Once Forest Brothers was completed, I was asked what I would do next. The story was written as a one off, but there were a few people out there wanting to know more. I had moved on to my next project, a different setting, a different time period. I had started the writing process and my creative mind was elsewhere. But after a while, the desire began to gather within me to create more of the story, to find out for myself more of the Estonian tale.
This time I chose to create a back story. I knew that when i chose the time period of 1944 for Forest Brothers, I had picked a time of turmoil in Estonia. I also knew that they had suffered greatly for the previous 4 years as two armies coveted the land. Historically, Estonia suffered an earlier torment in 1940, after Von Ribbentrop and Molotov had carved up the East between their nations. First Stalin annexed the country, before Hitler felt strong enough to beat them back. This was a moment in Estonian history which my Estonian characters would have lived through. I wanted to explore what happened to them and how they became the people they were in Forest Brothers. I also wanted to give some of the lesser characters a chance to come to life. Finnish Boys was born.
The story begins in 1940 on the eve of the Red Terror. In that one night, 10,000 people were rounded up from all across Estonia and shipped by trains to Siberian camps. Military, police, teachers, but also anyone potentially capable of organising any shred of resistance. Names were drawn up and the Soviet plan to break down society went forward. On this evening, Mart is warned he is on the list. The bearer of the news gives him a chance to escape, by taking her and her English boyfriend to the North coast and an escape to Finland. He agrees, but only if he can warn his estranged wife, Maarja, first. The lives of Mart, Maarja, Juhan are brought to life once more, as their flight is swept up into the events when two foreign armies fight over a sovereign nation and loyalty and trust are used and abused. Peetr, Raio and Sven – the cameo figures in Forest Brothers are also brought to life and you get a glimpse of their journey, especially the melancholic Peetr. You also get to meet Liisbet a young red, turned rebel to save her English Lover, known as Monty.
I am expecting Finnish Boys to be ready at the end of this year and will of course, publish updates.
The Finnish Boys were a unit of Estonians who had escaped Soviet occupation to fight for the Finnish Army. Although allied with Germany in the fight against Stalin, the unit ended up repelling an attempt at liquidation to allow 2,000 refugees to escape from the forests of Kautla. In a conflict where both armies were guilty of atrocities, this action stands out as one of humanitarian action.
The problem now I have is have i chosen the right title? The repetition of using a title of two words beginning F and B, makes it harder for the prequel, which I have just finished its first draft!
There will be further news about another writing project soon. I have another project set in Edwardian Mid Wales. Stay tuned!