Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Author Interview with LINDA WEAVER CLARKE

Linda is a writer who tours the United States, teaching people the importance of Family Legacy, encouraging others to turn their family history and autobiography into a variety of interesting stories. She has written 5 books in the series, A Family Saga in Bear Lake Valley."
Tell us about your grandmother – your inspiration.

Yes, Sarah Eckersley Robinson was my inspiration for this new novel, David and the Bear Lake Monster. After writing her biography, I felt so close to her that I decided to borrow her experiences and give them to my fictional character. Since my stories are historical fiction, I thought it would be fitting. I also named my character Sarah, after my great grandmother. What made her so interesting and different from other women? Sarah had a disability that made her a strong and courageous woman. She became deaf at the age of one but she never let her deafness stop her from developing her talents.

Sarah was known as one of the most graceful dancers in town. She never sat on the sidelines at dances because of her natural ability. She was known for gliding across the floor with ease, with just a touch of her partner’s hand. Sarah had such agility and gracefulness, not only on the dance floor, but also while swimming and diving. People would actually throw coins in the water so they could watch her dive after them. They would applaud, letting her know how much they enjoyed watching her, and then throw another coin in the water.

An intruder actually hid in her bedroom under her bed, thinking he could take advantage of her since she was deaf. He must have thought she was an easy victim but was sadly mistaken. She swatted him out from under her bed with a broom, and all the way out of the house, and down the street for a couple blocks, whacking him as she ran. She was a beautiful and spunky woman!

In my research about the “hearing impaired,” and talking to a dear friend who became deaf in her youth, I became educated about the struggles they have to bear. It was a surprise to find out that some struggle with self-esteem and the fear of darkness. I didn’t realize that concentrating on reading lips for long periods of time could be such a strain, resulting in a splitting headache. After all my research, I found that I had even more respect for my great grandmother and her disability. What a courageous woman!

You wrote short stories and novels for years before submitting them for publication. What held you back from submitting and what motivated the change?

I didn't submit my short stories because they were the stories of my ancestors. Their stories were powerful but yet very personal. After writing their biographies, I couldn't stop writing so I turned to historical fiction. After writing six novels, I finally got the courage to send them in. What stopped me from doing it sooner was self confidence. I didn't know if my novels were good enough to be published. Then it dawned on me. These stories were good and I needed to believe in myself. I took a deep breath and then took a step forward. I was going to do it and I would not let rejections get me down. After about a year, I found a publisher who was interested in my work and I signed a contract for my first book and all the books following. I thought that a year was a long time but found out that Dr. Seuss was refused over and over again. Louis LaMour, a great legend in his own right, was rejected again and again. So I felt real lucky that someone believed in me.

What is your favorite thing to read? Do you think your partiality to this type of material affects what you like to write – and why/why not?

I love to read stories that have adventure, American history, and some romance intermingled. I love historical fiction. Yes, it really affects what I write.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer?

The biggest challenge is promoting my books. I didn't realize how much an author has to do to get his or her books recognized. I thought the publisher would do all that but found out differently. My publisher told me that I needed to get out in the public's eye and give talks, to let people know who I am. So I decided to teach people how to write their family stories. It was what got me started writing in the first place, so what better thing to do than help others to get started, also. I fly all over the U.S. teaching at libraries. Each library sponsors my Family Legacy Workshop and it's free to the public.

What is the title of your most recently published book? Briefly tell us what it’s about and let us know where we can buy it.

David and the Bear Lake Monster: A Family Saga in Bear Lake, Idaho is my fourth book in the series. Although a person doesn't have to read the first three to understand what is happening because each book has it's own plot and story line. Here's the synopsis:

Deep-rooted legends, long family traditions, and a few mysterious events! David quickly becomes one with the town and its folk and wonders why they believe in this Bear Lake Monster. It just has to be a myth. While visiting the Roberts family, he finds himself entranced with one very special lady and ends up defending her honor several times. Sarah isn’t like the average woman. This beautiful and dainty lady has a disability that no one seems to notice. He finds out that Sarah has gone through more trials than the average person. She teaches him the importance of not dwelling on the past and how to love life. After a few teases, tricks, and mischievous deeds, David begins to overcome his troubles, but will it be too late? Will he lose the one woman he adores? And how about the Bear Lake Monster? Does it really exist?

You may read an excerpt from each of my books on my website. My books are available on Amazon, book stores who order from Baker and Taylor, or from my website at

What are you working on now and when/where do you expect it to be available?

I just finished Elena, Woman of Courage: A Family Saga in Bear Lake, Idaho. It's the fifth and last book in the series. It should be available soon. While researching this last book, I absolutely fell in love with the 1920s language. This new generation spoke a language that their parents didn’t understand. They said words like: Cat’s pajamas! Ah, horsefeathers! Attaboy! Baloney! You slay me! When referring to a woman, they used doll, tomato, and bearcat. When a person was in love, they were goofy. If a person was a fool, they were a sap. And when a woman wasn’t in the mood for romance, she would say, “The bank’s closed.” I used this new language in my book and had so much fun with it.

Here's the synopsis of the book: When Elena settles into a strict conservative town as the newest doctor, a slew of problems begin to arise. The town is not ready for a female doctor, let alone one so strong and independent. Elena Yeates, the town’s newest doctor, must struggle to prove herself in this western town, while keeping her composure, poise, and femininity. As she fights to prove herself, the town’s most eligible bachelor finds it a challenge to see if he can win her heart. With the 1920’s rise of women’s rights, this novel gives you great insight at the struggles women had to go through, all the while watching a young love blossom!

Writers, especially new writers, are always looking for tips and helpful information. What is the single most important “tip” you can give to a new writer?

Emotion is the secret of holding a reader, the difference between a slow or dynamic recounting of a story. When you feel the emotion inside, so will your readers. By giving descriptions of emotion, it helps the reader feel part of the story as if he were actually there himself. Emotions of a character can help us feel satisfied because we can feel what the character feels.

When emotion and feelings are left out of a story, we can feel let down. Emotion is part of our lives, so why ignore such an important element in a story? But remember: Show, don’t tell.

Whether writing your family history or a fictional novel, emotions bring a story to life. When you describe the effects of intense emotion, it helps the reader feel as if he were a part of the story, as if he were actually there himself. It can be difficult, however, for an author to know exactly how the character felt unless he or she had been in a similar situation, and that’s where research comes in. After researching stories about people who have been faced with a similar situation, the author can describe the emotions and feelings of a character easier and thereby make the reader feel as if he were experiencing the event himself. Remember, emotions are part of life and can be an essential part of your story.

What writers organizations claim you as a member? How has membership helped you develop as a writer – or not?

Would you believe that I'm too busy to be active in a writers group? I would recommend it for beginners, though, but my schedule is so tight. I didn't realize that being an author would keep me so busy. I actually thought I could sit at my desk and begin a new story while my publisher did all the work. Not so! You can check my schedule on my website and click on Upcoming Events and see what I mean.

Do you have any upcoming book signings or appearances? If so, give us all the details.

I'll be in northern California for a week in October.

Here’s your opportunity to tell us anything else you care to share.

To those who are interested in writing their own “Family Legacy,” I wouldn’t put it off. The importance of family history can never be over emphasized. I believe we are the people we are because of our ancestors. Who are they and what were their traditions? Did they fight for a cause and what was it about? Each of us has a story from our ancestors or even our very own story to tell. If these stories are unwritten, then how are our children going to know of their parentage? It’s up to us to write these experiences down. We must record and share these stories with our children.

There are just a few things to remember. First, collect your thoughts; write down any experiences that you remember. Then talk to family members and discuss memories. You can make several short stories, making the history into segments. Or you can write the whole history as a continuous flow. Your children will want to know their heritage, what their ancestors stood for. Make your Family Legacy something your children will remember, something they will be proud of. You may read some of my short stories on my website to give you an idea of what you can do with your family stories.

What are the addresses of your website(s) and blog(s):
My website:
My Blog:

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