Tuesday, February 27, 2007

My other activities at the moment

Mentioned being busy. Well, today I submitted a new book to the publisher. It's a collection of old and new crime and adventure stories by writers of the Turku region. The oldest story is from 1939, by Harry Etelä (Aimo Viherluoto), who was also known as a songwriter, mainly specializing in schlagers. I may have to write more about him. There's a good adventure story by Olavi Tuomola, taking place in Shanghai just before the WWII.

The book, called Viides testamentti/The Fifth Testament, according to M.G. Soikkeli's story in the book, is a good collection and hope it gathers some attention. It's just no one seems to be buying short story collections anymore. So it's a bit of an experiment to the publisher. We will be doing more of this sort with the same publisher, for example a collection of Harry Etelä's horror stories that are quite spectacular given that almost no one else wrote horror stories in the late thirties here in Finland.

I'm also doing a rough translation of Tapani Bagge's Puhaltaja. Tapani, as some of you may remember, made a deal with the American Point Blank Press about his first crime novel and it was going to come out under the title The Jack. It seemed, though, that the head of Point Blank didn't have time to do the translation himself (JT Lindroos hails originally from Finland), so I suggested both to JT and Tapani that I could do the first rough version and JT could polish it.

I've done some four or five pages so far, and let me tell you that it's no small feat to translate in a language that's not your own. Especially when Tapani uses lots of slang expressions that even I don't know what they mean. There's also lots of talk about cars and stealing them, and I've been at odds with all the words. However, Tapani okayed my efforts and so I'm continuing at the pace of a page a day.

But once The Jack is out in the US, it will be a hardboiled delight: Tapani writes very sparsely and tightly and he knows his milieu of lowdown petty criminals and car thieves. There's lots of black humor and violence. (I may even up put a new blog to post the translations one day at the time, but I'll have to ask what JT and Tapani think about that.)

And before that, I have a book coming out. It was a small, but very pleasant surprise: an old friend of mine was elected a while back director of a non-fiction publishing house and the first thing he said to me was: "What if we put out your old articles as a book?" It's already in printers. The book collects nine longish articles I wrote some ten years ago about unknown Finnish poets. If it sells enough copies, there should be a sequel. Well, that won't be as easy, since I'd have to do some research for it and read the books.

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