Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on Ursula Wong, one of the authors who visited us for the Insanity Tales signing. Ursula Wong is a retired Computer Engineer who lives in Massachusetts with her husband and daughter. She has a passionate interest in the craft of storytelling. Her work has appeared in the Spinetingler and Every Day Fiction online magazines. She is a winner of the New Hampshire Writer’s Project fiction contest and her work will appear in their upcoming e-book. While her roots are in rural New England, Ursula has traveled widely. She scuba-dives, swims, and is an avid hiker. Purple Trees is her first novel.
Thank you for joining us, Ursula! For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write? What can readers expect from your work?
In Purple Trees, Lily Phelps is orphaned and in debt at seventeen. Her dark, hidden past causes her to see ghosts. This scared, naïve girl must grow up fast if she is to find work, happiness, and build a future, but the weight of the past threatens everything she loves. Because of her terrible secret, Lily must protect her family from the worst danger of all – herself.
Amber Wolf should be out in the summer of 2015. Its timeframe is 1944 when Russian soldiers invade Lithuania and ravage the countryside and the people. After her mother is murdered, young Ludmelia Kudirka flees to the safety of the forest. Vowing vengeance, she joins the partisans fighting for freedom in a David-and-Goliath struggle against the mighty Soviet war machine.
What kind of research went into writing this book? What is your favorite research story? What cool facts and findings didn’t make it into the book, but you loved discovering?
The setting for Purple Trees is rural New England in the 1960s through the 1980s. Families put money into modernizing their barns according to new standards defined by the milk industry, while they cooked their meals on stoves heated by wood. Rotary phones connected to party lines. Bathrooms were just off the kitchen so that heat from the wood stove could warm the room.
What was the inspiration for Purple Trees? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished book?
A key concept to Purple Trees concerns broken ties within the family. Many issues can contribute to this, such as death or divorce. I wanted to explore family love in the case of a woman who survived a childhood trauma so great that it subsequently affected her relationship with her children.
While Purple Trees centers on Lily Phelps as a distressed woman struggling with a past that twists her perceptions, the story is also about love, family, neighbors, self-sufficiency, and coping with things we cannot control. Lily, in her unique way, excels at coping.
Even though she has many secrets, Lily shows us many truths. The greatest and most touching, is the ability of children to put the needs of others first. One challenge in writing the novel was constantly getting into Lily’s mindset, and revealing with absolute truth, the world as she sees it.
Where can people find your work? (Besides ABSW ;)–though they should totally check here first!)
My website is https://ursulawong.wordpress.com
I am also a member of www.thestoryside.com
How can we follow your work, share your awesomeness, or otherwise stalk you in a totally non-creepy way?
Go to my website and subscribe to my email list for stories, book giveaways, and events. https://ursulawong.wordpress.com/subscribe-to-my-email/
Once again, thank you for being our spotlight author, Ursula!