Introducing FSFN author Petteri Hannila:
'I'm a writer from Central Finland, a software designer by day and a dad/husband/dreamer /martial artist by evening.
'It all began when I was eight years old. I found out that there were books of Tarzan, my childhood hero. My mother started to read them to me, but censored them - all of you who have read them know why. Annoyed by this, I started to read them on my own. Dreams and legends have followed me from those days, as companions on my voyage through life.
'From the days of Tarzan, exciting adventures and fantasy stories set in the past and the future have been my interest. Thus, the natural choice for me was to start writing science fiction and fantasy.'
· Book title: Fargoer
· Genre: Historical Fantasy / Viking Age Fantasy
In the dark woods of ancient Scandinavia, an extraordinary woman is creating foundations for her life. All this is threatened to be burned in flames of chaos, as men as well as spirits put their powers against her happiness. She is to become Fargoer, one who wanders across the known world for her destiny. Among her assets is a will of iron that is not ready to settle for something not of her own doing.
Fargoer begins a fantasy tale set against a backdrop of the Viking Age. It will take the reader deep into the forests of the north, among the people of Kainu both unique and ancient in their ways. Viking warriors prowl the waterways and riches of the far south are in the reach of the powerful. Yet, powers both supernatural and natural are in constant motion to set things as they see fit.
· Publish date: March 2013 if I remember correctly
· Publisher: Self-published. Nowadays it is published under Creativia, an indie publisher.
Extract from Fargoer:
Vierra winced awake and noticed she was lying on an opening that led inside the cliff. Underneath her, she could feel the cold surface of the rock, and behind her twinkled the bare, star-filled sky. Forward, somewhere in the depths of the corridor, she could see a fluttery gleam of light. Vierra got up and approached it cautiously. Soon the corridor opened up into a big cave. In the middle was a fire, and behind the flames was the Mother. She stood facing the wall, away from Vierra, painting the wall with a color as red as blood. The huge walls of the cave were covered in pictures of men, animals, and life. There were the deer, the
Extending her hearing, Vierra could discern the low voices. The pictures were alive! People were talking and animals grunting. Here and there, children laughed or cried. As Vierra kept looking, the voices became louder and more numerous until they completely filled her head and she had to close her eyes.
The Mother turned towards Vierra, and her wrinkled face was full of surprise.
“What are you doing here? It is not your time yet.”
“I don’t know. I must be dreaming.”
“A dream this is not. There must be a reason that you are here, though. You must know because you are the last.”
“The last what?”
“The last of the Kainu, the last Mother. The greatest of us all, and yet still so small and powerless. Everybody else I will paint to this wall, but in time, you will paint yourself. Then our story will have been told in its entirety, and we will all meet by the fires of the underworld. You will paint it there,” said the Mother, pointing at the only empty spot in the cave wall. Around it were only pictures of women. There were noble young women armed with spears and bows. There were wrinkly old women sitting by their campfires. Others were giving birth, bringing new life to this world. Some dried fish in the strong winds in between winter and spring.
“What do I have to do?” asked Vierra. The fate of their tribe was making her uneasy. She could feel how tiny and insignificant she was in the middle of these majestic walls that surrounded her. “Why isn’t Aure here? Isn’t it she who will be the chieftain?”
“I do not know,” said the Mother, laughing in a tone that was not at all encouraging. “And even if I did, it is not my place to say. Your cousin’s path is not yours to travel.”
“And why did you take my father and mother? Why didn’t you take anything from Aure?”
“The Fargoer does not have a mother, the Wanderer does not have a father. When you have to decide, decide well. When you can’t affect things, bear them. When you do well, do not stop and rejoice because the next challenge will come soon and pass you by. You will perform great deeds, but your path will also be filled with great pain and sorrow. Songs are not sung of such deeds in Kainu campfires, but it doesn’t make them meaningless.”
“That means nothing,” Vierra replied. She tried to keep her anger at bay out of respect to the walls rather than the Mother.
“That is true. Luckily, your life’s troubles are not my troubles. Sleep now, but remember everything, especially this cave. You will know when it is time.” And Vierra’s eyes closed, and no dream reached her again that night.
Kasper: That is such an inspiring extract, Petteri. Thank you for sharing it with us and for coming to the FSFN couch today. You are the first Finnish author I have met.
Petteri: For starters I should clarify that English is not my native language and though I am quite fluent in transmitting my visions and messages my grammar can be bit lacking.
I'm sure you'll be fine. When did you start writing and why?
It still took almost ten years before I started, but naturally when I did I did it with science fiction and fantasy short stories.
What made you choose this genre?
SF and fantasy have a strong short story culture and nationally we have many competitions and the quality of texts is very high. So it was a perfect surrounding for me to start. I have loved sf and fantasy from the beginning of my reading and always felt home within these genres. So far I haven't had the need to go anywhere else.
Have you used any real events or places as inspiration for your writing?
Fargoer is motivated highly by ancient history of Finland and Scandinavia. Many archaeological findings and bits and pieces of information have contributed to the story. In many short stories I write I tend to take the threats or problems of our current issues and put them in weird and surprising locations. This is a classic way of creating a science fiction story I think, and the old masters used it a lot and used it well. I hope to accomplish this more on the sequels of Fargoer.
I love the history behind your writing.
Do you have another job outside of writing?
Yes, I work as a software designer in a small local company. In addition I design paperback and eBook interior layouts in Creativia, an indie publisher founded by my brother Miika.
That's so cool!
What song would you choose as the theme song of Fargoer?
Music is an important inspirator for me while writing and also it seems to spark up my imagination. I tend to favor folk and metal music and enjoy bands with great musicianship. I don't go to gigs but rather enjoy music by my own, it is a very private thing for me. For theme of fargoer I would name three songs: Skyforger by Amorphis, Winter's Sting by Kiuas and To Holmgård and beyond by Turisas. Skyforger is a moody piece and the lyrics nail the aspects of writing and creation of new worlds. Winter's Sting shows great musicianship as well as the spirit of Finnish winter. Finally To Holmgård catches the adventurous spirit that wanderers of the Viking Age might have had when they set their sails on new lands. All these bands are Finnish and somehow they seem to speak to me most clearly.
Describe your road to publishing your book?
This could fill an interview on its own, but naturally I first had the book in Finnish. It is equally hard to get a traditional publishing agreement in Finland as it is in US so even through my efforts I failed to get one. One publishing house offered me paid editing service and thus I entered the world of indie publishing before knowing anything of the phenomena it was across the Atlantic.
My brother convinced me that I should try to translate the book into English. I thought he was crazy at first, but eventually I warmed up to it and we started working on it. After some dabblings we found a talented English major student who joined into the translation project and it took half a year for us to translate and edit it. The book was first published in parts, but when it was ready I switched to publishing only the full novel. I got some additional help from England, a fan who contributed greatly to our work. The project truly was an interesting one and full of difficulties. In the end I can say I have learned quite a lot from the process and hope to be able to accomplishing something similar in the future.
Wow! You have come a long way with your novel.
Who are your favourite authors?
There are so many to choose from but let's say Robert E. Howard for his energy, Tolkien for the feelings he can transmit and George R. R. Martin for the complexity of his work.
Who inspires you?
I would say I am inspired by people who find new ways of doing things. Whose creativity cannot be bounded by hardships and regulations and who always come through them on top.
Who would you choose to read your audiobook?
Hmm, Morgan Freeman is awesome in everything he does especially for his voice so why not him :).
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
I am a family man with 5-year old son and a wife so naturally a lot of my free time is spent home. I also enjoy martial arts which I have trained from the 90's. They combine your mind and body in interesting and fruitful way. Through them I have found the need and enjoyment of exercising my body in addition to the mind. I used to play roleplaying games but nowadays I don't have time for it, perhaps again when my son gets older and I can assimilate him into that great hobby. Finally reading, listening to music and watching movies are all essential entertainment, and I hope I can devote more time to them in the future, especially reading.
I'd love to do a survey of how many of us started off role-playing D & D or Warcraft. They are bound to be a few.
So, what's next for you, Petteri?
After Fargoer I have mainly written short stories, and have managed to publish some of them here in Finland through genre magazines. I have translated some of them in English and am now trying to find venues to publish them.
I have many ideas for novels now, so lots of writing to be done in the future.
It has been really interesting getting to know more about you, Petteri. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with us today.
Fargoer sounds really interesting, so I'll post the links here and we can all check it out.
Fargoer is 99c on Amazon for a limited time only.
Book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0Yh8OXaK2I
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