Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Aloho Spirit: Linda Ulleseit Part 2

Today it's my pleasure to have Linda Ulleseit back for a second day with Novel PASTimes. Linda took her first creative writing course in seventh grade, accumulating a closet full of stories that she never showed anyone until 2007, when she was already involved in a career as a teacher. Currently Linda is a sixth grade teacher at James Franklin Smith Elementary School, where her students are some of the early reviewers of her books. Her favorite subject is writing, and her students get a lot of practice scribbling stories and essays. Blending her passions for history and fantasy, Linda wrote On a Wing and a Dare, which is set in medieval Wales and features teenagers saving a herd of flying horses. Most recently, Linda released Under the Almond Trees, a novel about three California pioneer women. Linda lives in San Jose, California with her husband, two adult sons, and two young yellow Labrador retrievers. When she’s not writing or teaching, Linda loves to cook, cross-stitch, and read.

Linda, welcome back to PASTimes! I really enjoyed learning more about your books yesterday. As an author I'm always considering what I want readers to remember long after a book ends. What do you hope readers remember after your stories ends?

I hope they always remember that it took more than the famous people to make history. Everyone, every day, contributed in some way to the story of our culture.

What surprised you most as you wrote your books?

To be honest, I was surprised at how well educated women were in California in the early part of the century. There were at least five colleges in the San Jose area: Stanford, UC Berkeley, University of the Pacific (since moved to Stockton), San Jose Normal School (now San Jose State) and University of Santa Clara. California women were among the best educated in the country at the time. I expected to find that they were joining women’s clubs and having tea or some such. They did do that, but they also went to school!

That is fascinating. What’s next for you?

I’ve just started writing Spirit of Aloha, even though I am still researching it. Pleased with the idea of sharing the stories of women in my family, I decided to tackle my husband’s grandmother. She was born on Kauai in 1915, but grew up in Honolulu. Her mother died when she was a baby, her father left her when she was a child, and the family who took her in treated her badly. She married at sixteen and had three children by the time she was twenty. Then her husband left her. Even so, she was one of the most loving, generous, and accepting women I’ve ever known. I’m curious to explore her life and figure out how she developed that strong spirit of aloha.

Do you participate in author book signings or events? Where can readers find you?

I love author book signings. I also do speaking events at schools either in person or on Skype. The easiest way to contact me or follow up on what I’m doing is to check my website:  I’m also a sixth grade teacher, so my website includes reviews of YA books and tips on writing and reading. Also, please check out my author pages on Amazon and Goodreads!

What are you currently reading?

I just finished TheLast Aloha by Gaellen Quinn. It’s historical fiction about the last days of the Hawaiian monarchy. It was wonderful and gave me a great flavor for Hawaii in that time period. Currently I’m reading Lost Kingdom: Hawaii’s Last Queen by Julia Flynn Siler. It’s nonfiction, so it’s a little slow for me, but it’s good research for my current book.

Thanks so much for joining us, Linda. You can learn more about Linda and her books at her website.

Readers, Linda has agreed to giveaway a copy of her book Under the Almond Trees. To be entered, just leave a comment below answering this question: 

What do you think was the most difficult social issue that women faced in early California?


Bonnie Roof said...

Thanks for the second part of that interesting interview, Linda and Cara!!

I'm looking forward to reading "Spirit of Aloha" and learning the secret behind your grandmother's resilience also, Linda. I think Hawaii is probably the most beautiful place I've ever seen and Kauai was my favorite of the islands.

As I commented yesterday, I feel the most difficult social issue that women faced in early California may have been the support of their children if a spouse was incapacitated or passed away.

Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of "Under the Almond Trees"!!


Post shared!!

Lane Hill House said...

What do you think was the most difficult social issue that women faced in early California?
Leaving their heirlooms along the side of the road on their travel West they had already done. ~ social issue ~ Forming new friendships along the way, again separated from each other upon dispersing to find their land and work. Mining journal 1800s,, talked of the conditions; beauty in nature, but yet unspun in civilization, each contending for their spot. Hardships on the trail and upon arrival, yet the backbone of our country with immigrants joining together to wide-open spaces. The women continued what they would do in their own households ~ cooking, cleaning ~ wash; in what was needed. I would like to read Under the Almond Trees of these three pioneer women.

Spirit of Aloha
She was never abandoned by the Lord! The first time I read Psalm 139, my questions were answered; I was not left alone. I lost my mother a month before my sixth birthday; how my life would have been so different had she lived. Our Lord knows the plans He has for us ~ specifically, Jeremiah 29:11-14. My life verse, Psalm 119:111, "Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart." Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House

petite said...

Women faced many challenges and hardships. Because they had to rely upon their ingenuity to stay well, to have enough food and to keep the family strong, educated and healthy. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

Linda Ulleseit said...

Oh, Kathleen, you are absolutely correct! My character, Carmen, was a devout Catholic her entire life. Ironically enough, she died during Lent and the church refused to hold a service during Holy Week.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the interview. I think one of the hardest social issues would be that there was such hardships in making homes and having to leave their best stuff behind. Not much time for social parties, that will miss and hardships. And, maybe not good doctors available. And, dealing with the loss along the trail of family members and friends on the trail and just having to bury them where ever they were at the time. That would be hard for anyone I think. Thanks for the give-away. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

Lane Hill House said...

Linda, Thank you!! Under the Almond Trees arrived today. Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House

Generations of blessings