Blog Archives

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

My Sunflowers

My Sunflowers is a book written by Tuula Pere and illustrated by Catty Flores. Targeted towards children, the story circles around headstrong Millie, a girl who enjoys gardening but is not fond of her parents’ preference towards growing vegetables for their own sustenance instead of cultivating flowers and other plants. She is particularly drawn to sunflowers and, after getting seedlings from a friendly vendor, takes on a secret endeavor to grow the flowers hidden from her parents, who do not believe she should be trusted with gardening activities by herself.

The beautifully written book My Sunflowers is a quick but meaningful read. Millie is an independent girl who does not stop at the hurdles imposed on her, and one whom young female readers will be able to look up to. Her strong personality and refusal to let others tell her what she is capable of will draw in the attention of children that often want to prove they can do things that adults feel they are still too young for. Millie doesn’t let the doubts of others stop her from doing what she knows she can do.

This is an illustrated children’s book about independence, problem-solving, and standing up for what you want in life. Millie’s determined attitude and dedication to her flowers, when her parents had no faith in her abilities, shows great inner strength for believing in herself. To add to the story’s emotional words, Flores’ artwork does not let its readers down; the drawings are remarkable, with cold and warm contrasting tones in a noteworthy palette. Together this is a story that will bring forth emotions of pride and perseverance.

My Sunflowers is an engaging picture book for children to learn about inner strength, problem-solving, and how hard work pays off. Teachers and families will find the message in this book positive and encouraging and children will enjoy the motivational story and artwork.

Pages: 36 | ASIN : B09K6KYPSW

Buy Now From Amazon
%d bloggers like this: