eva in handling the rights. we have, however, been driven unhappily to the conclusion that eva is not interested in working with us, or in having any contact with us. we find that both very sad, unnecessary, and unproductive. have you turned down their offers and why?

    >> they actually didn't come with any offers until hollywood wanted to sign contracts to do a new film. so they published an offer in the swedish media in november of 2009 . and they didn't come up with any meeting or offers with me and my lawyer until a year ago.

    >> even if late, was it not sufficient?

    >> no, we didn't think so because i -- i -- the money wasn't a gift. the money they offered. it was to -- a settlement offer . me having no legal power or financial power on the board, i would just feel like a hostage. i could be voted downey time. i wanted to go on with my life and finish my book instead.

    >> let me ask you about this fourth book. you say you've seen 200 pages of an unfinished book.

    >> i estimate there's 200 pages based on how far i know that stieg was in the process in late august. and then he died just two months later.

    >> who else has seen it?

    >> nobody.

    >> okay.

    >> i'm sure of that. i'm also sure that it was never printed out because it was just on a back burner, so to say. he was doing other things at that time.

    >> do you think it should be published?

    >> i think it's far from finished and it's 200 pages, there are 400 to go. and i'm not sure that any author would like to have his works and characters being taken over by ghost writers .

    >> eva , it's good to shear your story. thank you. once again, the book is called "there are things i want you to know about stieg larsson "" and me.

TODAY books
updated 6/21/2011 6:50:53 AM ET 2011-06-21T10:50:53

The personal history of Stieg Larsson, the wildly successful Swedish author of the Millennium Trilogy, which begins with “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” is as intriguing as his fiction. In 2004 he died before ever seeing the success of his books. His life partner of more than 30 years, Eva Gabrielsson, has written a book about their life together, “ ‘There Are Things I Want You to Know’ About Stieg Larsson and Me.” Read an excerpt.

Speaking of Coffee

People often ask me if the Swedish drink as much coffee as the characters do in The Millennium Trilogy. Well, we drink a lot of it indeed, given that Finland is the only country in the world that consumes more coffee than we do. And if I had to single out just one thing in common between Stieg Larsson and Mikael Blomkvist, it would surely be their impressive daily quota of coffee.

Stieg and I shared this addiction, which dates from our childhood. (Stieg’s grandmother began giving him coffee openly when he was five, when children ordinarily drink milk; my grandmother did the same with me, but more discreetly, since my mother was still around.) Coffee was for both of us an extraordinary remedy for all kinds of misfortunes great or small. Synonymous with intimacy, conviviality, hospitality, it accompanied our moments of happiness as well as our long, long conversations with each other or friends. In the course of our thirty-two years together, I think we were largely responsible for the Swedish coffee industry’s handsome profits! Although we experimented with every possible way of preparing the brew, we always fell back on percolated coffee. In our home, a coffeepot sat permanently on the stove.

* * *

These days, I don’t fix coffee for myself anymore. It’s silly to fill only half a coffeepot. Besides, the empty half means that Stieg will never again look at me over the rim of his cup, his eyes twinkling with curiosity, like a child who’s just been given a present. Never again will I hear him say, “So, tell me: What did you do today? What new things have you discovered?”

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In The Millennium Trilogy, Lisbeth Salander sometimes breaks off a discussion with Mikael Blomkvist by saying, “I’ll think about it.” The first time I read that, I burst out laughing! Whenever Stieg and I reached an impasse during a serious argument because I wouldn’t adopt his point of view, I always wound up saying those same words. They meant that it was time to move on to a more neutral and pleasant conversation, so at this signal, one of us would immediately get up to go make a pot of coffee, and we’d be friends again. Nowadays I never drink coffee at home by myself. I’ve switched to tea.

* * *

This book ... I wish I hadn’t had to write it. It talks about Stieg, and our life together, but also about my life without him.

A heart attack took him from me on November 9, 2004. An accursed day for me, and for many others in the past as well, to whom it brought tremendous tragedy. I’m thinking of November 9, 1938: Kristallnacht, the “Night of Broken Glass,” when the Nazis drew one step closer to the Final Solution by attacking their Jewish fellow citizens. Stieg always commemorated Kristallnacht by participating in public events. On that evening of November 9, 2004, he was to have given a lecture at the headquarters of the ABF (Arbetarnas Bildningsförbund), the Workers’ Educational Association, in Stockholm.

Because of my work as an architect, I was not with Stieg when he died but in the province of Dalarna, in central Sweden. Would it have made any difference if I had been there? I’ll never know, obviously, but I like to believe so. Whenever we were together, that communion affected our lives profoundly.

* * *

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“Millennium Stieg,” the author of best-selling crime thrillers, was born in July 2005 with the publication of the first novel in his trilogy. Since then there have been feature films and TV movies.

And yet, the trilogy is only one episode in Stieg’s journey through this world, and it certainly isn’t his life’s work.

The Stieg of the “Millennium industry” doesn’t interest me.

The one I care about is my life partner and my ally in everything. The man I loved deeply, with whom I went through life for thirty-two years. An affectionate man, generous, funny, enthusiastic, committed... The journalist, the feminist, the militant. The love of my life. When I lost him, a huge part of me was lost with him.

Excerpted from “There Are Things I Want You to Know” About Stieg Larsson and Me by Eva Gabrielsson, Copyright © 2011 by Eva Gabrielsson Excerpted by permission of Seven Stories Press.

© 2012 MSNBC Interactive

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