Little Fears

Tuula Pere Author Interview

The Scary Snakes follows a young girl who is afraid of snakes and it is preventing her from enjoying time with her family in nature, she needs to find a way to overcome her fears so she can enjoy the outdoors again. What was the inspiration for your story?

I could call myself a fear freak. I am very interested in people’s fears, especially how to get rid of them or at least control them. To approach children gently, I have collected my experiences into stories – hopefully for joy and help in parenting, too.

As the eldest sibling in my childhood family and later as a mother of three children, I have faced many scary situations for the little ones. My role has often been to help others. Based on these observations and experience, I have developed methods of operation and little tricks that can be helpful also to others.

The things that are the object of fear are very different. When, as a writer, I started compiling a list of scary things or situations, I quickly got about a dozen topics for various books. Among the first three stories I wrote was also “The Scary Snakes.”

I have always enjoyed being out in the wild. Even as a child, I wandered alone in the fields, forests, and lakes. Nature was full of animals – including snakes and insects – but I was never afraid. All I felt was interest and curiosity. Of course, the little explorer had to know how to watch out for real dangers!

On the edge of my home village lived a taxi driver whose yard was full of poisonous snakes. He used to hang the ones he killed on a tree to scare other snakes away. The thought was quite terrifying for us children!

I have noticed that the fear of snakes is common and sometimes grows disproportionate in both children and adults. A calm and understanding person can help by listening and bringing a sense of security – just like Granny in this fairy tale can!

What was something you feared as a child and how did you overcome that fear?

I have always had a very vivid imagination. As a child, I used to read a lot of adventure stories, also exciting ones. Depending on the age, I felt a little afraid when reading” The Famous Five Series” or the adventures of Tarzan in the jungle. And the fairy tales of” One Thousand and One Nights” weren’t very tame either, with their bandits and monsters.

However, the fears of the imaginary world were quite encouraging because the heroes of the stories always survived in the end. And the exciting topics and anxieties created by my imagination, I made disappear when I wanted or came up with a suitable solution.

From my childhood fears, I could name two very different ones: thunder and war.

Thunder sometimes made me move the mattress to my parents’ bedroom floor. Knowing that our home had a lightning rod helped a little – even though I knew the same house had been struck by lightning years ago. Thunder is still scary, but I’ve learned to tolerate it as an adult. Various operating instructions give a sense of control and increase safety. Sometimes, when I feel I’m in a safe place, I can enjoy this incredible spectacle of nature!

WAR. I write it in capital letters as the importance of this sad subject has increased again.

As a child, I lived in a district inhabited by many migrants from Karelia because of the war between Finland and our eastern neighbor, then named the Soviet Union. I listened to the challenging experiences of these people. Even then, I felt deep in my heart the despair of those who had left their homes and tried to settle in new conditions with strangers. My grandfather and several other men in the family had been soldiers. Some of them returned home alive, some dead. Adults’ stories about wartime seemed to be frighteningly close at the time. My fear grew as I watched the Cold War news and their grim maps on television.

All these heavy memories about wartime are passed down from generation to generation. The fear of war has been present in my life all along. I haven’t come up with anything else to deal with it other than trying to build PEACE across all kinds of borders with the children’s books I keep on writing.

My stories “Lullaby of the Valley” and “Raspberry Red” talk about the consequences of war and its impact on people’s lives. “Between the Walls” is a book about diplomacy on the no-mans-land, and soon to be published, “Mother’s Bread Dough is a refugee story of a mother and son.

War is history for some of us; for others, it is the reality today. I hope my books will encourage and comfort people in all these situations.

How does it feel when you have completed writing a book and are ready to send to your publisher?

Since I work in our family company, I’m involved in book publishing projects from beginning to end. In some stages, my role is more extensive; in others, I just follow the progress from a distance.

When the manuscript is ready, it often feels like I have been away, traveling in another reality. From there, I have to return to everyday life and take a different perspective on the text. Since I also choose illustrators for my books, the work continues to be compact and busy but completely different. Finding an artist suitable for bringing the story to life is fascinating. Personality is also essential for smooth cooperation. It is a significant advantage for the process if all involved have genuine enthusiasm and vision for the result. I try to build trust with my illustrators, who are professionals in their field. They enjoy being free enough in their work – and I have my expertise to complement the process.

As much as I try to be patient, waiting for a finished book sometimes feels hard. Especially those stories that are exceptionally important and topical burn my mind. Right now, I’m looking forward to completing my book “Mother’s Bread Dough.” It is in the layout process, and the interplay between the illustrations by Stefan Turk and the story works well. This gentle and warm wartime story is so much needed today!

Do you have more “Little Fears” books planned?

While presenting my existing eight “Little Fears” books at fairs or otherwise talking about them with people, I’ve noticed remarkable things happen.

People often return in their minds to childhood and are touched by the topics of the books. For many, even painful things come to mind, and they may say: “I wish I had this book then.”

Some parents confess that they are struggling with the same issues in their own families and ask for my advice to help their situation. I always emphasize that everyone is an expert in their own family, but I can, of course, try to give some kind of peer support from my own experiences. These books are made to offer gentle guidance.

I still have many more subjects for the “Little Fears Series” in mind. I’ve picked some from my conversations with readers, so the demand exists. Adults have a responsibility to help children deal with things that worry and scare them. Writing stories is one of my means of assisting families with children.

By listening to the concerns of the little ones and dealing with them unhurriedly and gently, we find solutions together. The fear shrinks to a manageable size.

Author Links: Facebook | Website

“Little Fears” is a book series about the various concerns that children can have. Sometimes, minor harms may grow into big worries if they are ignored. Fortunately, there are fun ways and gentle tools to handle such situations, often through play.
“The Scary Snakes” is a book about overcoming the fear of snakes.
Shelly is on a picnic in the woods with her family. She imagines there are horrible snakes everywhere. Luckily, Grandma has ways to help. And when Shelly manages to defeat her fear, it calls for a celebration at the amusement park, where a surprising grand prize awaits.
Shelly is afraid of snakes. One day in the woods, she thinks she sees them everywhere and is too afraid to walk. “How will I be able to go on a picnic when I’m too big for Dad to carry me?” Shelly worries.
Grandma always knows what to do. Colorful snakes of yarn and fun games help Shelly defeat her fear. And when Grandma and Shelly visit the amusement park together, Shelly gets a surprising prize!

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 January 18, 2023, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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