Active reading put me on the road to becoming a writer. When I was a child, my parents always read bedtime stories to us, and sometimes these sessions really stretched out. Aleksis Kivi’s Seven Brothers (Seitsemän veljestä) is one story that has stayed with me from those early years.
In school, I had a hard time learning to read. I thought I was clever when I learned by memorising syllable formations, thinking that’s how it’s done. Wrong. It wasn’t until a special needs teacher began helping me learn what reading really is, that everything fell into place. Mark Twain’s works Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn’s Adventures, about two boys who are still my all-time favourite characters, were books that really swept me away. I read every book I could find at my local library, and I devoured comic books, movies and TV shows just as voraciously. Anyone remember Spencer and Hawk from Spencer for Hire?
I began acting in middle school. An interest in girls helped me get over my shyness, and to me, the most peculiar and interesting girls were involved in theatre. I enjoyed crafting characters and pretending for brief moments to be someone else entirely. It was another form of storytelling.
I’ve always written things, from school essays to the lyrics for rock songs, but I didn’t get into it seriously until a couple years after graduating as an actor from Helsinki’s Theatre Academy. This was a time when I found myself “in between jobs” for longer periods of time, something most freelancers are all too familiar with. I realized that it gave me time to do something I had secretly been dreaming about. It was now or never, so I sat down and began thinking about the kind of book I would like to write at that very moment. And with that, the detective novel Pudotus (published by Gummerus in 2008), was born.
In addition to novels, these days I also write screenplays, and even a couple of my stage plays have seen the light of day. I also write song lyrics when the opportunity presents itself. Don’t get me wrong, I still love acting too, and I’m delighted to have enough roles to play. My favourite part of acting is the collaboration with colleagues. It offers a fantastic counterbalance to the loneliness of writing where you’re in your own head for long periods of time. I must be, at heart, some sort of social recluse.
On top of everything, I try to stay active. And traveling really opens your eyes. I always keep music with me. My band, Vaeltajat (the wanderers, in English) plays a gig about once a year though I hang around at others’ gigs a lot more often than that. I dream about having the time to move up north to wander around Lapland again, having been away for a few years.
Make sure to say hello when we meet.