My fourth novel is under construction. It is still in its infancy but I find comfort in the fact that Donna Tartt doesn’t publish new works so often either. I have published a book in 2000 (my first collection of short stories, Missä junat kääntyvät – in English: Where the Trains Turn), in 2006 (my first novel Lumikko ja yhdeksän muuta, you may know it as The Rabbit Back Literature Society), in 2008 (short story collection Taivaalta pudonnut eläintarha, in English: A Zoo from Heavens, the stories in my first collection rewritten and edited), in 2010 (my second novel Harjukaupungin salakäytävät, in English: The Cinematic life. A novel) and in 2013 (third novel Sielut kulkevat sateessa, in English: Souls Walk in the Rain). All this time I have kept on working as a teacher of Finnish and literature, because that’s what I need to do in order to support my family – writers rarely make money enough for leaving their dayjobs in Finland.
In our garden, Autumn 2014
Of course I would like to dedicate myself to writing books, if only that were possible. So far it isn’t but that’s all right. It helps that I found an excellent literary agent a couple of years ago and she is selling my books abroad. Maybe I’m not going to publish a new book in Finland this Autumn, but thanks to her, my first novel has recently been published or is going to be published soon in several other countries (UK, USA, Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Lithuania, Czech) and that’s very exciting – and comforting for a writer who has chronic difficulties to find time for writing something new.
In October, I’ll participate in the Frankfurt Book Fair and supposedly meet many of those people working in the different publishing houses who I have been communicating with only via e-mail so far. I find even smaller book fairs to be quite unnerving – you know, wandering lonely and lost in a noisy crowd, that’s my definition of hell, but if Orpheus visited the underworld and made it back, I guess I can do it, too. After all, it is an honour to get invited in there.
One of my old stories, Where the Trains Turn, is going to be published in Tor.com in the near future. I saw the cover for it, made by Greg Ruth, and it was magnificent! And the US edition of TRBLS will be published in Januray 2015, which delights me greatly – after all, USA is a land of opportunity, and you never know what may happen… (Naturally I’m dreaming about great success and possibility to quit my dayjob for good and concentrate on writing, but of course I know the odds; however, it may be a long shot but as I said, you never know…)