CRIMINALLY GOOD: Interview with author Kati Hiekkapelto

kh36741) So, who are you & what have you written?

I am Kati Hiekkapelto, an author from Finland. I have written three crime novels The Hummingbird, The Defenceless and The Exiled. I have been nominated for couple of awards (The Glass Key 2016, The Petrona2015 and 2016, and Icepick 2016) and won one (The Best Finnish Crime Novel of 2015). I also write columns for a couple newspapers, lyrics for my punk band and some of my short stories have been published in a Finnish literary magazine. I have a stage play for the theatre in progress, too.

2) Why do you write crime fiction?

The simple truth is: I don’t know. I could probably write any type of fiction (at the literary end of the scale), I suppose. The thing for me is to write. I love writing; it is my passion, my form of self-expression. I ‘discovered’ writing in my thirties. Before that I thought that painting was my ‘art’. I even went to art school when I was young. But I never had a true passion for painting in the same way that I do writing.

When I started writing my first novel, The Hummingbird, I found myself drawn to the genre and it seemed natural to write in this way. Ive always loved good crime fiction and I really enjoy how great tool this genre is for combining storytelling with social and political issues.

3) What informs your crime writing?exiled-front-cover-copy

Probably my own fears and vivid imagination. If I go driving in dark hours I have to check the back seat of my car for serial killers. I was over 30 when I learned not to be super-scared if sleeping alone. I have always been afraid of darkness. Reading loads of crime fiction at early age didn’t much ease my fears.

4) What’s your usual writing routine?

I try to work in office hours. Work in this case means actual writing. But the story I am working on is in my head all the time. It develops there, mostly unconsciously, day and night. I work at home, which is not necessarily a good thing. It is hard to draw a line between work and free time. Working alone demands also strong self-discipline. Therefore, deadlines are blessing.

5) Which crime book do you wish YOU’D written, and why?

Karin Fossum’s He Who Fears the Wolf. It has an interesting, unusual structure, for a crime novel (I am always analyzing different structural solutions that writers come up with); and it’s well written, with high quality prose (to me the writing is everything; I can’t read books where the writing is not good and I hope that I can’t write one either). It’s a story that makes the reader face her own prejudices and stereotypes about mental illness. A good novel, crime or whatever, gives you something to really think about, and this book does that in spades.

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