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.