The horror writer who scares himself: interview with Marko Hautala

Finland’s most renowned horror writer Marko Hautala once worked at a mental hospital – an experience that continues to inform his writing to this day.

Our author gave an interview to Helsingin Sanomat newspaper, in which he talks about his experience of working in a mental hospital in his youth inspiring his writing, and researching his latest novel, The Whispering Girl. Here is an excerpt of the full piece, which can be found here.

“Hailing from the town of Vaasa, Marko Hautala is Finland’s best known horror writer. He has published seven novels, the latest being The Whispering Girl (Tammi), which was published last autumn.

Hautala weaves together psychological and realistic horror to produce his chilling thrillers. He has a talent for depicting events which the reader can feel in the pit of their stomach. Though they often brush the boundaries, Hautala’s novels do not dive into the depths of the supernatural.

It was four in the morning when Marko Hautala needed to focus on writing, so he put the radio on in the cottage.

He was too scared: it was quiet and dark at the cottage. Hautala was there alone – as was his habit when it came to writing key moments in his novels. The moments in his books when the main character begins to fall apart or their grip on reality dims.

These scenes are best conceived when your own perception of reality dims, that is to say, when you find yourself in a place where you cannot confirm your perception of things with anyone else – you yourself in the middle of the darkness.

Marko Hautala

Marko Hautala’s (b. 1973) unique blend of psychological thriller and realism has attracted readers of all genres, earning him a reputation as the ’Finnish Stephen King’. Skilled at generating spine-tingling fear in his readers, he has been recognised for his literary prowess: his first novel The Self-Illuminated Ones (Itsevalaisevat, 2008) was awarded the Tiiliskivi Prize, and in 2010 Hautala received the Kalevi Jäntti Literary Prize for Young Authors for Shrouds. He was also nominated for the Young Aleksis Kivi Prize in 2013 for Seeing Eyes (Unikoira, Tammi 2012). His latest novel, The Whispering Girl was published in autumn 2016 (Tammi).


Marko Hautala

The Whispering Girl

2016, Crime & Thriller

Marko Hautala

Granny Hatchet

2014, Crime & Thriller

Marko Hautala


2011, Crime & Thriller

Marko Hautala

Seeing Eyes

2012, Crime & Thriller

Marko Hautala


2009, Crime & Thriller

Marko Hautala

The Red Marsh

2018, Crime & Thriller

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