I am thrilled to share the link for my short story ‘Helmikuu’ which is published today on Litro Online.

It was inspired by where I live – the fictional ferry is loosely based on one I often see sailing across our bay.  One day I started to wonder who exactly might be on it – both captain and passengers, and where they might be from, who they might be.

At the same time, someone mentioned to me that they thought February was a horrible month. I’ve never thought that. Here in Devon, we often see the first signs of spring in February – the bright yellow flowers of the daffodils and crocuses, the first delicate blossoms appearing on the trees. To me, February has always been a hopeful month –  the start of something new.

I started researching February, and I discovered that the Finnish word for February is helmikuu. It literally means ‘pearl month’ as in February the snow melts and freezes again, often producing pearls of ice. I loved the ephemeral nature of this  – the first melt, the first hopeful sign of spring, being so tantalising close, but at any second could be snatched away, returned to winter.

I thought this was a perfect metaphor for something that my character, Anderson, is living with day to day – his own, fragile construction of hope.