I'm trying to think about several angles for the "branding" idea, which I must admit still makes me a tad uncomfortable. I revile the forces of capitalist consumption in its may destructive forms, so I rebel at the idea of turning myself or my book into a product. However, I am well aware of the monumental task of finding the readers that are out there for any book, so I steel myself for the task and dive into this project with all the enthusiasm I can muster -- which for this book is a lot.
I'm very proud of my Finnish heritage and the reconnection with my roots that gave birth to this book. The problem, of course, as folks have pointed out, is that most people don't know much about Finland or the people who came from there in the 19th and 20th to settle the northern Midwest. What's the likely thing people think of?
Yes, that's why I chose this picture, which I found hilarious. Saunas are healthy. They're great ways to keep yourself clean. Before modern hospitals, they were the usual place for women to give birth. All kinds of traditions rose up around the sauna, from proper etiquette to magic.
What's that? Magic? Yep -- one of my stories in Unikirja, "Raising Lempi" a group of women practice an old ritual one learned from her grandmother for increasing their sexual attractiveness. I learned about this from my research and was quite intrigued with all the old magic connected with the sauna.
What else do you associate with Finland? Nokia? Lordi? President Halonen looking like Conan O'Brien? (My pal Ulla Suokko was in one of his fake ads!)