Welcome to the first post of the Salla Simukka Week, called: Who is she? Because, honestly, who is she? To introduce her, I’m also gonna talk about WHY I’m having this Week. And that’s because in November last year (ha, 2014!) I met her. I even got to interview her and spend a whole afternoon with her. The event was hosted by John from Speelboek and also by Clavis, the Dutch publisher of the book. Because, funny thing, Salla comes from Finland!
She is already one of the most praised Finnish authors ever and her Snow White books are translated in over 33 languages! Imagine that! And it’s been a rollercoaster ride for Salla, which is something she told me.
I was cold outside, the city lights were glowing and it was a late afternoon in Amersfoort, the Netherlands. I was asked by John to interview her, or rather to be the chairman of the conversation. When I walked into the cafe where we were supposed to meet, I had to climb a couple of stairs to find Salla sitting in a cozy room, joined by another lovely book blogger who had a chance of talking to her too. She was dressed very book-ish, meaning the covers of her book totally matched with her clothes. Black, red and white.
Salla seemed to be a very strong, funny but also shy person. She was looking around, answering question and drinking the best coffee that’s served in the Netherlands (I couldn’t agree more). Some other people joined us and mini-pies were served.
I was so excited and nervous, but I couldn’t wait to get started. The conversation started with some introductions (who’s who) and some small talk about being in the Netherlands. And then we talked about her books. For those who aren’t familiar with her books, she wrote many more, but I’ll focus on her latest trilogy: The Snow White Trilogy.
“In the midst of the freezing Arctic winter, seventeen-year-old Lumikki Andersson walks into her school’s dark room and finds a stash of wet, crimson-colored money. Thousands of Euros left to dry—splattered with someone’s blood.Lumikki lives alone in a studio apartment far from her parents and the past she left behind. She transferred into a prestigious art school, and she’s singularly focused on studying and graduating. Lumikki ignores the cliques, the gossip, and the parties held by the school’s most popular and beautiful boys and girls. But finding the blood-stained money changes everything. Suddenly, Lumikki is swept into a whirlpool of events as she finds herself helping to trace the origins of the money. Events turn even more deadly when evidence points to dirty cops and a notorious drug kingpin best known for the brutality with which he runs his business. As Lumikki loses control of her carefully constructed world, she discovers that she’s been blind to the forces swirling around her—and she’s running out of time to set them right. When she sees the stark red of blood on snow, it may be too late to save her friends or herself.”
Wow, pretty exciting right? It was first published in Finnish, as Punainen kuin veri. Which sounds probably very Finnish, if I’d be able to pronounce it correctly (Salla helped me, I failed. Badly.).
One thing that really got me wondering, was how she ever came up with such and amazing story. She told me: “I had these three pictures in my head. The first one was of money drained in blood. The other one was of blood stained snow. And the last one was (shit I forgot, I didn’t write it down, going to ask somebody about this because it was very fascinating) …..” So practically the first story is based on three pictures that were in her mind.
There’s one very Finnish thing – many actually – about this book, and that’s the name of our main character, Lummiki. Lummiki means Snow White in Finnish. The Dutch translators decided to let her be called Lummiki anyways, instead of calling her Sneeuwwitje, which is Dutch for Snow White. Her publisher explained that other wise it wouldn’t be such an amazing story, since people’d think it was just another fairy tale for kids.
Talking about fairy tales… did I mention that Salla is totally in love with fairy tales? And she’s also in love with a lot of other things, but for that part of the interview, you’ll have to wait until Wednesday 😉