Caleb is a software engineer and amature woodworker living in southern Minnesota. He has more hobbies than he has time or money for, and enjoys his quiet time reading.<
Interview with James Thompson
When did you seriously consider writing as an occupation?
James: I started getting dreamy ideas about it a long time ago, but the odds of making a living writing thrillers and crime novels is about a million to one. I thought of it more as a vocation than occupation. I suppose I still do.
However, I began to consider it an occupation when it became one, meaning that I made my living at it. The exact moment came in 2008, at my Finnish publisher’s summer home. After sauna, we discussed contracting on a third book before my first had even been published. To my knowledge, that had never happened before in Finland, and hasn’t again since. My publisher told me that in his opinion, I was the best thriller writer in Finland and that he didn’t want me to do anything but write for a living from that point forward. He gave me, so I’m told, the biggest advance for a novel—for an unpublished writer—in Finnish publishing history.
What inspired you to write a murder mystery set in Finland?
James: Write what you know. Good advice for any writer.
Did you intend for the book to be as ‘dark’ as it was or did the setting contribute to it?
James: I just tried to write the truth of this particular story. I didn’t realize it was so dark until people told me so. I belong to a writers’ group. A member read it and asked me how I could stand to mentally live in such a dark world long enough to write a book about it. I remember thinking the same thing when I read James Ellroy’s American Tabloid. Then later, writing experience taught me that whatever world you live in becomes normal after awhile. In fact, I’ve written a lot tougher stuff.
How soon will Inspector Vaara be back? Will his stories take place once a year during the dark time or alternate between the dark around Christmas and the Light in midsummer?
James: The second novel in the series, Dead of Winter, will be published in the U.S. in January 2011. I’m finishing it now and it’s set in winter. I haven’t made up my mind about which book or when, but I’m sure at some point an Inspector Vaara novel will be set in summer.
How long did it take to get your first book into print?
James: My first book hasn’t been published. From the time I started writing fiction until one of my novels was published—fourteen years.
Who is your favorite author?
James: Hard to pick, but if I have to choose: Graham Greene.
What are your three favorite books?
James: My aforementioned unpublished first novel, The Demiurge. It has serious flaws, but a soft spot in my heart. The Complete Works of Shakespeare and The End of the Affair by Graham Greene.