Waterstones Autumn Book Club – and some words of joy

Join our Autumn Book Club

Introducing our selection of the best books to chat about with your book clubs – or just devour on your own – this autumn.

Our twelve new Waterstones Book Club titles are sure to cheer you up as the nights set in.

As ever, each week we’ll be sharing extracts and articles from our Book Club authors about their work – so be sure to check back. For now, here’s why we love these books – and think you will too…

 

I must admit that I’m very happy about my first novel being chosen among these 12 books. If books could talk (do they?), they would say, “C’mon, gimme a chance” – because most of the books never get one.  There are so many books published every day that only small part of them ever get the attention they deserve. Now my first novel really has got the chance. I’m so grateful and so is my book. The rest is up to itself. If it’s worth it, it’ll make it.

It took many years but now Pasi feels he has achieved a major milestone

It took many years but now Pasi feels he has achieved a major milestone: his funny little stories are read in the English-speaking world

 

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Rabbit Back in Book Box 2014

The Book Box Literary Prize was established with a purpose to shine a spotlight on the titles we liked the most in the previous season. The intention behind the award was to fill a box with books that inspired and entertained us the most without worrying too much about genres or themes – create something like a mixtape with all our favourite titles of the year.

 

So, The Rabbit Back Literature Society is one of the books chosen in the Book Box 2014, as well as Emmi Itäranta’s renowned novel Memory of Water. Finnish literature rules!

 

 

 

Dreamy forests of Jyväskylä

Dreams are the most important source of my inspiration as a writer, but nature and especially forests offer me something crucial, too. There is something magical in forests, they are enchanted places (and some of them even more than others) and thus a great way to nurture your creativity.

My second novel – The Cinematic Life. A novel – is about many things and among them is the ability to find your way out of the dullness of your everyday life and reach the magical – or cinematic – layers of human existence. In this novel I introduce some special places of my hometown, real spots of Jyväskylä city that are somehow cinematic and thus offer you a chance to find your inner cinematic self and do something maybe completely out of you everyday character.

One of these places is a forest near the Tourujoki river bank. I really enjoy it in there – the place is practically in the middle of the city but nonetheless silent and peaceful:

tourujokielo2014

 

 

A book I was once very worried about: Jonathan Carroll’s The Land of Laughs

When The Rabbit Back Literature Society was almost ready to be sent to the publisher, I happened to find a review of a book that sounded so familiar to me that I got really worried. I guess every writer knows that feeling, and it’s not a very good one. I thought that my first novel had already been written and published by an American author called Jonathan Carroll. I bought the book but read only the back cover text.

It was something like this:

Schoolteacher Thomas Abbey, unsure son of a film star, doesn’t know who he is or what he wants–in life, in love, or in his relationship with the strange and intense Saxony Gardner. What he knows is that in his whole life nothing has touched him so deeply as the novels of Marshall France, a reclusive author of fabulous children’s tales who died at forty-four.

Now Thomas and Saxony have come to France’s hometown, the dreamy Midwestern town of Galen, Missouri, to write France’s biography. Warned in advance that France’s family may oppose them, they’re surprised to find France’s daughter warmly welcoming instead. But slowly they begin to see that something fantastic and horrible is happening. The magic of Marshall France has extended far beyond the printed page…leaving them with a terrifying task to undertake.

 

landoflaughsMy book also took place in a small and strange town. And there also was a children’s author in my book! I was absolutely horrified. I forced myself to finish my book and after I had got rid of it for good (in other words, it had been sent to the printing house and it was too late to change anything in it), I finally made myself to read The Land of Laughs.

After a while I was relieved. Jonathan Carroll’s novel sounded similar to mine, but they turned out to be quite different from each other. Now I know that every single idea of a story has been used myriads of times before, and there’s no need to worry if someone else’s book appears to be scarily similar to the one you are writing. That just can’t be avoided. In the end, every writer has his or her own way to tell a story, even if we all have to use the same, very limited range of different story formulas.

Later I read more Jonathan Carroll’s works, liked them very much and found him to be one of those kindred spirits every writer finds every now and then when reading other people’s books. Although, as I have said before, I avoid reading literature, or at least those books that might be too near to my own style, when I have my own story under construction. It’s too disturbing to bump into topics, plots and characters too similar to the ones you are dealing with in your unfinished book.

And about Jonathan Carroll: I highly recommend his books. He is a true master of combining fantasy and everyday life.

Blogging for an international audience (that’s you, if you happen to be non-Finnish)

keyboard30082014I started my very first actual blog called Jäniksenselkäläisen kirjallisuuden seura (Rabbit Back Literature Society) when my first novel (you guess which one) was about to be published. I wanted to market my novel in Finland and draw some media attention to it. (It worked and I was invited to a talk show and I was interviewed in national radio.) It’s very hard to make people notice and buy your books in Finland; there are too many writers in here and way too many new titles are published every single week and the biggest bookstore chain of Finland picks only some of them to be sold in stores and leaves majority of all new books (not to mention the older ones) to be found from internet stores – which doesn’t necessarily happen at all because of the great number of new titles (etc). But yeah, I wrote blogposts about issues like “what is it like being a brand new novelist”, “oh how easy it would be to sell books as a beautiful female writer” (actually this one was mainly self ironic reflection of the envy among the published writers) and “what is this book actually about”. I continued bloggin for several years because it was a good way to promote my books – Finnish publishers don’t advertise litterature that much, because adverts are expensive and, because of the things mentioned above, the increase of sales usually doesn’t cover the costs.
And now, when end is near (go away, Frank Sinatra / Sid Vicious), I mean, now, when that very first novel of mine has been published abroad and everything in a way starts again from the square one (in a good way, of course), I saw fit to start blogging in English in case my new international audience happens to be interested in communicating with the author of TRBLS himself (like my Finnish audience was). But I think it’s one thing to blog for domestic readers and another thing to blog for people abroad. Of course I feel like I’m walking on thin ice when expressing my thoughts in any language other than Finnish. That is one thing. And then there is this question of choosing topics to write about. What do my foreign readers possibly want to know about my books, my work (and life) as a writer, Finnish literature etc – that is the question. In my Finnish blog I mainly explored the issues – and especially hardships – of being a novelist in Finland (in other words, I have complained about everything because it’s a sacred Finnish tradition) but those things probably wouldn’t be found interesting by any other than Finnish people and Finnish fellow writers, if even by them…
If you speak Finnish, visit my Finnish blog. Everything is in there. Even (and especially) things you don’t want to know. But if reading Finnish is a problem for you, this new(ish) blog is for you. Please feel free to tell what kind of things you would like to know about me, my books, Finnish literature etc.