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JANUARY 24 ~ FRIDAY Q & AS

By Linda Ulleseit
January 24, 2020

It’s Friday! We pause from our spellchecking, cut-and-pasting, reformatting, and out-loud-reading to answer C.V.’s question: “What is the inspiration for your current WIP?”

Actress Maude Adams

Kathryn’s doing research now for her next book which features “theatrical productions at the turn of the last century.”

I’m interested in the traveling actors who came through Salt Lake City and their interaction with the Mormons who performed alongside them. One of these local actors, Maude Adams, was the first to play Peter Pan on Broadway. My great-great-grandmother made some of her costumes.”

Linda shares, “From the time I first began dating my husband, his grandmother was a force in family life. She was so loving, so welcoming, that I felt like part of the family from the very beginning. When I found out that she’d had a difficult childhood and marriage, I marveled. She had become a generous, loving, amazing woman. How had she done that? People crack under much less pressure, becoming bitter or angry. She never did. I felt compelled to dig into her past, to talk to her family, to learn what made her so wonderful.”

Elsie Clark & Nelson Story ~ “The Two Storys”

Ana says, “Back in the 1910’s, vaudeville chanteuse Elsie Clark and composer/pianist Nelson Story met, married, and created the stage act The Two Storys.

During World War II, my stepmother rented a room in Elsie’s Los Angeles house (Nelson had died by then). My stepmother became Elsie’s friend and executor (after her death) and eventually, all of Elsie’s vaudeville stuff–her scrapbooks, her formal and candid photographs, and even her recordings on the Okeh label–became mine. (Mine! Mine! Mine!) Since I was already an eager student of American history, Elsie, Nelson, and I were a perfect match. My current WIP (A Brilliant Engagement) is about a vaudeville-chanteuse-who-knows-too-much set in 1919 San Francisco. Elsie’s photographs and recordings–that voice! I’ll be putting her recordings on my website some day–are big inspirations for me.”

Katie’s story starts with “A friend that I met when I lived in Savannah was just starting her boudoir photography business, The Empowerment Studio (it is now going gangbusters in Kansas City), and her belief driving her business was that every body is beautiful.

Her job as a photographer was to use light and color and positioning to show that, just as photographers have always done with models who are paid to be beautiful. If “beautiful people” get that treatment and look beautiful, then normal people can have that treatment and ALSO look beautiful. It is about enhancing the beauty that each of us already possesses, and giving us confidence to radiate it. And I thought about it, and realized that I was reading book after book where the heroines’ bodies were petite, or if they weren’t petite, they were short. (There is a growing awareness of fat bodies in romance) But what about female bodies that are tall, or strong, or muscular? And all these heroines loved children, and couldn’t wait to have families, and that didn’t fit me very well either. So I wanted to write heroines who weren’t pretty, who weren’t baby-lovers, who weren’t ready for all of the expectations of their gender. Because all of those women should get a happily-ever-after where they are loved, too.”

And finally, C.V. completes our answers with “I often thought about being a writer but never could think of what to write about.

Then when my middle son was in 2nd grade he was assigned a family genealogy project. For the first time I learned about my family history. Those weird stories my grandma used to tell and everyone thought she was making up turned out to be true. The history was so fascinating that it sounded like a novel. I determined that one day I would write their story. Now 18 years later, that is exactly what I am doing. I love bringing these fascinating people to life. Now I have ideas for future novels based on the same family in different time periods.”

Linda Ulleseit
Written by Linda Ulleseit

Linda Ulleseit writes award-winning heritage fiction set in the United States. She is a member of Historical Novel Society, Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and Women Writing the West as well as a founding member of Paper Lantern Writers. Get in touch with her on Instagram (lulleseit) and Facebook (Linda Ulleseit or SHINE with Paper Lantern Writers).

View Linda’s PLW Profile

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