Monday, June 9, 2014

Linda Hubalek

Linda Hubalek
While growing up, Linda Hubalek had always planned to be a farmer, like her ancestors who homesteaded the Kansas prairie. But marrying an engineer changed her plans—and state of residence for a few decades.

To ease the homesickness for soil and family until they could move back home, Linda wrote books about her pioneer ancestors.
Linda’s passion for the frontier has drawn her into writing western romance featuring Kansas’ cattle town days and the women that lived in those times.

Read more about Linda and her books at
What is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done? 
Scuba diving off the coast of Cozumel.
What adventure would you like to have that you haven’t done yet if money and skill were no problem?
Spend two weeks in Tuscany region of Italy.
Who are some of your favorite authors?  What commonality do you see in them?
Recently I’ve enjoyed contemporary and historical western romances by Cora Seton, Becky McGraw and Mary Connealy. Besides a good romance storyline, there is humor in their books too.
I believe color says something about a person’s personality.  What’s your favorite color?
 My favorite color would be pink, as in flowers, but green, as in plants, is my calming color. But my writing office is a light sunny yellow. Maybe I have three favorite colors-which these three were my wedding colors now that I think about it.
If you could have a do-over life, what one thing would you do differently? 
Take some writing classes in college.
What would you do again? Marry the same man!
What is your writing process from conception to finished MS?
Think, research, scribble on note pads, write an outline and keep expanding it until I have enough chapters and words. And the book is never done until I have just the right ending.
Are you a planner, panster or both?
Oh, both. Some things I plan in detail and other things I should have thought it out instead of jumping in without thinking!
How did you research for your book?
My first eleven books are based on real people and places, so I searched newspapers, church and government records, looked for written family history and photos. Then compile all the facts for the story line.
What is your all-time favorite movie?  Funny Farm, 1988 with Chevy Chase.
TV show? Dallas
How important do feel writing workshops are to any writer?
You don’t know what you’re missing until you go to some. You pick up so many ideas from the workshops and the participants.
If you could learn one new skill, fear and money no deterrent, what would it be?
If you had a million dollars to donate to any one charity, what would it be?
Konza Prairie Biological Station, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas
What advice would you like to give to an aspiring writer?
The internet can give you so much information today, but always read too, to get the feel and rhythm of writing. You’ll have your own style, but read how others do it too.
Did anyone mentor you or help you along the way?  Please tell us about your mentor and what you feel they contributed to your writing career.
 No I’ve been pretty much a loner with my writing, one reason is that I live in a rural community that don’t have writing critic groups like cities would have available.
What is the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Divide the project into smaller tasks and concentrate on one at a time. (This was from my husband when we built our own house for the last two years and I was getting overwhelmed and tired of it all.)
If you could live anywhere in the world you wanted to, where would it be?
USA is my first choice, but I’d be fine in Sweden. I’ve been there and my Swedish ancestry made me feel right at home.
Where do you write? 
On my computer in my sunny yellow home office, looking out a big window that has three birdfeeders just inches from the outside of the glass —where my big gray cat has his nose pressed up against the inside of the glass.
How much time do you devote to writing each week?  Do you have a day every week that you take off?
Depends on the week, mood, deadlines and my aging parents’ needs.
What is a genre that you have not attempted that you would like to try?
I have my first western romance story in Lassoing a Groom, so I’m starting a new genre this year.
Is there anything you would like readers to know about you?
We raised bison for a dozen years and enjoyed their family structure, loyalty and personalities. And I still miss my head cow Esther…but our favorite bull Bandit lives permanently in my husband’s den.
Tying the Knot by Linda K. Hubalek
As Kizzie Pieratt receives trunks and quilts from her relatives to use on her family’s wagon trip from Kansas to the Indian Territory, she learns about the significant moves previous generations have made for their families, just like she is about to do next. 
Tying the Knot, the first historical fiction book in the Kansas Quilter series follows Kizzie Pieratt as she receives trunks and quilts from her relatives to use on her family’s wagon trip from Kansas to the Indian Territory. Kizzie learns about the significant moves previous generations have made for their families, just like she is about to do next. 

This book series shares the stories and photos of Linda Hubalek’s pioneer ancestors that homesteaded in Kansas in the 1800s. The Kansas Quilter series continues the family stories written in Hubalek’s Trail of Thread series. 

A bonus section tells the "Story behind the story" of the Kansas Quilter series and features photos of some of the quilts that the Pieratt family made. 

Excerpt from Tying the Knot 

“But my ma made it…” 

Both my mother-in-law Harriet and I glance up at the words James Monroe just uttered softly. Does my big father-in-law have a tear in his eye? 

His fingers slowly rub the corner of the tattered string quilt and he has the most mournful look I have ever seen on his worn, bearded face. 

Harriet had brought down a pile of old quilts stored upstairs in their home that she thought we could use on our wagon trip. 

We were going through them in the kitchen while James Monroe sat at the kitchen table, having his usual afternoon cup of coffee and a slice of pie. 

I look back at the quilt. Its blocks are arranged in groups of four to form a diamond pattern. It’s a combination of light and dark shirt silk and cotton material with odds and ends of red and blue blocks mixed in, in odd places. I pick up the opposite end of the quilt where there is a bright red block. Looking closer I see it’s not the original fabric, but newer material. I’m guessing the five red blocks, have been patched over worn out spots on the quilt. 

The backing is one sheet of old flannel and the filling isn’t too lumpy. It would be perfect to use as outside bedding on our trip, or use as a tent to shield the children from sun or rain. I’m certainly not going to use my good quilts for that purpose. 

Why is James Monroe being sentimental about a thread-bare quilt? 

“I was ten when I left Kentucky with my parents and five siblings. I remember Ma packing her trunks, stewing about what she had to pack for the family’s survival and what she had to leave behind. My father kept harping about only the necessities were to be taken along because there was only so much room in the wagon bed, and she was stuffing it past capacity the way it was. The team had to pull the wagon all the way to Kansas, and they didn’t have money to buy new teams along the way if the animals wore out from hauling too heavy a load day in and out.” 

James Monroe keeps pulling the quilt his way until he tugs it out of my hands. Then he wraps the quilt in his forearms as if he is protecting it from two deranged women. 

Harriet and I just look at each other and then back to the man clutching the quilt and lost in thought. 

“Tell us about your ma and this quilt,” I say as I sink down into one of the chairs at the table. 

Maybe if James Monroe talks about the quilt he’ll give it up, plus the others that were piled on the floor. I need those quilts and Harriet is glad to pass them on—probably because she didn’t make them and has no sentimental value attachment to them. 

Come to think about it, I’d be a little sentimental about some things that I grew up with too, so I better not be impatient with my father-in-law. 
Linda will be giving away a copy of Tying The Knot to a commenter today.


Sarah J. McNeal said...

You got me at taxidermy. I would have never imagined that one.
I had no idea your story in Lassoing a Groom was your first western. I just started reading those stories and enjoying them.
I know this anthology is going to be a huge success.
Thank you so much for interviewing with us at The Romance Room. It was such a pleasure to learn more about you. I wish you every success.

Linda Hubalek said...

Hi Sarah, Because I raised bison for over a decade, I cleaned hides to prepare for tanning, etc. and went to a few taxidermists shops. Very interesting to see the work in progress.
My first four series were about the pioneer women in my past, so now I'm adding the fiction element of romance to new characters I've dreamed up. It's been a fun project.
Thanks for asking me to be in The Romance Room today.

Unknown said...

HI Linda, that was a great interview. Very informative. Scuba diving is on my bucket list. I hope I get that chance. Your books sounds lovely, like home life should be. good luck with sales. Welcome to the Romance Room and have a great time. We are a friendly group who love new comers. Welcome.

Linda Hubalek said...

Thanks for the welcome JoAnne. I appreciate it!

Kristy McCaffrey said...

Hi Linda,
So nice to get to know you more! I've been to Cozumel but have never dived. Would like to return and do that someday. But I have been to Tuscany and if you ever make it, you'll love it. It's prettier than any photo!

Unknown said...

Hello, Linda. I'm happy to meet you here on The Romance Room.
Taxidermy? Really? Wow.
The quilt has been a very important part of the frontier, far and wide. I know quilters today, but they're for show--and many of these women do enter them in contests to be judged.
My mother was a quilter, and I and my two sisters still have one or two. Something happened to others long ago, and right now I can only find one in my house. I gave two older one to our son when he went off to college, and someone in the building stole them. I hope that appreciated them.

My favorite book is titled Texas Tears and Texas Sunshine--Voices of Frontier Women, names of two quilt patterns, and the authors of this compilation of written accounts by frontier Texas women added two more--Log Cabin and ...the name escapes me.
I enjoyed reading your answers!

Kaye Spencer said...

Linda and Kristy, The 'farthest away from home I've ever been' (to quote Samwise Gamgee) is when I attended my youngest son's wedding in Hawaii. So I'm just a little envious of you both in your out-of-the-USA travels. ;-)

Linda, I have many hand-me-down family items that have huge sentimental value, so I got a little teary as I read your snippet about James Monroe wanting to hang onto the old quilt.

Linda Hubalek said...

Kristy, I dived in several places, including Hawaii, about 20 years ago. It's beautiful below the ocean's water, but scary. I'll take land travel any day.
Kaye, I have over a dozen quilts made from ancestors so their backgrounds (people and quilts) have inspired six books so far.

Linda Hubalek said...

Thanks to everyone who had made comments so far. I'll be choosing a winner for my ebook giveaway on Friday morning, so please pass the word around about this blog post and contest. Thanks!

Kirsten Lynn said...


Great interview and interesting answers. I've never been scuba diving (I'm more of a mountains kind of gal) but I always thought it would be fascinating.

Best of luck in the new genre!


Tanya Hanson said...

Wonderful to meet you, Linda. How terrific that your family lore inspires so much of your creativity. I am so impressed at the scuba diving. I thought I was such a big girl by learning to snorkel LOL. And taxidermy, Yowzers. I so enjoyed the excerpt,. Good wishes to you always.

Linda Hubalek said...

Hi Kirsten Arnold, You're the winner of an ebook from me! Please email me at and I'll send a link to your email address. Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog post.