Today, I'm pleased to welcome Maria Turtschaninoff onto the blog to talk about her writing and her first novel to be published in the UK, Maresi.
Maresi is your first book to be published in England. What kind of reception have you had here and are you excited about your visit to England?
The reception of Maresi in England has been amazing. It’s exceeded every expectation I have had. For me, who writes in a minority language in a small country, it’s mind blowing just to know people in the UK are actually reading my novel! I am so excited to visit London and to get to meet all the amazing people who have worked for Maresi and her success.
Has the book lost anything in translation from Finnish?
The book was originally written in Swedish. There is a minority of 6% in Finland who have Swedish as their native tongue and live most of their lives in Swedish. It is now the first time a novel of mine has been translated to English, and I am very lucky to have a skilful translator, Annie Prime, who really gets what I am trying to do in the story.
How many more books are planned for the Red Abbey Chronicles?
As it stands there are two more books planned. One prequel, telling the story behind the Red Abbey, and one sequel, telling the story of what happens after Maresi. I have written two more books set in the same world as well, but they are not yet translated into English.
Maresi has been described as being a strong feminist fantasy. Was that your intention when you wrote it?
Maresi, or any of my novels, have never been feminist projects. They are litterary endeavours. That said, I am a feminist since birth and my values are naturally reflected in everything I write.
What do you hope readers will gain from this book?
I hope readers of Maresi all take something different with them. Younger readers might see a riveting adventure, while older readers find more complex layers. May of my readers are middle aged women, despite the fact that Maresi is marketed as YA.
Do you see yourself as a Young Adult author?
I really don’t see myself as a YA author - not that there is anything wrong with that. I love YA! But I see myself as a fantasy writer primarily.
Have you read many Young Adult novels and if so, which one was your favourite?
I read lots of YA! One of my favourites in the last years was The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.
Do you have any advice for unpublished authors on dealing with rejection?
Rejection is very hard to deal with, for new and seasoned authors alike. All I can say is the most important thing is to write for yourself. The joy you feel when writing should be it’s own reward. Anything else is a bonus.
Maresi is published by Pushkin Children's Books this month.
Maresi came to the Red Abbey when she was thirteen, in the Hunger Winter. Before then, she had only heard rumours of its existence in secret folk tales. In a world where girls aren't allowed to learn or do as they please, an island inhabited solely by women sounded like a fantasy. But now Maresi is here, and she knows it is real. She is safe.
Then one day Jai tangled fair hair, clothes stiff with dirt, scars on her back arrives on a ship. She has fled to the island to escape terrible danger and unimaginable cruelty. And the men who hurt her will stop at nothing to find her.
Now the women and girls of the Red Abbey must use all their powers and ancient knowledge to combat the forces that wish to destroy them. And Maresi, haunted by her own nightmares, must confront her very deepest, darkest fears.
To find out more about Maria Turtschaninoff: