Fernie & Elk Valley Culture Guide Issue 4 - Spring 2017 - Page 19


Pepper Couëlle-Sterling

Pepper Couëlle-Sterling is the daughter of an artist , a niece and granddaughter of architects , and an Art & Art History graduate of the University of Toronto . Immersed in art from an early age ( her grandfather was a friend of Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali ), she has embraced a life filled with creativity . Following a career as an Art Director in Magazine Publishing , she moved west to raise her family and start Pepper Creative Studio . A passion for teaching children led her to establish a summer Art Safari Camp focused on art and drama . Later , she was involved in founding the popular Ghostrider Adventure Camp and Fernie Kids Triathlon .
Although Pepper wrote and edited during her publishing career , she never identified as a writer in those earlier days ; it was during an extended winter sailing trip that she found the space and inspiration to write her first novel . She kept a sailboat in Guatemala , and would spend three or four months every winter seeking adventure and sun . Childhood memories and the enjoyment of history , science , and magic found their way onto the paper , and slowly the characters took on a life of their own . Her own love of books is an integral part of her main protagonist ’ s character and her desire as a teacher to encourage independence and confidence in trying new things helped guide the story through more and more adventures .
Pepper ’ s novel Secrets of the Painted Door is now in print by Oolichan Books and available at Polar Peek Books in Fernie . A sequel is due to be published in 2018 and Pepper anticipates a third volume in the series . Along with her partner , and dog Apollo , Pepper divides her time between Fernie and sailing in the Caribbean .