Salla Simukka (b. 1981) is a translator and author of juvenile fiction. She was born and raised in Tampere, the second largest city in Finland. At the age of nine she knew that she wanted to be a writer. The first version of her first published book she wrote when she was 18. She has written several novels and one collection of short prose for young readers, and has translated adult fiction, children’s books, and plays. She writes book reviews for the newspapers Helsingin Sanomat and Hämeen Sanomat and the weekly Suomen Kuvalehti. Salla was an editor and associate editor at a literary magazine for young people, LUKUfiilis, in 2009-2013. She has also worked as one of the scriptwriters for the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE’s series Uusi Päivä (New Day) since 2009.
In January 2013 Salla Simukka was awarded with the Topelius Prize for her novels Without a Trace (2012) and Elsewhere (2012) in recognition of the best Finnish youth novel.
What was it about the fairytale of Snow White that made you want to write a crime trilogy?
Actually it was the title. Or all the three titles. I first began thinking about writing a crime novel for young adults and then it hit me: As Red as Blood would be a perfect title for such a novel. After that I instantly knew that I would also have to have a book called As White as Snow and a third one called As Black as Ebony.
So the titles came first and then I wanted to use fairytale elements also. It was clear for me from the very beginning that I wouldn’t be rewriting the story of Snow White or adding anything supernatural into the novel. But what I did want to do was to play a little game with the reader: Use bits and pieces the reader would recognize from the fairytale. Play with the common knowledge. Take advantage of the associations.
And let’s face it: most fairytales are quite dark. Snow White is no exception. It is a story about fear and growing up and attempted murder and death. I think it is more of a crime story than a love story. I also believe that fairytales were the YA literature of their time. They deal with the same issues YA literature deals with today: becoming an adult, choosing your path, standing up against cruelness of the world, falling in love, finding your place, death and sorrow.
I was of course also intrigued about the possibility to use strong colours: red, white and black. They appear in many forms in the trilogy.