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: http://ulleseit.wordpress.com 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?