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Five Things About Alma

I saw another author doing this five things meme, so I thought I would do it for one of my favorite characters in the Order of the Air series, Alma Sullivan Gilchrist Segura.

1. Alma was born Alma Sullivan on April 26, 1890 in Leavenworth, Kansas. Her father was Sgt. Cuthbert Sullivan, a hard-riding Irish immigrant who had joined the US Cavalry. Her mother's name was Mary, but she died at Alma's birth and Alma has no memory of her. Her middle name is also Mary, but Alma was a name her mother had thought was pretty, so her father gave it to her in honor of her mother's wishes. Alma grew up in cavalry posts all over the west, more or less running wild. When her father was posted to Colorado Springs, Alma's childhood friendship with the inventor Nikola Tesla inspired in her a lifelong love of mechanics and science that seemed to have no place in the life of a frontier girl. (That friendship stood her in good stead many years later in Silver Bullet.) Her father died in 1907, when she was seventeen, leaving her alone in the world.

2. Alma is a veteran of World War I. She was a Red Cross ambulance driver on the Italian front, in the Veneto. In those days the ambulance drivers were essentially medics, the first responders in the field, often under fire. Alma's cool head, her ability to keep spooked horses under control during artillery fire, and her quick intelligence made her a standout. They also attracted the attention of Lt. Colonel Gilchrist, who married her in his hospital bed in Venice right after the Armistice. The two witnesses were Mitch Sorley, who arranged the chaplain with a great deal of sweet talk and some dubiously truthful implications, and Iskinder Yonas Negasi of Ethiopia, Jerry's best friend from Harvard who was serving with an American artillery brigade.

3. Alma is based on a number of people, including my grandmother Elma. My grandmother was ten years younger than Alma, but many of Alma's attitudes and opinions are those of my grandmother, including her Lodge membership. I own a 1920s tablecloth for seances that was used by my grandparents. Alma also borrows from various of her famous contemporaries in the air. Her belief in Free Love comes from Amelia Earhart, while the way she learns to fly and her air racing victory come from Jackie Cochran.

4. Alma is a Taurus, and magically she's earth and fire. The things we see her do in the Lodge work are absolutely in the style of the 1920s, including her signature pendulum dowsing. Alma was trained in formal work by Gil and Jerry, but they weren't her first encounter with the occult. That happened between 1907 and 1917, and how it happened hasn't yet appeared in the books.

5. In addition to being the Magister of a Lodge, a business owner, and an aviatrix, Alma is also a mother. With her second husband, Lewis Segura, she is the mother of Isadora Mary, known as Dora, who was born on June 21, 1933. (At the end of Silver Bullet.) Her late life baby was an unexpected gift following a miscarriage during her marriage to Gil. Dora is the youngest member of the cast of The Order of the Air, and will become more important as the series goes on.

If you'd like to win a free ebook copy of Lost Things and meet Alma and the rest, drop me a comment!

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
verdanthe
Sep. 24th, 2014 12:54 pm (UTC)
I would like!
please
jo_graham
Sep. 24th, 2014 02:48 pm (UTC)
Re: I would like!
I just private messaged you the code. Look in your inbox and it should be there. Please let me know if you have any trouble, and I hope you enjoy the book!
verdanthe
Sep. 24th, 2014 07:56 pm (UTC)
yay!
acquired! thanks!
jo_graham
Sep. 24th, 2014 10:51 pm (UTC)
Re: yay!
Great! I just saw this and your messages at the same time. I'm glad you figured it out, and I hope you enjoy the book! I'd love to hear what you think when you read it!
m_nivalis
Sep. 24th, 2014 01:58 pm (UTC)
Alma was trained in formal work by Gil and Jerry, but they weren't her first encounter with the occult. That happened between 1907 and 1917, and how it happened hasn't yet appeared in the books.
I'd love to hear more about this. Have you any idea in which book you'll add that flashback/story? (just so I can estimate how long I have to wait to find out)
jo_graham
Sep. 24th, 2014 02:48 pm (UTC)
I don't know where that's going to come yet. There's going to be some of her backstory in Oath Bound, but I'm not sure if that will be part of it.
valika56
Sep. 24th, 2014 07:22 pm (UTC)
Yes, please!
Just want to tell you, that ALMA means APPLE in my mother tongue.
jo_graham
Sep. 24th, 2014 10:52 pm (UTC)
Cool -- I will private message you here on lj with the download code.

Which may be where Alma's mother got it. It was a very popular name in the US at about that time.
selki
Sep. 27th, 2014 05:04 am (UTC)
many of Alma's attitudes and opinions are those of my grandmother, including her Lodge membership. I own a 1920s tablecloth for seances that was used by my grandparents.

Wow!
jo_graham
Sep. 30th, 2014 06:39 pm (UTC)
It's very nifty.

And the apple doesn't fall far from the tree!
selenak
Oct. 3rd, 2014 06:22 am (UTC)
Alma is so immensely capable. She's definitely who I'd wish to be around if ever stranded on a desert island - or in Antartica!
jo_graham
Oct. 7th, 2014 01:50 pm (UTC)
I would definitely want Alma if I were stranded anywhere. She can manage. That's her motto.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )