Not Just a Writer, an Author

Tuula Pere Author Interview

My Sunflowers follows a young girl that wants to grow sunflowers despite being told she is too young to do it herself. What was the inspiration for this story?

Often children have fun ideas that adults don’t support. The reasons are many; it’s dangerous, takes too much time or money, or disturbs the others. However, we must give space for the child’s natural curiosity and desire to experiment. They must be encouraged to try new things and trust their abilities.

Sometimes children make mistakes – as we all do, and their actions involve a certain amount of danger, but coping with risks is essential for the learning process. Once the children have received basic information and instructions from their parents, it’s gradually time to face the outside world more widely. I was lucky to live in the safe freedom of my childhood. It included many bike rides, forest exploration, and other outdoor activities.

I still remember how exciting it was to go out alone to try new things. Luckily, I never hurt myself worse, even though I climbed tall trees and steep cliffs. I learned to take a suitable number of risks and to survive with odd tasks, people, and places. All those skills have been beneficial later in my life. Without that kind of childhood, I wouldn’t be the person I’m today.

Why did you choose sunflowers for this story over another type of flower?

I have always loved sunflowers, even though I have not grown them myself. They have a lot of energy, both in terms of their name, color, appearance, and height. The sunflower is a positive and proud plant that can be used in many ways. In my story, the size of the sunflowers has its special meaning.

The girl has the challenge of getting the tall flowers to cope with two obstacles. First, large flowers are difficult to grow unnoticed by others. The more significant threat, however, is a storm rising overnight. Long stems and heavy flowers are in danger when a storm blows and rain hits the yard.

The help and advice of a friendly gardener are crucial for the child. With the support of some sticks, the plants withstand the storm and rain.

After My Sunflowers was already published, growing sunflowers and their intense yellow color under a blue sky have become a symbol of staying strong in difficult times. If my book helps somebody keep their head high and trust themselves, I appreciate that.

When did you first call yourself a writer?

First, I’d distinguish between calling myself a writer or an author. I have felt like a writer much earlier than I dared to call myself an author.

Writing has been an essential part of my legal studies and my work as a lawyer and the head of corporate communication in large companies. But that has been non-fiction writing of articles, contracts, and presentations.

I have always written a lot in my free time, too. Those texts have been only occasionally published in some local newspaper or taken part in some competition. The turning point was 2010 when I published my first children’s book Stella and the Magic Stone. At first, I was a little shy to call myself an author because I had started publishing independently through my company Wickwick Ltd. Becoming a member of The Finnish Youth Writers Association and The Association of Finnish Nonfiction Writers encouraged me nationally though my focus has always been mainly international.

Now, after twelve years of active publishing, I finally feel not just a writer but an author, too! I have written and published over 50 original children’s books in several languages and sold translation rights to many international publishers. I still have some connections to my previous professional past, e.g., I recently worked as a contributor to a “Research Handbook on Contract Design” by writing an article about contracts and the human factor.

To sum up. In a broader sense, I have been a writer – also professionally – for about forty years and an author for over a decade. As you can see from this answer, we, lawyers, often make simple things very complex. I may be a little too serious here, but writing is such an important and responsible task for me. I feel privileged because I have the opportunity to reach people through it and try to make a difference in their lives.

What advice would you give to help others create plotlines?

I don’t feel like advising other writers as storytellers. It’s best for everyone to find their individual style and way of telling stories. Of course, anyone can constantly improve their written expression in a linguistic sense. But as a storyteller, one must take responsibility for having enough to say and being able to do it properly.

Having a genuine voice is the key. I don’t think anyone should listen too much to the instructions of others about the story itself. It may result in trying to please the publisher or, at worst, mimicking the way others tell stories.

Of course, books often have their natural narrative rhythm. But a skilled writer can and should be brave enough to break these rules if needed. However, besides interesting stories and captivating plotlines, the readers deserve that the language has been used correctly.

It’s beneficial for children’s writers to test their way of telling stories in front of their actual audience. When you tell or read the stories face-to-face to the children, you immediately see and feel the reactions. It’s wonderful to see on their faces that the story also reaches the heart. It’s best if a compelling story leaves a profound impact and gives its listener or reader something helpful in growing as a person.

Author Links: Facebook | Website

Posted on May 26, 2022, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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