Today we talk about Suza and the Shadow, a book by Joonas Hirvelä, published with our publishing house Europe Books.
Europe Books had the pleasure of interviewing the author Joonas Hirvelä, to get to know him better, where he found the inspiration to write his book Suza and the Shadow, as well as how it was to work with an illustrator such as Reelika Tooming and how this collaboration empowered his story.
Below you can find our interview. Take a seat and enjoy your reading!!!
- Where did you find the inspiration to write this story?
I just started to write and draw. I had no idea that I was making a children’s story. After writing and drawing for some time I realised that now I have a children’s book. Then I let some of my friends read it and they said it is a great story and I shut find someone to publish it. I didn’t like my own drawing enough so I started to search for professional illustrator and then I found one. It took quite a long time to get the book from first draft to this ready version, but it was totally worth it. When book was getting more ready with the new illustrations, I started showing it to more of my friends and people really liked it. Some people started to cry, because they felt touched by the story. At that point I knew I have a great product. I’m hoping that my publishing company will succeed in promoting my book.
- What was your ideal audience, when you wrote this book?
I had now idea about my audience when I wrote this book, but when I looked at the product, I thought my ideal audience is people who work at education. Many people there have a big heart and they are ready to work their asses off to make a beautiful day for their beloved children’s life’s. But there is one problem. Many of them are sacrificing their own happiness in order to create happiness for other people. That’s why they also fail at living their lives healthy. This book is also for many parents who suffer from the same problem. So, this book is for the parents, teachers and early childhood educators. It is also for the children of course. I worked ten years in education and I see that this book is showing the biggest blind spot of many teachers and parents. This is based on my observations during my working years.
- How was to work with the illustrator Reelika Tooming and how did it empower the story you told in your book?
Reelika was making the story more alive with her drawings. Before it was just a great story. But what is a great story without drawings? It is just a bed time story for children. When the drawings join the story, it is a book. When it is a book, it is possible to sell and people are happy to pay money from it. Reelika was doing really detailed work in her drawings. I’m sure when children are reading this book, they will spot many details from her illustrations and enjoy. Reelika’s drawings made the story also more real, more concrete, more touchable and visible. It feels now like I really have a quality product. Reelika was using lot of time for every picture. So, she did the work with great care and I appreciate it. She could relate with the story and that’s why she wanted to do the illustrations. I’m happy she did the illustrations. It is nice to work with someone who is inspired.
- How can you cultivate self-esteem in 2022?
Cultivating self-esteem is really important skill and it stays the same during the centuries, but what is changing is the society and common beliefs. What makes this time challenging is the comparison. We live at the age where we compare and compete. If you want to make yourself miserable the best strategy is to compare yourself to someone who have something you don’t have. If you want to make yourself happy make a list of the things you have that you appreciate. If you want more self-esteem look at someone who has more self-esteem. What are they doing to get it? Maybe they refuse to hear other people’s negative opinions about them and maybe they refuse to hear their own negative opinions about them self, to build self-esteem you can cultivate non-attachment to your negative thoughts. One way is to learn meditation/mindfulness. Other would be to just write down your thoughts and then to understand that your negative thoughts are not the true unless you believe them. No matter where you start, you can build a great self-esteem. I was bullied at school so I started from quite low self-esteem.
- Are you already working on a new writing project?
Yes. I have a publishing contract for my next book. It is a Finnish language non-fiction book about limiting beliefs. Its purpose is to help readers to create healthier less judgemental mindsets for themselves. It’s going to be out next year. I also have another children’s picture book ready by now and I’m thinking about publishing it with Europe Books, but I’m waiting to see how my first book plays out on sales. This book is about communication and benefits of mistakes. I have also third children’s picture book and text is ready but illustrations are missing. This book is about another dimensions and about relaxation as a tool to achieve one’s life goals. Then I have in my mind a fourth children’s picture book. On that I’m trying to do my own illustrations. This book’s going to be dark in visuals and it’s going to be about anxiety and uncertainty and how accepting these will going to bring huge clarity boost for anyone. And since I’ have a creative factor with me wherever I go (me). I have a fifth children book in my mind. It’s science fiction for young adults.
Europe Books thanks the author Joonas Hirvelä once again for taking the time and answering our questions. We are really pleased to have walked alongside him on the editorial path that led to the publication of his book Suza and the Shadow. We wish him the best of luck for his book and for his future works.
To you, my dear reader, I wish that this book will be of great interest and of huge support to parents, teachers, educators and children out there who want to know more about how to grow with self-esteem. We live in a very complex and challenging area, therefore I really hope this book will give you some excellent food for thoughts that will inspire you and enable you to never give up and always love yourself, especially since you are little!
So, my dear reader, all I have to say is to enjoy this very interesting and inspirational reading!