My Challenge and Joy as an Author

Tuula Pere Author Interview

Do You See Me in Nature follows a child out for a day in the woods with his family. What was the inspiration for your story?

There are a lot of summer nature elements familiar to me in this book. I was a nature-loving and independent child from an early age and gained a lot of freedom of movement because we lived in a peaceful rural setting.

My parents often took my siblings and me to swim in the lake and into the woods to pick berries. In winter we went skiing in the nearby forests and hills. As the grown-ups had plenty to do with the two youngest children, I was free to explore nature alone, too, and gained a lot of confidence.

I took my little red bike from spring to autumn and rode to the lake or higher hills a few miles away. In wintertime, I went skiing to enjoy the beauty of snowy nature. I could spend hours there and come back home just for a meal.

Being in nature has been natural since I was a child, but I can also relate to various challenges from the perspective of small and sensitive children. I encouraged my younger siblings and later guided my own three children.

Adults need to be patient and empathetic concerning children’s needs and worries. The child may have many concerns. How do I survive the whole trip? What if I get lost? And there is much to complain about. A child can be thirsty, hungry, shoes are rubbing, snakes are scary, and the mosquitoes can sting. By listening and helping patiently, the adults can turn the nature experience into something unique and pleasant for everybody.

For Finnish children, nature is usually close, and families spend a lot of time there together. Kindergartens, schools, and various children’s clubs also have a lot of outdoor activities at any time of the year.

Maybe I should write another book about winter nature and activities there! It would be quite different and perhaps more exotic for some families. I have a lot to tell about those adventures as well!

What is the most difficult part of your writing process?

I don’t know how to answer your question about difficulties because writing is a very positive experience for me. As I write, I get into my world of imagination, where anything is possible and in my own hands. I just write and let my creative enthusiasm take over.

My head is constantly full of new topics and book ideas. The biggest problem is perhaps finding enough time for them because one cannot do everything at once. When the story is ready, I must take on the role of a publisher. It’s time to take my stories to the world.

Processes of illustration, translation, marketing, and various collaborative projects are time-consuming. I enjoy them, too, but as a small independent publisher, I must do a lot more than just tell the story! Fortunately, I have previous work experience and skills that help me in these other tasks!

I enjoy all kinds of writing! This applies to non-fiction books as well. I love digging into background material and collecting photos, and putting it all together like a puzzle with a beautiful picture. That’s a lot of fun, too! The hardest step in writing non-fiction is to stop researching and trust that there is already enough material!

Writing children’s books is, of course, closest to my heart. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have written so many of them about such different subjects – even the most delicate ones. Sometimes, people ask me how I have managed to tell my most sensitive and demanding stories for children. The honest answer is that I may cry and write, but my tears are not visible to children. I want to give them warmth and hope even concerning the most difficult topics.

What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?

I’m used to writing in various places and circumstances. My time in the business world was sometimes hectic for the writer; one must rapidly produce demanding texts and focus on exact details, e.g., legal matters and figures.

Now, I enjoy the freedom of writing children’s literature to the beat of my heart and making imaginative trips without time constraints. My children are already adults, so I have more time and peace for writing these days.

I don’t require anything special from the writing environment if I have true inspiration! I have written texts for children’s books while waiting for my children from hobbies in a car or some cafe. I can write at a summer cottage in the middle of nature – sitting on a stone or lying in a hammock – or sitting in a restaurant waiting for the food to come or preparing for the airplane to take off.

The only thing that bothers me is the wrong kind of music. Music has a significant impact on me, and it penetrates my concentration. I must take this into account when choosing a place to write. At home, in my study, I often play classical music or folk music from around the globe in the background. By the way, traditional Sufi music is excellent research music! I noticed that when I concentrated on my law dissertation years ago.

With over fifty children’s books published, what book was your favorite to write?

Every book I have written has its unique place in my heart. Some stories have made me smile, laugh, or cry as I wrote them. Readers might be surprised if they knew the true stories behind my books. Every book is individual in story, purpose, and depth, intended for different age groups and situations.

My favorites are perhaps books on the most challenging topics – war and peace, poverty and survival. As I wrote Lullaby of the Valley, Between the Walls, and Raspberry Red, I knew that the subject matter of war and peace is a delicate one and must be handled with care.

Writing those three books has been very important to me, even though it was mentally demanding at the same time. As a writer, I do not aim for an easy job but a meaningful one instead!

I’m happiest as an author when I feel I have managed to write about something that helps other people cope amid adversity. These situations can range from the minor sorrows or fears of children to the demanding problems that entire human communities face. My favorite book to write is any book where I can defend the weakest ones – being young, old, poor, sick, sad, depressed, or alone.

The weakest people need the most capable defenders, and the most challenging topics must be written with the most sensitive hand. This is my challenge and joy as an author. I just try to be genuine and honest and do my best. Then I feel happy as a storyteller, too!

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

A day out in the woods with your family is so much fun! Or is it?
You can become tired on a long trail, feel nervous about swimming, or grow cold on a boat outing. And the forest is full of strange sounds! But with the help of a grown-up, you can get to know a new place, and look forward to the next nature adventure!

Posted on February 15, 2022, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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