Welcome young adult author Salla Simukka as my APRIL “Author Spotlight.” Salla, who hales from Finland, is my first international guest featured on Creating the Write Reality! An excerpt from the second book in her internationally acclaimed Snow White series, AS WHITE AS SNOW, was featured on my blog last month. Click here to read it. Today, she stops by to answer a few questions for us. My review of her book is posted below.
I'm glad to be here. Thank you for inviting me.
Your main character has been compared to Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, did this series influence you in any way? Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work? What impact have they had on your writing?
Actually I must confess that I haven't read the Millennium-series. Of course I knew the character of Lisbeth Salander but I don't think that she has influenced my books too much.
If I had to choose a crime author who has influenced the Snow White Trilogy, it would be the Norwegian Jo Nesbo. I am a huge fan of his novels and his style has been an inspiration to me.
I noticed many of your reviews are written in Finnish on Goodreads, and I wondered: do you translate your own work from Finnish to English, or do you have help?
I don't translate my own work because I'm not bilingual.
What are your favorite three books and why?
Oh, I can't choose only three favorites… But okay, here are three books that have been really important for me through the years:
Do you find it difficult trying to break into the US market living in Finland? How has this impacted you?
Of course it is difficult but not just because I live in Finland. There are so many books on the US market. It has not really impacted me in any way because I think that the books will find their readers. And I have a big audience also in Europe and every reader everywhere is important to me.
How did your screenwriting and TV work influence your fiction writing? Would you share an example with us?
I think it might have influenced my fiction writing in a way that I think even more visually when I write. You can probably see it in the Snow White Trilogy: There are parts that could be from a film.
What inspires you?
Everything. The world. People. Music. Pictures. Language. Other books. Life.
What process did you go through to get your book published?
My first book got published in Finland in 2002. I participated in a writing contest for YA novels in 1999 – and as a result from that, the publisher got interested in my novel and after three years of editing and other process it came out.
Will you be visiting US any time soon?
Unfortunately there are no visiting plans right now.
What advice do you have for new writers?
Keep passionate and follow your dreams.
What’s next for you?
Something completely different… Stay tuned.
Thanks, Salla. Have a great day over your side of world 🙂
AS WHITE AS SNOW REVIEW
Series: Snow White Trilogy
Genre: Young Adult Noir / Mystery / Thriller
Published: March 3, 2015
Book 2 in the Snow White Trilogy
The heat of the summer sun bakes the streets of Prague, but Lumikki’s heart is frozen solid.
Looking to escape the notoriety caused by the part she played in taking down Polar Bear’s crime ring, seventeen-year-old Lumikki Andersson escapes to Prague, where she hopes to find a few weeks of peace among the hordes of tourists. But not long after arriving, she’s cornered by a skittish and strange young woman who claims to be her long-lost sister. The woman, Lenka, is obviously terrified, and even though Lumikki doesn’t believe her story—although parts of it ring true—she can’t just walk away.
Lumikki quickly gets caught up in Lenka’s sad and mysterious world, uncovering pieces of a mystery that take her from the belly of a poisonous cult to the highest echelons of corporate power. On the run for her life again, Lumikki must use all her wits to survive, but in the end, she just may discover she can’t do it all alone.
Although I was given both books, I wanted to read this one first just to see if you could pick up the series in the middle. The answer is: YES. Lumikki reflected on some of the events from book 1 to connect the two books, since the reason she was in Prague in the first place was to escape the aftermath of the events in the prior book. But once those few pages were done, the book operated on its own in what seems to be a self-contained story.
Overall, the story was a good read, and set us up with an interesting plot. One of the most pleasing pieces of the story for me was Lumikki's flashbacks to her transgender ex-boyfriend Blaze. Even though we never meet him in this book, he was real and wonderful on the page. So beautifully woven in, I was pleased to see diversity in this romantic element. Since I haven't read the first book, I can only assume we met him there. The downside for me was the revelation Lenka made to Lumukki 75% of the way through the book. I'm hoping that has some bearing on Book 3, otherwise, it was disappointing. Same with the villain revealed toward the end. Seemed a little pat. The ending came a little abruptly for me, but thankfully, wasn't a cliffhanger.
Lumikki is an interesting character. Although compared to Lisbeth Salander, she doesn't have her sharp edges. She's a strong character who is smart and scrappy, yet has the vulnerabilities of a teenager who is still searching for her identity.
Definitely worth a read.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Winner of the 2013 Topelius Prize, Salla Simukka is an author of young-adult fiction and a screenwriter. She has written several novels and one collection of short stories for young readers, and has translated adult fiction, children’s books, and plays. She writes book reviews for several Finnish newspapers, and she writes for TV as well. She lives in Tampere, Finland.
Owen F. Witesman is a professional literary translator with a master’s degree in Finnish and Estonian area studies from Indiana University. He has translated over thirty Finnish books into English, including novels, children’s books, poetry, plays, graphic novels, and nonfiction. His recent translations include the novels in the Maria Kallio series, My First Murder, Her Enemy, andCopper Heart (AmazonCrossing); the satire The Human Part by Kari Hotakainen (MacLehose Press); the thriller Cold Courage by Pekka Hiltunen (Hesperus); and the 1884 classic The Railroadby Juhani Aho (Norvik Press). He currently resides in Springville, Utah, with his wife, three daughters, a dog, a cat, and twenty-nine fruit trees.
Other books in The Snow White Trilogy: AS RED AS BLOOD (Book 1), and coming in August 2015, AS BLACK AS EBONY (Book 3)
Buy Salla's Books on AMAZON or wherever fine books are sold.