Heikki Hietala

The Latest Poop: Please see my award-winning Flash Fiction story, Lord Stanton’s Horse.

Also, a great review of my book, Tulagi Hotel, is now on Booksquawk. Please read it!

I’m a native Finn but for some godforsaken reason I find it easier to write in English. I used to like composition in school, and my work has included technical writing and lots of translation (Excel 95 had 1,105,000 words in documentation, and I read it all three times), but it is only in the past couple of years I’ve started to work at writing.

I am trying to create a voice for myself, one that would not have a funny accent, but would sound interesting and thought-provoking. I am fortunate in that I have found friends who have coached me, and helped me by reading whatever I’ve managed to write, but I do understand there’s a long way to go still before I can truly express myself.

My love for the Finnish and English languages is overwhelming, and I read everything I can lay my hands on. I also subscribed to MAD Magazine at 11, and received my first Monty Python material at 13. It was a C-cassette of “The Album of the Soundtrack of the Trailer of the Film of Monty Python and the Holy Grail”.

My Writing

My main effort is a novel, Tulagi Hotel. This 134,000 word novel is set in the post-WW2 Solomon Islands, and well… some people have said it’s Shute and some have said it’s Shite. You be the judge. The funny thing is, I never set out to write a novel. I was sitting in the office one April morning in 1996, about to translate some technical manual once more, but then I thought, let me open a blank file. I stared at that and wondered, why did I get a blank file, and then maybe 45 minutes later, the first chapter of Tulagi Hotel stared back at me.

After that, I worked two ways, first trying to see what led to the opening chapter, and what happened afterwards. Thirteen years is all it took for me to do it. The really wonderful thing is that when I uploaded it to the HarperCollins website Authonomy, it has stayed within the top 50 for six months, peaking at 15. More than 280 people have commented on it, and I’ve taken some of the comments and worked them in. However, I deemed it ready enough for printing when HarperCollins offered me 100£ for doing so through their associate, Blurb.

I am happy to report that Tulagi Hotel will be published by Dragon Independent International Arts at the London Book Fair, April 19-21, 2010. Therefore I have taken it offline at Authonomy and Blurb. The website of the book is at www.tulagihotel.com


NEWS FLASH: Tulagi Hotel is now available on Amazon. You have a choice of hardback, paperback, and Kindle versions.

It is also available at The Book Depository, which delivers books without postage to many countries. And, for those in Finland, it will be on the shelves of Akateeminen Kirjakauppa in many cities.


Short Stories

I’ve written close to 30 stories so far, and I seem to enter new ideas into my trusty Moleskine at an alarming rate. I’ve had mild success publishing these, at Words with Jam, Emprise Review, The Bookshed, a couple of anthologies, and of course, YZW. The ones I like best myself are:

I wish to capture a single event, seemingly one that has nothing to it, and then peel it away layer by layer. Sometimes it works, sometimes not quite, but these have been favourably received by the reviewers. I like to have a supernatural element in my stories, but that is not the default; the default is more likely a mundane moment turned something different. Another thing I try (and mostly fail at) is writing amusing short stories.

If you wish to read the stories listed, or my other work, you can contact me, and I can send you PDFs. I welcome all requests. Almost all of my stories are also available at my website.

I am happy to be part of Year Zero, because this is a new approach, and may lead to unknown and unforeseeable results – which I like very much.

One Response to “Heikki Hietala”

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