Sunday, March 12, 2023

Q&A with Max Seeck




Max Seeck is the author of the new crime novel The Last Grudge, the third in his Ghosts of the Past series. The book was translated into English from Finnish by Kristian London. Also a writer of screenplays, Seeck lives near Helsinki, Finland.


Q: This is your third book in your Ghosts of the Past series--do you think your character Jessica Niemi has changed at all over the course of the three novels?


A: I think there’s always the need for character development and a certain change over the course of a multi-book series. The dramatic events of all these three books have certainly changed the way Jessica sees her own life. Also her mental condition has taken steps to worse which brings new troubles in her life. 


Q: What inspired the plot of The Last Grudge?


A: The underlying theme in the novel is separateness of an individual, which can already be noticed in the prologue. I think it’s definitely a tragic thing to be an outsider, someone who doesn’t seem to belong anywhere. The book really is about externality and what it does to a human being in the long run. 

Q: Without giving anything away, do you usually know how your novels will end before you start writing them, or do you make many changes along the way?


A: I usually don’t and I really like it that way. That doesn’t mean the entire book is written chronologically in the first place though - I usually come up with the ending pretty soon after I have started to write.


After writing seven novels I think I have done this in every possible way. Luckily it’s relatively easy to go back and change the story to match the ending, regardless at which point I come up with how the story ends. 


Q: The Kirkus review of the book says, in part, “Yusuf finds that his new authority offers a better relationship with his diverse and clever team but still calls on Jessica for her magical insight.” How would you describe the dynamic between these two characters?


A: Yusuf is a couple of years younger than Jessica, both age-wise and in terms of years served in the police force. Therefore I’d describe their dynamic as a kind of big sister and little brother thing. Or that’s the way they seem to see it.


However, as the series proceeds we start to sense some romantic feelings between them - something so vague that they don’t even seem to notice it.  


Q: What are you working on now?


A: My first feature film direction was just released in Finland and I will definitely keep pursuing my career both in the movie industry as well. My next projects include a feature film screenplay and obviously my next crime novel that is set to be released in Finland in 2024. 


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: The fourth and perhaps the last Jessica Niemi novel is already out there in Finland and will probably be published in 2024 in the USA. 


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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