Welcome everyone! Today is my stop on Orenda Books’ The Man Who Died Blog Tour. I am lucky enough to have had the opportunity to put some questions to the man behind the book, Antti Tuomainen. Thanks to Antti, Karen and Anne for this opportunity. This novel was brilliant and I had a great time reviewing it. It is a intriguing tale of a man investigating his own murder. My review is available here. Enjoy the interview and make sure to check out the other stops on the tour.
About Antti Tuomainen
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 labeled 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. With a piercing and evocative style, Tuomainen is one of the first to challenge the Scandinavian crime genre formula.
Book Synopsis For The Man Who Died
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 roller-coaster journey full of unusual characters, bizarre situations and unexpected twists.
Q&A with Antti Tuomainen
Thank you for taking the time to answers some questions about your latest release The Man Who Died. First off could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
AT: I’m Finnish crime writer Antti Tuomainen, and I live in Helsinki. I’ve written seven novels. I’m married to Anu who is wonderful and very pretty. So, in at least three ways, I’m blessed.
Could you give us your own personal overview of The Man Who Died?
AT: It’s a noir story, a dark comedy and a love story. It’s a book that marks a great change in direction for me.
Where did the original inspiration for The Man Who Died come from?
AT: It really grew out of necessity, to be honest. I had written five very dark books ranging from the icy north of The Mine to the dystopia of The Healer and I really felt that I had given all I had in that particular direction, at least for the time being. I asked myself what do I want to do. In hindsight, it’s almost too obvious: I’ve always loved both noir and comedies. There it was. I wanted to write a noir comedy. And writing it, I felt more free than in ages.
How long did it take you to finish the book from first draft to finished piece?
AT: I would say about a year. I like to write a fairly ‘ready-for-printers’ first draft, so I work on that a lot. Of course, there always are and will be the seemingly endless editing rounds, but still, I aim for finished first draft right away. That means I take time with the first draft and work faster and faster towards the end.
Death is a complex and nuanced theme, what are you trying to achieve with this story?
AT: Partly, I’m trying to make sense of it, I suppose, and partly I think I’m trying to see the tragicomic aspect of it. It’s hard to say, though. Somebody once said that poetry is just one long question, but it’s a good question. Maybe writing about death is something similar. You try to ask the right question.
What attracted you to the Thriller/Crime/Noir genres?
AT: As a writer, I’ve always liked the way a crime gives good basis for a dramatic story. Bang – and you’re off. As a reader, it’s harder to say. I probably like it for the same reason. But then again, some of the novels I like very much have very little happening in them. Just people and their lives and thoughts.
Could you give us some insights into what challenges you faced when writing The Man Who Died?
AT: It’s both a noir story and a comedy. Finding the balance was very important. Also, you have to be careful when you’re trying to be funny. You want to make people laugh, but you don’t want to underline things. Most importantly, you have to understand that you can never please everybody and that’s okay.
What is it like publishing a book with Orenda Books?
AT: Absolutely wonderful. Karen Sullivan is the hardest working publisher in the world. I also have tremendous colleagues in Team Orenda.
How do you celebrate after you have finished writing a novel?
AT: It might sound a bit crazy, but there is a reward I have in mind for finishing a novel. The reward is that I get to start a new story. It’s a hamster wheel, but I think it’s a pleasant one.
What is the most interesting part of being an author in your opinion?
AT: The writing. It’s what I most want to do and most enjoy doing. Even on days when I’m desperate with it. When I’m writing, I never think I should be doing something else.
How do you wind-down from work/writing?
AT: I love taking long walks with my wife and generally spending time with her. We also travel quite a bit together.
Have you read a book recently that you would personally recommend to the readers of this blog?
AT: As crime fiction goes, I recently read an excellent piece of modern noir: A Swollen Red Sun by Matthew McBride. Meth freaks, dirty cops and general heartbreak collide in this short, powerful book taking place in Missouri, US. And if you want brilliant, evocative writing and chilling suspense, I recommend Six Stories by the enviably-talented Matt Wesolowski.
Thanks for stopping by to check out this interview with outstanding talent Antti Tuomainen. I appreciated him giving me some of his time and I highly recommend The Man Who Died to you all. It is most certainly a cracking addition to the Noir genre and I was instantly pulled into this tale about a man hunting down his murderer and coming to terms with his impending expiration. Pick it up, enjoy it and let me know what you thought!