Translated from the Finnish by David Hackston
Published by Orenda Books
Ebook & Paperback : 10 October 2017
For my turn on the blog tour for The Man Who Died, I have a fabulous guest post from Antti all about the recent #TeamOrenda Canadian retreat. Some great photos too, thank you Karen!
Balsam Lake Writers’ Retreat
by Antti Tuomainen
Straight ahead, behind the wall of fifteen-feet high windows, Balsam Lake is making crisscrossing, white-capped waves on a sunny, supremely windy mid-October day. The Ontario sky above stretches out light blue and Canada-big. The birches and the maple trees that still manage to hang on to their remaining leaves still have some of the red and yellow and gold that always mark the arrival of more bitter seasons. The house is humming with the wind, there is nothing to do. Things couldn’t be better.
Which brings me to the topic of this post. As a writer, I often find myself looking at things and places from a particularly writerly point of view. For example, my first thought on arriving to this gorgeous place a two-hour drive from Toronto was that this would of course be a most perfect place to write – never mind the hiking or the canoeing or, well, anything else. This is a habit that seems impossible to shake: I arrive in a new place and check out the desk and the chair and, if possible, a space or a room to write – even if I’m not working at that moment. (Of course, most of the time I am.) And if I find myself in surroundings like this, before I know it, I’m planning to rent the place and chasing everybody away so that I can write.
Just now, however, I’m not doing anything of the sort. And there is a reason for it. We’re here as part of Team Orenda. Karen Sullivan, our incredible publisher, is also our host. Thomas Enger, the famously handsome Norwegian writer, is working on his screenplay on the right-hand corner of the room. He is hard at work with a shawl on his feet and headphones wrapped around his head. Steph Broadribb, the English thriller author par excellence, is plotting her next book at the table by the tall lakeside windows. Karen has made us delicious dinner, given invaluable advice and thousands of laughs as Yrsa Sigurdardottir’s – the Icelandic queen of crime – husband Oli has provided us with the best company and care. The day before we had the luxury of more companionship as Scottish author Craig Robertson and American writer Alexandra Sokoloff also worked and delighted us in this tall light-filled room. As for me, I’m working on my new novel Little Siberia, to be published in Finland in September 2018.
So it is, I suppose, fair to say that this has been a writing retreat, even if it’s been only two days long. And it’s been a wonderful experience. We have managed to get some work done, we have enjoyed the company of each other and the simply spectacular scenery – did I already mention the bluest lake and the vastest sky – and we have eaten both better and more in two days than you would in one city-week.
We still have a few more days in Canada, my wife and I. Toronto, to be exact. I will be doing some work in the apartment my wife and I have rented, but I doubt it will be the same without Team Orenda members around me. I suspect I will be back to checking out the chair and the desk (or a table) and the space to work in. Also, I suppose I will be far more efficient and will surely get a lot more done as I won’t be having the constant laughs and pleasantly distracting conversations we are just now engaging in. Once again.
My thanks to Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater for the invitation to take part in the tour.
| About the Book |
A successful entrepreneur in the mushroom industry, Jaakko Kaunismaa is a man in his prime. At just 37 years of age, he is shocked when his doctor tells him that he’s dying. What is more, the cause is discovered to be prolonged exposure to toxins; in other words, someone has slowly but surely been poisoning him. Determined to find out who wants him dead, Jaakko embarks on a suspenseful rollercoaster journey full of unusual characters, bizarre situations and unexpected twists. With a nod to Fargo and the best elements of the Scandinavian noir tradition, The Man Who Died is a page-turning thriller brimming with the blackest comedy surrounding life and death, and love and betrayal, marking a stunning new departure for the King of Helsinki Noir.
| About the author |
Finnish Antti Tuomainen (b. 1971) was an award-winning copywriter when he made his literary debut in 2007 as a suspense author. The critically acclaimed My Brother’s Keeper was published two years later. In 2011 Tuomainen’s third novel, The Healer, was awarded the Clue Award for ‘Best Finnish Crime Novel of 2011’ and was shortlisted for the Glass Key Award. The Finnish press labelled The Healer – the story of a writer desperately searching for his missing wife in a post-apocalyptic Helsinki – ‘unputdownable’. Two years later in 2013 they crowned Tuomainen ‘The King of Helsinki Noir’ when Dark as My Heart was published.
The Mine, published in 2016, was an international bestseller. All of his books have been optioned for TV/film. With his piercing and evocative style, Tuomainen is one of the first to challenge the Scandinavian crime genre formula, and The Man Who Died sees him at his literary best.