Wednesday, July 10, 2013

James Thompson

With his first internationally published novel, Snow Angels, James Thompson proved himself Finland’s best and most popular representative in the rise of Nordic noir. It was selected as one of Booklist’s Best Crime Novel Debuts of the Year and nominated for an Edgar Award, an Anthony Award, and a Strand Critics Award. His novel, Lucifer’s Tears, has received critical acclaim from all quarters, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Kirkus, and was selected as one of the best novels of the year by Kirkus. Helsinki White was released to critical acclaim in 2012. His fourth novel featuring Inspector Kari Vaara, Helsinki Blood, was published in March 2013.

From Thompson's Q & A with Richard Godwin:

Henry James wrote, ‘We go to Europe to become Americanised.’ Is Helsinki a self-imposed exile and has it Americanised you?

I’m not a very big Henry James fan, and anyway, the world has moved on since he wrote that. There is no deep-seated reason for me living here. The wind just blew me this way, and I never left. It’s not in exile. I could pick up and leave tomorrow. I never intended to stay this long. I seldom intend anything, as far as life plans go. I simply had no reason to leave, but incentives to stay.

Finland offered me advantages that I didn’t have in the U.S. For instance, I earned a Master’s degree from the University of Helsinki. The same degree from an American university of the same calibre would have cost about $200,000. It cost me nothing. In fact, I received monthly support from the government. It wasn’t much, but they in effect paid me to earn a Master’s. Of course, it isn’t that simple. Entrance is a competition. Being accepted into a department at the university means several hundred people sit down in a room and take a test. A fraction are admitted. The rest cry big tears. It’s a competition.

Prior to studying, I always earned a decent middle-class living and had free health care. After my education was completed, I quickly became an established author here. A couple years before I did so internationally. No, living here hasn’t Americanized me. Quite the opposite. I’ve adapted and acclimated to Finnish life. I’m considered a Nordic author.

How close to your heart is Vaara and to what extent is he a self-saboteur?

We have some...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at James Thompson's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Snow Angels.

The Page 69 Test: Helsinki White.

Writers Read: James Thompson (April 2012).

My Book, The Movie: Helsinki White.

Writers Read: James Thompson.

The Page 69 Test: Helsinki Blood.

My Book, The Movie: Helsinki Blood.

--Marshal Zeringue