This is the second part of our discussion with Petter Kukkonen, a former Nordic combined athlete and Finnish national team head coach. His search for the next big thing in his life following athletic retirement led him to write a 750-page novel about one athlete’s story in Ancient Greece.
Almost 15 years of research and writing recently came into completion when his book was published (in Finnish) with the title “Oliivipuut eivät koskaan kuole” (Olive trees never die). This fascinating book forms the main part of our discussion, while we often also switch to discussing the story behind the book.
In the first part, Petter talked about his athletic retirement and the emptiness following it, as well as how he found his new ‘thing’ in studying history and writing.
In this second part, we discuss various things including some key events in the book, how the main character in the book might reflect Petter’s own views on life, what might have happened to athletes in the Ancient world when they retired, and how writing the novel changed Petter as a person.
You can follow Petter on Twitter @PetterKukkonen.