Linda Weaver Clarke travels throughout the United States, teaching a “Family Legacy Workshop,” encouraging people to write their family history and autobiography. She is the author of eight novels: the historical romance series, “A Family Saga in Bear Lake, Idaho,” which includes: Melinda and the Wild West - a semi-finalist for the “Reviewers Choice Award,” Edith and the Mysterious Stranger, Jenny’s Dream, David and the Bear Lake Monster, and Elena, Woman of Courage. She is also the author of a new mystery series called “The Adventures of John and Julia Evans.”
My Website: http://www.lindaweaverclarke.com
My Blog: http://lindaweaverclarke.blogspot.com
Family Saga Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Family.Saga.Bear.Lake
I became a writer later in my life. It all started when I began writing my own ancestor’s stories. After that, I couldn’t stop writing, so I turned to historical fiction. After becoming published, I decided to lecture on the subject. I teach people how to write their family history or their own autobiography. It’s important to teach our children their heritage. Our children need to be proud of their ancestors.
Very true. I still have it on my "To Do" list to find our more about my own ancestors and complete a family tree. What was the inspiration for your latest work of fiction?
Elena, Woman of Courage was my last book in this series: A Family Saga in Bear Lake, Idaho. My inspiration was the “Roaring Twenties.” This was a new decade of independent women, when they raised their hemlines, wore long beads down to the waist, and bobbed their hair. This new hairstyle brought about a lot of commotion. If a woman bobbed her hair, she was fired from her job. A teacher in Jersey City was ordered to grow her hair back by the school board or she would be fired. In a 1925 newspaper, a preacher warned his congregation that a “bobbed woman was a disgraced woman.” In fact, men actually divorced their wives over the new hairstyle.
As I wrote my last historical romance, I decided to check out the language spoken during that period. I was amazed. This was a new generation where they spoke a language their parents didn’t understand. They used words like: Cat’s pajamas! Ah, horsefeathers! Baloney! Hotsy-totsy! If you were “all wet,” you were mistaken; and if you were a “sap,” you were a fool. When referring to a woman, they used doll, tomato, and bearcat. A woman’s legs were “gams” and her lovely shape was referred to as a “chassis.” If you were in love, you had a “crush,” were “goofy,” or “moonstruck.” And when a woman was not in the mood for kissing, she would say, “The bank’s closed.” Many parents were in the dark, wondering what their children were talking about. Thus, my new historical romance novel was born: Elena, Woman of Courage!
You really have to watch this video below and you’ll see what I mean about this being a new era.
I tend to base my characters after real people. For example: My great grandmother, Sarah, lost her hearing when she was very sick. Even though she was deaf, she was known as one of the most graceful dancers in town. She was a beautiful woman with black hair, blue eyes, and was 5’ 5” tall. Nothing held her back. She was a spunky woman. One day she had a feeling that an intruder was in her home so she grabbed her broom and searched the house. She found him under her bed. With all the power and strength she had, she swatted him out of the house and down the street, pummeling him as she went. My great grandmother was an inspiration to me, so I patterned my character after her and gave her experiences to my character in David and the Bear Lake Monster. I even named her Sarah, after my great grandmother.
That's great to have such inspiration for your novels. What was the most interesting research you had to do for any of your books?
I put a great deal of research into my novels. The subplot of Jenny’s Dream is about Old Ephraim, the ten-foot grizzly bear. The research about this old grizzly was exciting to me because I grew up with the stories of Old Ephraim. He wreaked havoc wherever he went, slaughtering sheep and scaring sheepherders so badly that they actually quit their jobs. With one blow of his paw, he could break the back of a cow. I found that he was the smartest bear that ever roamed the Rocky Mountains. No one could catch him. Every bear trap they set was tossed many yards away from where they had put it, and the ones that weren’t tripped had Old Three Toes tracks all around it. He was too smart to be caught. It took one man to outsmart this bear: Frank Clark from Malad, Idaho! In this story, I included every detail about this bear and his deeds. Since my story is historical fiction and my hero is Gilbert Roberts, I renamed this grizzly “Old Half Paw,” in honor of “Old Three Toes.” To read excerpts from my books, visit www.lindaweaverclarke.com.
I'll be sure to check out the excerpts to your books, too. Where do you go to do your research?
I read books and do research on the Internet. David and the Bear Lake Monster was fun to research. I found two books called: Folklore in the Bear Lake Valley and Land of the Sky-Blue Water: A History of the L.D.S. Settlement of the Bear Lake Valley. Even though I lived just over the mountain from Bear Lake, I found so much information about this monster. One person described it as being 90-feet long. His eyes were flaming red and his ears stuck out from the sides of his skinny head. Its body was long, resembling a gigantic alligator and it could swim faster than a galloping horse. It had small legs and a huge mouth, big enough to eat a man. I was enamored with the subject. I even got an email from a woman who said that her grandfather had seen the monster and described it to her. Many people still believe in the Bear Lake Monster today. Scotland has the Lock Ness Monster and Bear Lake Valley has theirs.
Amazing. I also enjoy utilizing the Internet for research...very convenient. Are you currently working on any new book projects?
Yes, I’m working on a new mystery series called The Adventures of John and Julia Evans. I patterned the characters after a television show I absolutely loved years ago called Hart to Hart. They were a married couple that investigated and solved crimes. You laughed at the humor and sighed at the romance. I loved that show.
Oh, I loved watching that show. One of my all-time favs! How have your friends and family received your career as an author? Are they supportive?
My husband is so supportive. If I can’t figure out a problem in my story, I ask him and he invariably comes up with an answer. For example: In my novel, Melinda and the Wild West, I wanted the story to surround an experience I had as a substitute teacher in which an eight-year-old student had been labeled as a troublemaker by her teacher. The students had listened to the teacher and steered away from her, not wanting to be her friend. This not only made her feel degraded, but she wanted to fight back and she did. She stopped doing schoolwork, refused to be part of the class, and got into a few fights. She seemed angry at the world but after working with her for a while, I soon learned what a sweet and wonderful child she was. She had characteristics that I was impressed with. When she realized that I really cared, she was willing to do her work, just to please me. I’ll never know how this young girl’s life turned out, but in my novel I chose a happily-ever-after ending, just because a new teacher cared and made a difference in the girl’s life.
Now you are probably asking, what was your problem? I wanted this to be a love story. I couldn’t figure out how to tie the problem child and the love story together. I think it was because I was so centered on the teacher/child relationship. I kept thinking, “Okay, she’ll meet a good-looker who is a rancher. But how will they meet? Who is he? What is the connection between the two plots?” Well, my husband simply said, “Why not let the young girl be the child of a widower?” Why didn’t I come up with this idea? It was so simple. After my husband’s idea, the story began flowing out of my brain onto my computer. My husband helps me quite a bit in each of my stories.
That's great to have his support and that he's in your corner. Support for a writer is so vital and when you find it, it's awesome.
MELINDA AND THE WILD WEST: A Family Saga in Bear Lake, Idaho
Awards: Semi-finalist for “Reviewers Choice Award 2007”
In 1896 Melinda Gamble—a very elegant, naïve young woman from Boston—decides to give up her life of monotonous comfort for the turbulent uncertainty of the still untamed Wild West. Driven by her intense desire to make a difference in the world, Melinda takes a job as a schoolteacher in the small town of Paris, Idaho, where she comes face-to-face with a notorious bank robber, a vicious grizzly bear, and a terrible blizzard that leaves her clinging to her life. But it’s a rugged rancher who challenges Melinda with the one thing for which she was least prepared—love.
A Family Saga at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=A+family+saga+in+bear+lake%2C+idaho&x=0&y=0
Publisher Direct Bookstore: http://www.pdbookstore.com/comfiles/pages/LindaWeaverClarke.shtml
Linda, I am so glad that you stopped by today to be interviewed. I really enjoyed chatting with.
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