"Vigorously told deceptions and battle scenes." ~Publishers Weekly review of Eolyn

"The characters are at their best when the events engulfing them are at their worst." ~Publishers Weekly review of High Maga

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Guest Author: Linda Ulleseit

I am very happy today to welcome Linda Ulleseit to my blog.  I met Linda a few years back through the on-line writers worskhop, thenextbigwriter.com.

Linda Ulleseit was born and raised in Saratoga, California, and has taught elementary school in San Jose since 1996.  She enjoys cooking, cross-stitching, reading, and spending time with her family.  Her favorite subject is writing, and her students get a lot of practice scribbling stories and essays.  Someday Linda hopes to see books written by former students alongside hers in bookstores.

Her first novel ON A WING AND A DARE, was published in 2012. It is a young adult fantasy set in medieval Wales, complete with flying horses, a love triangle, and treachery.  Its sequel, IN THE WINDS OF DANGER, was just released last month. 

You can visit Linda at http://ulleseit.wordpress.com/

Please join me in welcoming Linda, who has written a fun post today on magical realism. 

Magical Realism

Most well-read students of literature have a working knowledge of magic realism. For one class or another they’ve read One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, or Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges. It wasn’t until an early critic said of my own novel, “It approaches magic realism” that I delved deeper into what exactly magic realism is.

Like all post-twentieth century researchers, I started with Wikipedia, which stated, “Magic realism is a genre where magic elements are a natural part in an otherwise mundane, realistic environment.” My own novels, On a Wing and a Dare and In the Winds of Danger, certainly do that. They are basically realistic fiction novels set in a medieval mountain town where horses fly.

Magic realism in its original form comes from Latin America. Magic realism observes the world as it is and tells that reality from a different frame of reference. Latin Americans can be very passionate about life and spirituality. Their normal beliefs include things that are supernatural or magic to Westerners. By way of illustration, in One Hundred Years of Solitude, Garcia Marquez creates the character of Melquiades, a traveling gypsy. Over the span of hundreds of years, this gypsy visits the town and brings wonders such as ice and flying carpets. A Westerner sees much to question in that sentence, but my Spanish grandmother-in-law would accept every word as possible.

On a Wing and a Dare assumes the reader will not dwell on the scientific possibility of a flying horse and instead will look at the symbolism of living out a dream. When people ask what my novel is about, I generally respond, “It’s about flying horses.” I say that because the horses are the coolest part, but that’s not really the significance of the plot. When the winged horses are threatened, the adults in the town are trapped by tradition and policy. Only the fresh ideas of the teenagers, and the courage to take a risk, will save the horses and the town itself. That, however, sounds too normal. So I say it’s about flying horses.

On most sites, On a Wing and a Dare is labeled fantasy, which has a lot in common with magic realism. Fantasy gives readers an opportunity to try out new roles and see ways to work through situations. They learn perseverance pays off, and that setbacks don’t always cause failure. In essence, we are looking deeper inside the human experience with both fantasy and magic realism. Fantasy speculates on worlds that might be, however, and magic realism deals with the world that is. In addition, magic realism is considered a serious form of literature while fantasy is escapist.

In conclusion, I have a great deal of respect for Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and I’m flattered that someone thought of my work as approaching the quality of his. I cannot, however, refer to On a Wing and a Dare or In the Winds of Danger as magic realism and be totally honest. They are fantasy, maybe historical fantasy. And that’s just fine!


On a Wing and a Dare

Flying horses…a love triangle…poison….Welcome to Tremeirchson.
In Tremeirchson, a barn leader’s children are expected to follow their parents into the sky, becoming riders of the magnificent winged horses that are the medieval Welsh village’s legacy. Neither Emma nor Davyd, however, want to follow that tradition.
Sixteen-year-old Emma risks losing her family by following her heart. Eager to take her place in the air, she longs to ride a forbidden winged colt born in barn of her father’s biggest rival. She also dreams of the rival’s sons, not sure which she truly loves. Bold and exciting, Evan will someday lead his father’s barn. Davyd is quieter, more dependable, with an ability to get things done. Her father disapproves of both boys and pushes her toward an ambitious newcomer. He also insists she ride the colt he’s picked for her.
Davyd, also sixteen, is plagued with a secret—he is afraid of heights. Refusing to become a rider means public humiliation, his parents’ disappointment, and lifelong ridicule from his brother, Evan. He reluctantly prepares to join his family aloft in the Aerial Games that provide the entire village with its livelihood and tries desperately to think of an alternative.
As Tremeirchson’s barns prepare for the Rider Ceremony, winged horses suddenly start dying. Shocked, the adults hesitate, mired in tradition and politics. Is it a disease or poison? Accidental or purposeful? Someone must discover the answer and act before all the winged horses in the world are gone forever.


In the Winds of Danger

Nineteen year old Nia is shocked when she is secretly offered the leadership of Third Barn. This new barn full of flying horses will need someone confident, experienced, and innovative, so why are both warring factions pursuing an untried girl? Suspicious that both sides want a puppet instead of a leader, Nia races to discover their secrets before making the biggest decision of her life.

Some of those secrets are unknowingly buried in the disconnected memories of a young groom named Owain. Terror and guilt haunt Owain’s dreams – and then a face from his nightmare arrives in High Meadow. Owain looks for answers in his past and uncovers a dangerous plot that could doom High Meadow's future. How can he foil the plot and save his people as well as the winged horses?