It Is About Enjoying Life

Tuula Pere Author Interview

Mr. Cannelloni’s Circus follows the members of a declining circus as they enact a plan to save it and prosper. What was the inspiration for your story?

Years ago, I originally made a career in big companies in various senior executive roles – nothing to do with children’s literature but heavy industry instead. My duties also included managing large numbers of people. That experience is connected to my circus books, as strange as that may sound!

It was interesting to follow how companies operate in different industries with different products and clients. Still, my main observation was the significant impact of the “human factor” everywhere and at all levels of business activities. It is the people who make the company successful or not. Companies are often like small towns or villages – depending on the scale of the activities.

The community action – success or failure – always comes to individuals; how things work out, how problems are solved, how capacity and skills can be utilized. It has always been my motto that behind every role, there is a human being with individual motives and abilities, hopes and fears.

In my other capacity as a legal scholar and former corporate lawyer, I recently have written a long article about the effects of these human factors even in large contractual arrangements of big projects. And indeed, they were in my mind when I wrote Mr. Cannelloni’s Circus and, later, the second book in the series Circus Cannelloni Invades Britain.

The personalities, in particular, involve my own life experience, including my childhood in a small village in the countryside where everyone knew each other. Some of my features have been included. I am an eager cook and baker and share the results with my family and friends in the same way as circus chef Andrei. It’s my pleasure to gather people at a long table for good discussions and show my love in that way. This part of my life is also reflected in the circus books, as the friendly Andrei is always ready to feed the circus personnel in any circumstances and listen to the joys and sorrows of other people.

Madame Rosita is an interesting character that will surprise readers. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Madame Rosita was somewhat of a surprise to me, too. Before starting a book, I always have a preliminary idea of ​​my characters and their role in the story. But sometimes, the actors become very real and take over. They want to be something, do something as if they had a will of their own. I like that a lot because then I know my charters have turned into actual individuals! This metamorphosis happened for Mrs. Rosita, the wife of the circus director. The actual Rosita stepped out as a determined leader of the troops in a demanding situation.

It was also important for me to bring out Rosita’s background piece by piece, explaining what she had become to the reader. The woman’s humble background, previous roles in the circus, and her great longing for beauty help to see in her more than just the lazy director’s wife enjoying luxury. Beneath her vain surface, there is also a warm heart and a lot of determination.

I always find it interesting what kind of skills people can have – both visible and hidden. In many cases, abilities are asleep unless there is demand or opportunity to use them. Sometimes the obstacle is the environment that belittles or discourages the individual. Sometimes the persons lack motivation or don’t believe in their abilities.

I enjoyed writing about how Madame Rosita realized the dramatic situation and her role in saving the circus. She also understood that chaos needed a leader like her. She had all the keys required to motivate the others, too.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The circus provides an excellent background for writing about issues related to the relationship between the individual and the community. It’s a net of different nationalities, personalities, and skills. In my book, there are people of very different backgrounds, strengths, and weaknesses. Every person – and animal – needs to support each other to perform well together.

Collaboration is essential in human life because none of us will survive alone, even if we would like to think so. There are periods and situations in life when our strength is scarce, and the help of others is needed. The roles of helper and helped person can change in the circus of life, and surprises are inevitable. The more flexible and empathetic we are, the better the cooperation!

And cooperation is not just about fulfilling responsibilities – it is about enjoying life! Combining different people with various skills together can be a lot of fun at its best. Finland has a long tradition of unofficial teamwork among relatives and friends –even in whole villages working together in the country. The community has worked together on the field, built a road or fence, or painted the cottage. After the task is done, there might be time for good food and some celebration together. That’s what the people in my circus do.

To make life human for everybody, the individuals must understand and tolerate each other. We need to be aware of both our differences and our similarities. This creates a working balance when it’s combined with respect for each other.

It’s also good to avoid too hasty conclusions about other people without knowing them. Surprises can be found beneath the surface if you take the time to explore.

When you first sat down to write this story, did you know where you were going, or did the twists come as you were writing?

I had a lot of fun writing a book about Cannellon’s circus. It felt like I was involved in their incredible adventure and traveled with the circus people – even finally crossed the Alps. What a journey it was!

It was almost weird to reach the point when the characters I created started to decide for themselves what to do and where to go. I knew the true events roughly, but many surprises came up. The adventure also took me with it. Just like I was there to watch events. I turned my gaze to different places and saw what was happening around me, like in real life. Sometimes the characters objected to my plans and unexpectedly wanted to do something independently. I listened to them, and we had an unforgettable journey together!

Some of the twists and turns of the story surprised me, too—likewise some of the people. Madame Rosita, in particular, revealed abilities and determination that I did not know at first. She manifested to me how she wanted the story to develop in some special turns. She grew into an actual power figure in the circus.

It was fun to notice that as the story progressed, new beginnings opened, some kind of side stories and ideas that I later took into account in the events of my next Cannelloni story. The circus characters became so dear and familiar to me that I have already published another book – Circus Cannelloni Invades Britain – about them.

The following books are already developing in my head – I can hardly wait to begin writing again.

The circus music is already echoing in my ears.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

Mr. Cannelloni’s circus has been operating for generations—ever since his great-grandfather started it one hundred years ago. But with ticket sales dropping and the circus equipment falling into disrepair, the future of Cannelloni’s Circus looks bleak, especially when a strict special inspector arrives to look things over.
Luckily Mr. Cannelloni’s wife, Rosita—once a daring tightrope walker—has some new bold stunts in mind. With the help of a snake woman, a strongman, daredevil horsemen, and other circus performers, Rosita launches “Operation Hannibal.” Will her risky rescue plan be enough to save Mr. Cannelloni’s Circus?

Posted on February 1, 2022, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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