After my family began to leave the nest, I decided it was time to finish what I had started long ago. I decided to go back to college and get a degree. It had been 30 years since I had been to college and it was one of the most frightening things I had ever done. I had to learn how to study and take tests all over again. The first day of college, I was a nervous wreck and wondered if I could do this, but with the support of my husband and children I was able to graduate. I received my Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theatre and Music at Southern Utah University and received the Outstanding Non-Traditional Student Award for the College of Performing Arts in 2002. During the meantime, I cut a CD named "Romantic Love Songs of Sigmund Romberg and Victor Herbert."
I have enjoyed writing short stories and novels for several years but it took a lot of courage to begin submitting them. After "Melinda and the Wild West" was published, I entered it in the Reader Views Literary Contest and my book was chosen as a Semi-Finalist in the "Reviewers Choice Awards 2007." It was one of the top ten out of hundreds of other entries. I have written eleven books; five are historical sweet romances and four are mystery adventures. I also have two non-fiction e-books.
I tour all over the United States, teaching people the importance of writing their Family Legacy, encouraging them to turn their family history and autobiography into a variety of interesting stories.
A Conversation with Linda Weaver Clarke
It’s exciting to talk about my five sweet romances. I have changed publishers, secured the rights to each of my books, had new book covers designed, and re-edited them. This was a fun process because I was able to put more focus on the romances than I had before. In the last four books, I felt that I strayed a little from the romances so I could add some historical facts. I changed all that and softened it a bit. After I was done, I fell in love with the characters all over again. With my new publisher, we even lowered the prices to half of what they used to be. This 2nd edition is so exciting to me.
You are the author of a historical sweet romance series called “A Family Saga in Bear Lake Idaho.” What was the inspiration behind the first novel?
Why was this subject important to me? Because something similar happened to one of my own daughters when she was little and it was so difficult to see my child receive an unjust label from a teacher.
This novel has “sweet” romance and adventure. What kind of adventure? When Melinda takes a job as a schoolteacher in the small town of Paris, Idaho, 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.
After writing my ancestors’ and parents’ stories, I felt so close to them and wanted to add their experiences to my “sweet” romance series. In Melinda and the Wild West, I added one of my father’s experiences as a boy. When he was thirteen, he was asked to bury the skunks that his father had shot. But before he buried them, he drained the scent glands of each skunk until he had a jar full of “skunk oil.” Then he took it to school with him to show his classmates. He was so excited as he explained how he had done it. But in all the excitement, the bottle slipped from his hands and landed on the schoolroom floor and splattered everywhere. The stench was so terrible that everyone held their noses and ran outside as fast as their legs could go. The teacher excused school for the rest of the day and my dad was considered a “hero” by his classmates because he had closed down the school.
What kind of research do you do for one of your novels?
I put a great deal of research into my novels. The subplot of Jenny’s Dream, the 3rd book in this series, is about Old Ephraim, the ten-foot grizzly bear. The research about this old grizzly was exciting to me because Old Ephraim was from southern Idaho, where I was raised. He wreaked havoc wherever he went, killing sheep and scaring sheepherders so badly that they actually quit their jobs. He was so powerful that with one blow of his paw, he could break the back of a cow. I found out he was the smartest bear that ever roamed the Rocky Mountains. No one could catch him. Every bear trap Frank Clark set was tossed many yards away from where he had put it, and the ones that weren’t tripped had his tracks all around it. How did he know? Because Old Ephraim only had three toes. So they called him Old Three Toes. He was too smart to be caught so Frank Clark had to outsmart him. In this story, I included every detail about this bear and his deeds.
What was the inspiration behind the last four novels in this series?
Edith and the Mysterious Stranger was inspired by my parents’ courtship. They didn’t meet the traditional way. They met through letters. Their story was so romantic that I patterned this book after their courtship and used my father’s sweet, romantic letters. Can people really fall in love through letters? Absolutely! With mysterious letters, cattle rustlers, a spunky woman, Halloween, and young love, there is always something happening.
Jenny’s Dream was inspired because of some unpleasant childhood experiences that I experienced as a young girl and now Jenny must learn forgiveness before she can choose which dream to follow. Meanwhile, a legendary ten-foot grizzly is seen in the area and its boldness has frightened the community.
Sarah’s Special Gift was inspired because of my great grandmother who was deaf. I wanted to learn more about her life and how she coped with her disability. I learned so much about her and how courageous she was, so I decided to give her experiences to my character, Sarah. This story has deep-rooted legends, a few mysterious events, the mystery of the Bear Lake Monster, and a tender love story!
Elena, Woman of Courage is my last book in this series. My inspiration was the “Roaring Twenties.” This was a new decade of independent women, when they raised their hemlines and bobbed their hair. I found that if a woman bobbed her hair, she was fired from her job. A new language grew from this time period. They used words like: Cat’s pajamas! Horsefeathers! Baloney! When referring to a woman, they used doll or tomato. What was the difference? A tomato was a woman. A doll was a good-looking woman. A woman’s legs were called “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.” Thus, my new novel was born! As Elena Yeates fights to prove herself as the newest doctor in town, the town’s most eligible bachelor finds it a challenge to see if he can win her heart.
Visit Linda online at http://www.lindaweaverclarke.com to learn more about her and these books. You'll find information on how to order these and her other books. You'll also discover weekly giveaways at Linda's blog http://lindaweaverclarke.blogspot.com/