Monday, August 30, 2010
Interview with Linda Weaver Clarke, Author of Anasazi Intrigue and Mayan Intrigue
Today I would like to welcome back to The Book Connection, author Linda Weaver Clarke. As my readers know, Linda interviews authors and runs giveaways at her blog. Now it’s her turn to be interviewed. While I am familiar with her A Family Saga in Bear Lake, Idaho series, I don’t know a lot about her new series, which includes the books, Anasazi Intrigue and Mayan Intrigue. I’m sitting down with Linda today to talk about this new mystery series and discuss how writing in two genres can be both similar and different.
Welcome back to The Book Connection, Linda. It’s been a while. Why don’t you give my readers a brief refresher course on who is Linda Weaver Clarke?
LWC: I was raised on a farm surrounded by the rolling hills of southern Idaho and made my home in southern Utah among the beautiful red mountains and desert heat. I am happily married and the mother of six daughters and have five grandchildren. I also travel throughout the United States, teaching a “Family Legacy Workshop,” encouraging people to write their family history and autobiography.
I loved the first book in your A Family Saga in Bear Lake, Idaho series, Melinda and the Wild West. What made you decide to sit down and write these books?
LWC: I was so inspired after reading my own ancestors’ stories that I wanted to create fictional characters and give them similar experiences from my ancestors. There are five books in this series. It was so much fun. For example, my great grandmother, Sarah, lost her hearing at the age of one 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 an independent and spunky woman. One day, she felt 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 gave her experiences to my character in David and the Bear Lake Monster. I even named her Sarah, after my great grandmother.
Now, you’re known as a lover of genealogy and for incorporating your family’s past and experiences into your novels. Did this happen with your new series as well?
LWC: I couldn’t help but add true experiences from my own life with my husband and children. In fact, I patterned the three teenagers in this series after my last three daughters. They laughed when I told them what I did. Of course, I tell my readers in the Author’s Notes what is actually true. My readers seem to like that bit of info.
Let’s talk more about The Adventures of John and Julia Evans series. You’ve got two books out now. Tell us a bit about Anasazi Intrigue and Mayan Intrigue.
LWC: In Anasazi Intrigue, it all begins with a devastating flood, which takes out several homes in a small town in southern Utah. Julia Evans, the town's newest reporter, is shocked by the news of a poison spill that kills many of the fish and neighbor's pets. Intrigued, she jumps into action and begins her investigation. Quickly though, Julia realizes the story and investigation are much bigger and more dangerous than she thought! Julia and her husband find themselves on the run trying to save their lives while finishing the story of a lifetime. She never realized that being a reporter could be so dangerous. With artifacts, dead fish, a devastating flood, and miscreants, John and Julia have their hands full. The Evans are not the ordinary couple. Together they investigate and solve crimes. You laugh at the humor and sigh at the romance. Just sprinkle in three grown daughters, and you have a fun mixture.
Mayan Intrigue is set in the jungles of the Yucatan. The Mayan ruins, looters, a mysterious artifact, and a nosey reporter are focus of this novel. The discovery of a priceless artifact puts Julia’s life in great danger! From valuable artifacts to shady businessmen, the Yucatan Peninsula becomes a dangerous vacation spot for John and Julia Evans. While on assignment for the newspaper, the Evans’ try to enjoy a romantic vacation among the Mayan ruins, but when Julia accidentally comes upon a couple suspicious men exchanging an item, she quickly turns and leaves but it is too late. The men have seen her. As a reporter, Julia does not easily give up and her curiosity gets them in a mess of trouble. Before John and Julia realize what is going on, they are both in danger and find themselves running for their lives through the jungles of the Yucatan.
Why did you decide to switch genres and what inspired you to write these particular books?
LWC: I wanted to try something different. The ancient American Indians, their way of life, and the subject of artifact theft have fascinated me for years.
Both the historical and mystery series required a great deal of research. Did you discover either genre to be easier or more difficult to fact find?
LWC: I love research and it’s never been difficult for me. In this series, I found that archaeological thievery is becoming more and more of a problem every year. Did you know that an ancient funeral pit could be sold for $60,000 on the black market? Not to mention all the pottery, baskets, and pendants found by looters. Looting is only second to selling illegal drugs. Did you know that archaeological theft has gone corporate, like any legal business? An article in the Las Vegas Newspaper was about a couple men who were loading some artifacts in the trunk of their car. A ranger saw what they were doing and questioned them. He didn’t realize he had accidentally stumbled upon the largest operation around. They recovered more than 11,100 relics. It’s a very intriguing subject and I enjoyed learning so much in my research.
While researching Mayan Intrigue, my eyes were opened to the problems they have in southern Mexico. When an ancient ruin is discovered, it doesn’t take long for thieves to take it apart. The reason why is because the Mayas used astrological alignments when planning their city. Looters have learned the layout of the Mayan cities so they know where to dig. With this knowledge, they can loot a sacred temple in a few days. While writing Mayan Intrigue, I found that artifact theft in Mexico has been taken over by drug dealers from Columbia. In other words, since organized crime has taken over, there is also an increase of violence. I ask myself, can anything be done to save Ancient American history? Yes. If no one bought the artifacts, that would put a damper on artifact theft.
Actually, since you’re dealing with ancient artifacts, you haven’t totally come away from your historical writing—only blended it with romance and suspense. How much fun did you have with that?
LWC: I found that switching from historical romance to mystery wasn’t easy. It’s a totally different mind set but I absolutely loved the challenge.
Can you tell our readers where they can find you on the web and where they’ll find your books available for purchase?
LWC: You can visit my website and read some sample chapters of each book at www.lindaweaverclarke.com. My books are available at Amazon and at Publisher Direct Bookstore on my website. The family saga books are actually discounted on Publisher Direct. Any bookstore can order them, also.
What’s up next for you?
LWC: I’m now working on Montezuma Intrigue with my editor. When a leather parchment of Montezuma’s map is found in great grandfather Evans’ old chest, April and the twins know this summer is going to be a memorable one. With Julia’s help, they convince John to go on a treasure hunt. Is Montezuma’s treasure a legend or reality? Whatever the case, John insists on keeping their little Treasure Hunt a secret. If certain people find out about it, the family could be in danger. During this little escapade, Matthew, a kindred friend to April, is trying to get the courage to tell her that he truly loves her.
Is there anything you would like to add?
LWC: Right now I’m having a book give away for Mayan Intrigue beginning August 30 to September 6 at http://lindaweaverclarke.blogspot.com. I’m celebrating the release of my new book.
Thanks for spending some time with us today, Linda. It’s always a pleasure to talk with you about your books. I wish you continued success.
Tune in tomorrow for a peek at the video trailer for Mayan Intrigue!