Katja Ivar Interview in Publishers Weekly LINK.
What else about Finland distinguishes it from other Northern European countries? When I started researching, I realized that Finland had one of the first female policemen in the region, Hilker Hotma, but she didn’t stay in the force because there was so much misogyny. The more I read about that, the more I realized that women at the time I write about were still confined to roles that men wouldn’t do, even in such a very progressive country as Finland, which was the first country in Europe to give women the right to vote and was the first country in Europe to let women run for office. It gave me the idea to make Hella a pioneer in the Finnish police, but it’s coincidental that she also didn’t stay in the police for long. If I kept her a member of the homicide squad in Helsinki, the books would be more about relations with her colleagues, and I didn’t want that to be their focus.
Did you imagine a series when you started writing the first novel? Well, I didn’t really start it as a series. I didn’t even see myself as a writer. What led to it was a personal tragedy. Some years ago, I lost a baby girl, who was stillborn. That was a huge heartbreak. Basically, I started writing just as a way of getting out of my head in some way. I didn’t think I’d send it to an agent or publisher, but then when I started writing, it just wrote itself. The character grew on me, and I thought there was so much else to say on Hella and her past troubles.