It Is Possible To Write Happy Endings

Tuula Pere Author Interview

The Shoemaker’s Splendid Lamp follows the family of a shoemaker who tries to make enough money to feed his family and save his sick son. What was the inspiration for your story?

I am very interested in history and like to tell children about it. It is essential to understand the past to know how to live today and plan for the future. Understanding of society increases when a more comprehensive perspective is available. Knowing different life situations and circumstances also creates empathy toward other people.

My relatives come from rural areas in Eastern and Northern Finland, where families were once large and poor. My grandfather was a shoemaker who died years before I was born. I have heard much about his family’s poor life from the decades before and after the wartime.

In particular, my father and grandmother told me about the old days, which in their case, admittedly were not always easy and happy. The experiences of my own relatives have given me a perspective on the development of society and improving people’s opportunities.

I can reveal that “The Shoemaker’s Lamp” is a true story regarding actual events and people. The only difference is that the fairy tale’s happy ending did not come true in the lives of the people in question.

Both the father, and Aron were interesting characters. What was your favorite character to write for and why?

I already mentioned my grandfather, who was a shoemaker. He is naturally my inspiration for the father of this fairy tale. He was a hard-working man who did his best to provide food for a large family with seven children. But he also longed for beauty as he was ready to buy a splendid oil lamp for his little house.

It was nice to write about this shoemaker and imagine how he made his lamp dream come true. In real life, my grandfather’s family finally had to sell this lamp to buy something even more necessary.

However, it was even more pleasant for me to write “a happy end” for little Aron, who was struggling with his health. This boy in the book has a sad equivalent, my father’s brother, who died when he was about five years old. I have heard about his short life from my grandmother and father – one lost her son, the other his brother. But in this fairy tale, I could write what I wanted and give little Aron health and a new summer with its fishing trips.

That’s what I find so liberating about writing. It is possible to write happy endings and give hope to readers – maybe even to mend hurt feelings and right the wrongs readers have experienced in their own lives.

What were some educational aspects that were important for you to include in this children’s book?

Already at the beginning of the story, I remind readers that it takes place in “old times.” This way, they can position themselves correctly to understand the events better. It is essential to realize that the world has been different before and that people’s opportunities and needs have changed.

However, for example, the average standard of living nowadays does not extend to all people, unfortunately. Thinking about social issues and justice is one of the most important things in this story. I don’t want to accuse anyone; I just want to observe what kind of situations people in different circumstances get into – and how they can survive.

I also want to emphasize how important it is that other people’s empathy leads to practical actions to help those in need. In this story, the lamp oil brought by the neighbor is of great importance to the shoemaker’s family. But it’s vital for the sick boy, for whom the lamp’s light gives the courage to fight the illness and believe in the coming of one more summer.

On a practical level, this splendid lamp in the story is necessary for many reasons during the dark winter months. The light from the lamp and the beautiful flowers on its sides are a shared joy in that difficult time. But the essential thing in the story is the love between father and son. In their cooperation, there is a lot of gentleness and consideration for each other. The power of love encourages them to believe in the almost impossible – to heal the boy and go fishing together in the summer heat.

I believe children understand the symbolic value of a lamp and its light. They will surely realize that the most valuable light is in people’s loving hearts.

What is the next book in the History for Children series about?

This theme – History for children – has influenced many of the books I’ve written, even if they don’t form a compact and coherent series together. However, I have some ideas for the next books, where the point of view would be clearly “historical.”

My next book about the times of previous generations will probably be a story about a small and stubborn horse that falls into the hands of strangers during the war. It will be a true story as it describes how my grandfather came on leave during the war and witnessed the harsh and unfair treatment of his own horse by men in the home village. He couldn’t allow it and showed others a gentle example of how a weak animal is ready to try his best, even if the task is hard to fulfill. Gentle care and encouragement are essential, even for the crankiest horse.

What attracts me the most is that writing suitable little stories can show children that their ancestors were once similar to them. Only the physical setting of events was different. I can also teach children facts about specific periods of history, although I prioritize the core of the actual story – the one that unites people throughout the years.

Author Links: Facebook | Website

The shoemaker lives in a small cottage with his large family. Every day he toils away, making boots so his family can eat. The shoemaker’s sickly youngest son, Aron, often sits beside him. The doctor has warned the shoemaker that little Aron might not live long enough to see next summer.
The shoemaker longs to make more shoes to feed his family, but the cottage gets so dark, he must stop working before the sun goes down. One day the shoemaker and Aron spot something at the market—a beautiful oil lamp! Can the splendid lamp help the shoemaker—and save little Aron?

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 29, 2023, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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