Monday, July 8, 2013

In the Winds of Danger Tour: Interview and Review

As a part of the In the Winds of Danger Blog Tour, I am excited to welcome Linda Ulleseit to the blog for an interview and review of her new book. 

But first...About the book!

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?

Now, let's here more about Linda's new book. 

1. What was your inspiration for this book? 
In the Winds of Danger is a sequel to my first flying horse book, On a Wing and a Dare. I wanted to continue telling the story of High Meadow's flying horses, but do it with different characters. Owain, a minor character in the first book, becomes the main character in the second. I know readers don't want to lose track of Emma and Davyd from the first book, so they are prominent supporting characters in the new book.

2. Would you classify your writing as plot driven or character driven? 
Definitely character driven. I am moved to tell the story of how the characters change when life throws them curves. I enjoy the challenge of creating characters that react differently than I would. If I couldn't do that, it would be boring since all my characters would be the same. 

3. Can you tell us a little about your main character?
In the Winds of Danger feature two main characters. Nia is a skilled young rider of a winged mare. She has very definite ideas about how things should be run, and doesn't hesitate to tell her barn leader what she thinks. Owain is the other main character. He is a groom to Emma's winged horse, and he's good at what he does. His past haunts him, though, with nightmares of an event that frightens him but he doesn't remember.

4. Without giving away too much, tell us a little about the main conflict in this book. 
Nia is shocked when two different factions secretly approach her to lead a new barn. She's interested, but must discover their ulterior motives--she's sure there are some--before she makes a decision that affects her future so dramatically. When a new groom comes to High Meadow, Owain's nightmares become more vivid. His mind has repressed memories of his childhood that involves the death of his sister. If he is going to work with the new groom, who clearly remembers the event, Owain is going to have to discover what happened and deal with the consequences.

5. What do you hope readers take away from this book? 
First, I want them to fall in love with the notion of a town that exists to support flying horses, and the Aerial Games. I also want them to be interested in my characters and want to come back and visit them in additional books.

6. What song best describes your writing style?
I'll skipped this one because I am SO not musical. I don't write with music at all. I only listen to music when I drive. It makes my husband and son nuts.
7. Night Owl or Early Bird?
Early bird! I get up an hour and a half before I need to every morning so I can have that fresh morning time to write.

8. Skittle or M&Ms?
Oh, I love both. Do I have to choose? No peanut M&Ms…

9. Who are your favorite authors?
Anne McCaffrey's dragonrider series heavily inspired me, and I love Diana Gabaldon.

10. Can you tell us about any future projects? 

I'm currently working on a novella that is a prequel to On a Wing and a Dare. I intend to offer it as a free ebook designed to entice readers into my world. It will follow Emma's parents, Hoel and Neste, during their courtship.

In the Winds of Danger is available now from:

And now...the review!

In the Winds of Danger is the beautiful follow up novel to Linda Ulleseit's "On a Wing and a Dare." The same characters that captured readers' hearts in the first book are now dealing with the turmoil that accompanies trying to rebuild a town and community, but readers will also meet a new group of characters in this book. The characters are deep and rich, and readers won't be able to help caring about them. 

Owain especially has a compelling backstory and a mystery that will keep readers turning pages. I found myself quite drawn in by Owain's story. The mytsery surrounding Owain's past is somethings that will immediately intrigue readers. I connected with Owain as he searched to discover what his nightmares really mean. Even once he learns the truth, his story was still compelling and I enjoyed following him. 

Nia is another new character that readers will find it hard not to root for, even if they want Emma and Davyd to win. I was, of course, still interested in David and Emma as characters, but I felt like Nia deserved recognition for her abilities and skills, so it was at times difficult to determine which group I wanted to succeed. Ulleseit did a good job of combining these characters to create tension.

This book doesn't have the same level of danger as the first book did with the horses being threatened by a strange illness, but the struggles of the characters and the plotting to gain power at the expense of the horses is an entertaining new aspect. I am looking forward to the next book in the series. 

More about Linda

Linda Ulleseit was born and raised in Saratoga, California. She currently lives in the Evergreen area of San Jose with her husband. They have two adult sons and two yellow Labrador puppies. She enjoys cooking, cross-stitching, reading, and spending time with her family.

Linda is a sixth grade teacher at James Franklin Smith Elementary School, where her students were some of the early reviewers of her books. She loves teaching writing and has published several anthologies of student work. 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.

As a child, Linda always loved to write. She took her first creative writing course in seventh grade, accumulating a closet full of stories that she never showed anyone until 2007. At that time, she gave the first draft of a flying horse book to a teacher colleague to read.

ON A WING AND A DARE began as a NaNoWriMo novel in 2009. It was revised with the help of reviewers on over the next two years. For NaNo 2011, Linda drafted the sequel, IN THE WINDS OF DANGER.

You can connect with Linda online at: