What is the working title of your book?
Under the Almond Trees
Where did the idea come from for the book?
It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized my grandmother was quite a special person. Born just before the turn of the century, she was homeschooled by her mother, met her husband by mail, and had her own photography business in California in 1920. Her aunt was one of California’s first female architects, and her grandmother one of the state’s earliest suffragettes. I don’t have enough information about them to write biographies of these women, but I have plenty for a novelized account of their lives!
What genre does your book fall under?
This one will be Historial Fiction, for adults.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Oh, I love Meryl Streep. She would have to play Ellen, the suffragette. I would cast Helen Hunt as Emily, the architect, and Sandra Bullock as Eva, the photographer. I really don’t know if they would fit the role, but I admire those women like I admire the women in my family!
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
As the twentieth century dawns, three women, an architect, a photographer, and a suffragette, fight to live their own lives, shape California’s future, and leave a legacy their daughters will honor.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I hope it will be published by Briona Glen Publishing sometime in 2014.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
A third of it (Ellen’s story) is written, and I hope to finish the first draft during NaNoWriMo 2012. (National Novel Writing Month) Past practice shows that with teaching full time the revising and editing will take six months. Then off to Briona Glen for their input next summer.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Howard Fast has a couple of multi-generational sagas that remind me of what I am attempting to do with my book. Barbara Taylor Bradford also has a strong women series that begins with Woman of Substance.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I love history, and combining it with family research is inspiring. I want my sons to know about the strong pioneer women in their family, and I want the general public to be able to put faces to some of these early accomplishments.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I want Under the Almond Trees to be more than just a retelling of these women’s lives. Each of them made choices that shaped their lives. Ellen, the matriarch, was widowed while pregnant with her third child. She chose to run her husband’s business and work for women’s right to vote. Emily, the architect, insisted on studying drafting during a time when most women didn’t. She and her lifeling partner, Lillian, designed and built houses that were comfortable and practical. Eva, the photographer, chose to marry and have a family. When her husband refused to pay college tuition for their daughter, Eva opened her own photography studio to earn the money. Three women, all important to women’s rights, but with different views on what that legacy means to those that come after them.
To see what else I’m working on go here:
Linda Ulleseit (my Flying Horse books)