Thursday 7 March 2024


 Tell us something about yourself!

My name is Martta Kaukonen and I'm a Finnish thriller writer. My debut novel psychological thriller Follow the Butterfly has been sold to 13 countries. It made the Spiegel bestseller list in Germany and is being adapted for a TV series by American-German production company Legendary Tobis TV. The English translation will be published by Pushkin Press 7.3.2024. Before I became a full-time author, I was a film critic for Finland’s biggest newspaper Helsingin Sanomat. I’ve interviewed the likes of Robert Downey Jr. and Justin Bieber. Alongside writing, I love psychological thrillers, film noir, flea markets, abandoned houses and travelling. Fun fact: I met my future husband at his second hand bookshop and fell in love.

Can you tell us something about your thriller Follow the Butterfly?

My novel has two main characters, Clarissa and Ida. Clarissa is a renowned therapist who isn’t afraid to explore the darkest side of humanity. Haunted by the death of a young patient, she will do whatever it takes to save the most vulnerable. But when Ida – angry, damaged and seemingly suicidal – walks into her office, Clarissa may have met her match. For Ida has secrets. Murderous secrets, which mark her like a bloodstain. Somehow, Clarissa must find the key to unlock Ida’s past. So she makes a bargain with her – six months to stop Ida taking her own life. But what if she has entered a game more deadly, and more evil, than she could ever imagine.

What inspired you to write this book and to explore these characters/themes?

I never thought that I would write fiction because I’ve worked as a journalist for so long and I knew it would not be fun and games but hard work. I also thought that I would never invent an interesting story. But one evening I was laying in my bed and waiting to fall asleep when I heard the first five lines of my book in my head. I took my iPhone and dictated the lines to the dictaphone. In the morning I started to write Follow the Butterfly. I knew the beginning of the book and pretty soon I knew the ending but I didn’t know what happened in between. Luckily my main character Ida took me by the hand and led me from the beginning to the end.

How did you come to write this book, how did the idea of the book originate?

To this day I don’t know where the story came to me! It was totally subconscious. But I guess it was because I had been reading so many psychological thrillers since I fell in love with Gillian Flynn’s novel Dark Places (it is still my favourite Flynn novel). Something had to come out of the excessive exposure to all those terrifying stories.

Do you have any idols?

Oh, so many! Gillian Flynn is a genius. I’ve read all her novels several times. I love Elizabeth Little’s Dear Daugter. Joyce Maynard’s thriller To Die For made a huge impact on me. Jessica Knoll’s new thriller Bright Young Woman blew my mind. Paula Hawkins, Erin Kelly, Mary Kubica, Amanda Coe, Lucia Whitehouse… the list goes on!

  Otto Virtanen / WSOY

What is your favourite hobby?

My favourite hobby is to read ”old” women’s magazines from the 1990s or from the beginning of 2000s. As you read them you soon realize that so many things that are now considered important, trendy or talked about are only a couple of decades later (mostly just a couple of years later) indifferent, ridiculous or boring. It gives you a perspective and makes you realize that the trendy things aren’t very important after all, and so you shouldn’t take yourself or most other things too seriously.


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