The Whole Path of Life

Tuula Pere Author Interview

Leo, the Little Wanderer follows a little boy who sets off on a journey where he sees world wonders and meets kind people who help him. What inspired the setup to this story?

In the broadest sense, this story is inspired by the whole path of life. While wandering along it, we start from the front stairs of our childhood home and aim for something that interests and attracts us – perhaps even far away. When the journey is over, it’s time to return home to the last place in our life. There we’ll think about everything we have seen and experienced. What have we gathered in that backpack of our life journey as memories?

The places where the journey in this book starts and ends symbolize the beginning and end of life. The child sets off excitedly and curiously, meets people, gains experiences, and learns about life. He has a lot to wonder about and understand. It takes a person’s entire life to go through all of this.

I wrote this story at a very special time in my life. My dear father had just become seriously ill, and we knew that his life’s journey was coming to an end. Although the travels in the story are based on my own experiences, my father was always strongly in my mind when I wrote this book.

It may sound strange, but reading this book has helped some people in their grief when they have just said their last goodbye to a loved one.

Was there anything in this book that was inspired by your own travels?

Most events are based on my experiences and feelings during my European trips. Especially during interrail as a young student, I could walk alone for weeks in strange places and meet so many different people. It was essential to know whom you could trust.

In this fairy tale, I don’t name places in any way, not even countries. However, the reader may guess some.

Leo’s journey follows the pilgrimage route of Santiago de Compostela. He joins the builders of Gaudí church, the Sagrada Familia, in Barcelona. In another mighty church, St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, he lights candles and listens to wonderful music. He experiences the same hospitability in Budapest as I did when staying at the home of some amazingly warm and friendly people. In addition, Leo climbs the same fortress hill in Jaén, Spain, as Napoleon’s troops used to – and I have done with my family.

In this book, I take the boy also to see Venice before everything beautiful sinks into the waves – deep in similar thoughts that I had decades ago. And the author he meets at the fountain is the famous Nobel prize winner Jose Saramago, whom I also once happened to meet on the street in Spain, where he was involved in a big cultural project.

I have woven into the story so much of my ponderings about what is beautiful, valuable, and worth preserving that the book is almost like my spiritual testament. And still, it is a fairy tale journey – one with very little money, valuable experiences, and plenty of memories to take home.

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

The main themes of this book are actually quite serious. Leo’s story deals with the importance of people to each other – the possibility of meeting and being connected on many levels. The best links between people are built directly between hearts and remain there even though times and places change.

Now, this leads us to more creative elements in the story. The beauty of nature, music or architecture, and other forms of art create unique connections to many places and environments. In addition to connecting people here and now, they can build bridges even between different periods and eras in human societies. History and the present meet each other. We get to witness that miracle if we know how to look openly at the world around us.

When I travel, I often experience the magic of particular places. It feels like some deeper current of life is flowing through me and telling stories of the past. Perhaps this is precisely the feeling I have tried to convey in this story of Leo.

What scene in this book did you have the most fun creating?

As I already said, this book is actually quite genuine and serious. Although the places and people’s encounters are unique and beautiful, the description also contains a kind of wistfulness in the background of everything. This sadness comes from the feeling that everything is transient and can only be stored in memories. The most beautiful and meaningful things can be over in an instant, and one person’s life is just a fleeting moment in eternity.

But, maybe it’s worth highlighting also those points in the book’s events that made me smile. After all, this is a happy book!

I thought Leo’s visit to the cafe and barber shop in the narrow streets of the old town was funny, even though there were dark clouds hanging over the characters. Illustrator Andrea Alemanno made the scene vivid and hopeful. The long list of concerns for entrepreneurs is first on the table, but then they start taking care of the needs of the young customer, Leo. The boy gets treats, and his hair is cut right away. The illustration is excellent, and it portrays the characters well!

Another scene that makes me feel good and light is the gathering of local families in a coastal town. Leo, a visiting wanderer, is taken in without any problems, even though no one knows him. He is offered food just like families’ own children. As I thought about the scene, I could hear in my mind how people joined in singing together with a gentle guitar accompaniment.

Among the writer’s privileges and unique opportunities are creating any kind of fantasy persons, situations, or views and getting to enjoy them yourself. It feels like living many lives at once!

Author Links: Facebook | Website

The wind magically whispers greetings from foreign lands into Leo’s ear. Excited, the little wanderer sets off for a long journey.
Along the way Leo sees many wonders of the world, and meets kind people who are willing to lend a hand, even to a perfect stranger. An old writer also teaches Leo to listen, and pay close attention to the messages that people reveal beyond their words.
At last the little wanderer returns home, wiser and content.

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on December 23, 2022, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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