Adelina Hollands who writes under the pen name, “Ade H,” loves Halloween, in fact, it’s her favorite holiday.
So much so, the lifelong San Fernando resident made it the subject of her first book, “A Halloween Mystery” — a charming children’s mystery book, beautifully illustrated by Edgar Larrazabal. It’s designed to work the imagination to figure out and answer the question: why are thirteen witches hanging upside down from a tree?
Ade’s desire to write children’s books, and her accomplishment to write her first book at age 75. is a testimony to her attitude about life.
“Why not?” she asks. “You never want to look back and say, ‘I could have done this or that,’ you want to be able to say, that I’m going for it.”
When asked why she considers Halloween her favorite holiday, the newly published author is quick to respond “it’s the simple pleasures” that matter most.
“Halloween is always a very happy event. I never view it as scary. in fact I think it’s the opposite,” Ade said. “I enjoy seeing the children, and now even adults, who dress up in costumes, and to see them so excited on Halloween makes me laugh and gives me a lot of joy.
“Sometimes they look so cute and they don’t realize that their masks or headgear gets crooked and turned to one side. It can be hilarious, and it doesn’t matter because they look so happy. I never see an angry person on Halloween.”
She acknowledges that most people might say Christmas is their favorite holiday, but said she finds that Halloween is a day when kids can really just have fun.
“These days, Christmas has become about [electronic devices] and big expensive gifts and more and more kids are asking for those $500 items. We have lost the simple pleasure of just having fun,” Ade said.
The inspiration fueling her desire to write children’s literature has come from raising her own six children, and seeing that the smallest expressions of kindness can go a long way.
“My husband died unexpectedly and I had never worked. I found myself a widow raising six children alone,” she said.
Her first job was at what was then called San Fernando Hardware years ago. “I would work until it was time for them to come home from school ,and I would rush back to prepare dinner and help them with their homework,” Ade recalled.
“My sister lived next door and she also needed to work the graveyard shift, so I would have her kids, too. In the morning I would make breakfast for all of them and get them all ready for school before I headed out to work myself.”
Ade still lives in the same neat-as-a-pin modest apartment where the washing machine is going and a pot of food on the stove. It’s the same spot where her children’s friends found that they could also get a warm breakfast.
“Some of my children’s friends living on La Rue Street would come by before school and my kids would tell me, ‘Mom, they haven’t had breakfast either.’ So I would tell them, ‘Get in line!’ Looking back, I don’t know how I did it because I really didn’t have much money myself. It wasn’t easy.”
The job helping out in the office at the hardware store helped her to land a job with the county at Olive View Hospital’s finance department, where she eventually retired. She also took classes that helped her on the job.
She recalls running into people in the elevator at Olive View. “They’d say, ‘Are you Mrs. Hollands,’ and I’d ask, ‘Do I know you?’ And they’d say, ‘Yes, you used to feed me.’”
Ade said those experiences were touching. “Here was this grown man who now had gray in his hair, and he remembered me.”
The Book Publicists of Southern California recently gave Ade the Irwin Award, an impressive accomplishment for a first published work. She is eager to produce more.
“I really love children and when I wrote my book I wanted to give laughter back to them, hoping that they will get as much laughter and pleasure that they’ve given me. I want to also give them a little challenge,” Ade said.
She said she has always loved writing and that it began with writing something for people. Instead of buying people gifts, she would write something that she thought they would enjoy.
She describes her process as having ideas that come to her. Sometimes in the middle of the night,,when she’s sleeping, she gets up and writes notes down and — similar to all writers — she has notes, drafts and rewrites her work many times over.
“I want to give credit to my daughter who helped me to find a way to get my book published,” Ade said. “My daughter had worked with an artist, whom she approached about illustrating the book. She helped me to put the pieces together and it wouldn’t have happened without her.”
Her next effort will be the beginning of a series of children’s books inspired by Native American Indians; not those living in teepees but those living in terrain that can be somewhat similar to that of the San Fernando Valley.
“I am writing about people living in the hillsides, mountains and meadows. There is a reason behind what I write and how I see life,” Ade said. “The next book will have horses as central figures and the great love between a Mare and her protection for her foal. The next book will have a white sacred eagle as the central character. The sacred white eagle is like the Lord and he tells you when he needs you.
There is a connected theme at the core of these books.
“It’s always about love,” she said.