My life as a crime fiction author
April 07th, 2010
Marko Leino is the “Gold Finger” of the Finnish film industry. The biggest Finnish box office hits of recent years were based on his scripts. Leino also writes damn good crime novels. Leino has studied all genres of writing. His first book, a collection of short stories called Miehen tehtävä (A Man’s Work) (1999), was awarded the Kalevi Jäntti prize for young authors. Since then, Leino has written children’s books, plays, novels and poetry.


By Marko Leino (Stilton author)

Tiina asked me to write a few lines about myself, including my work as an author, and my crime trilogy. The second part of the trilogy, Trap, was awarded the Clue of the Year prize a few weeks ago.

For more than ten years now, I have made my living as a freelance writer. Due to my solitary character, I have avoided public appearances, and publicity overall. I obviously want the book-buying public to know my name, but there is no need for them to recognise my face. I have decided that it is important for my books to speak for themselves, as the author’s disposition has no bearing on how good or bad his book is. I do give interviews to the press, but publicity can be a prison when all is said and done. Well-known people, including writers, gain very little from being exposed to publicity.

Over the years, I have written plays, children’s books and film scripts. I started writing my crime trilogy at the turn of the new Millennium. I wanted to write a thematically clear trilogy, in which I deal with interesting human traits through crime stories. It probably comes as no surprise that this trilogy focuses primarily on our darkest secrets.

The first instalment in the series, Suspicion, was published in 2004, and the second instalment, Trap was published last autumn. I was really happy to hear the positive reviews that Suspicion attracted in the press. In Feburuary when the second instalment, Trap, was awarded the 2010 Clue of the Year prize, I was pleasantly surprised. The success of Trap, and the reprint of Suspicion in paperback, help to promote the conclusion of the trilogy, Filth, which is scheduled for publication in 2012.

Some of you may wonder why the last instalment is not being published until 2012. There is a clear reason for this. Writing crime novels is a tough job. Whenever I write anything, I put my heart and soul into the imaginary world that I have created. I try and let the intrinsic lives of my characters take over. Sometimes I mirror myself in my characters to such an extent that the imaginary world seems stronger to me than the reality. As you may well imagine, witnessing the thought processes of a mass murderer first hand is not the nicest of tasks. In order to maintain my own sanity, I need to do other types of writing inbetween my crime novels. In that way I can once again spend months in the merciless and pitch black landscape that I have created. Could it be that because the characters of my books have been created with such passion and empathy, readers see them as believable and genuine?

What will I do before Filth? I am currently putting the final touches to my next novel, Life for Sale to be published in the autumn. I am also writing the story into a screenplay for a film to be released in 2011. The filming of Mannerheim is scheduled to start in the autumn, and I am one of the three script writers for that film. I should also try and find the time to write a short detective story of about 33 chapters long, due out this summer. Two new film projects are on my desk waiting to be started. So, however much I would love to spend longer telling you my news, I better hurry back to work!