Thursday, August 27, 2009

Linda Weaver Clarke Interview

I hope you enjoy this interview with Linda Weaver Clarke. I didn't realize until I interviewed her, that Linda was from Idaho. As most of my friends know, I'm from Idaho as well.

Linda is not only an author, but she is also involved with the Family Legacy Workshops and tours around the country giving lectures. Her interview gives a peek into her life and novels.

Tell us a little about the Family Legacy Workshops and how you became involved.
I became interested in teaching this Family Legacy Workshop when I found out how much fun it was to write my ancestors stories. Their experiences were intriguing to me. I teach people how to take their family history or their own autobiography and turn it into interesting stories. It’s important to teach our children their heritage. Each of us has a story from our ancestors to tell. If these stories are unwritten, then they’ll be lost forever. To read samples of my ancestor’s stories, you can visit my website at http://www.lindaweaverclarke.com/. I was once asked to teach a bunch of troubled teenagers. At first I was nervous, wondering if they would appreciate what I was going to teach them. After they piled into class, it was as noisy as any teenage class could be. Then the teacher stood and introduced me. When I walked to the front of the class, the room became instantly quiet as they all watched and listened to what I had to say. I was so impressed with their attitude about learning and how well they listened. Afterward, one teenager came up to me and gave me a hug that made the whole thing worthwhile. I’ll never forget what an awesome experience I had that day and the love I felt for each of those students.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always loved writing but never expected to be an author. In my wildest dreams, I wouldn’t have guessed that I would be having these experiences in my later life, after raising my children. This was a new experience to me and I even surprised myself.

Tell us about your books.
“A Family Saga in Bear Lake, Idaho” is a five-book series but they can be read separately. Each book has its own plot. “David and the Bear Lake Monster” is the fourth in this series. I love inserting real experiences into my novels. It brings a story to life. To me, the experiences of my family and ancestors have always intrigued me.

My great grandmother, Sarah Eckersley Robinson, was my inspiration for this book. I wanted to use her experiences for my heroine to bring some reality into my story. As a child, she lost her hearing but she never let her deafness stop her from living life to its fullness. I took a lot of her experiences from her biography and gave them to my heroine to bring some reality into my story. Sarah was known as one of the most graceful dancers in town. 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 while swimming, that people actually threw coins in the water so they could watch her dive after them. Once an intruder 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. What a courageous woman! Because of my admiration for my great grandmother, I named my character “Sarah.”

Now you may wonder about the Bear Lake Monster and how it fits into my story. Is it fiction or non-fiction? Well, my book is considered historical fiction so I decided to add some parts of history that may sound incredible to you but actually happened.

The mystery of the Bear Lake Monster has been an exciting part of Idaho history ever since the early pioneers arrived in 1863. The legend of the Bear Lake Monster made life a little more exciting for the pioneers. Some people claimed to have seen it and gave descriptions of it. The monster’s eyes were flaming red and its ears stuck out from the sides of its skinny head. Its body was long, resembling a gigantic alligator, and it could swim faster than a galloping horse. Of course, it only came out in the evening or at dusk.

Throughout the years, no one has ever disproved the Bear Lake Monster. A bunch of scientists tried to discredit the monster and said it was a huge codfish that was shipped in from the East but could not prove this theory. Does the Bear Lake Monster exist? Whatever conclusion is drawn, the legend still lives on and brings a great deal of mystery and excitement to the community.

What is my book about? It’s about 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?


What inspires you and motivates you to write the very most?
Whenever I see a story unfold in my mind, then it’s hard to keep me away from my computer. I long to make those characters come to life. After developing my characters, I can’t wait to see what happens next. I use an outline, of course, but sometimes my characters do things I didn’t expect and I’m amazed.

Is there an established writer you admire and emulate in your writing? Do you have a writing mentor?
There are several writers that I admire who write historical fiction but I usually try to develop my own techniques, although we can always learn from others.

Location and life experience can sprinkle their influence in your writing. Tell us about where you grew up and a little about where you live now - city? Suburb? Country? Farm? If you could live anywhere you want to live, where would that be? I grew up among the rolling hills of southern Idaho. I was a country girl, raised on a farm. I was free and unfettered, and felt there was no better place to live than on a farm. Oh, yes! Life experiences do influence our writing. In fact, “Jenny’s Dream” was inspired by events that happened to me in my youth. I now live in a small town in southern Utah among colorful red mountains and red soil. It was a complete change to leave my green landscape and move to the desert, but I do love it. If I had to choose another place to live, I don’t know where that would be. I would probably end up back on the farm again.

Bring us into your home and set the scene for us when you are writing. What does it look like? On the couch, laptop, desk? Music? Lighting, handwriting? I have a small desk with a laptop. It’s easier to tote around than a regular computer. I have a picture window in my room that brings in plenty of light. Sometimes I’ll go outside and sit on our swing and bring my laptop with me or take a paper and pencil to write. It’s easier to concentrate if I don’t have music and the sounds of nature don’t seem to distract me too much.

Do you watch television or movies? If so, what are your favorites? Do they inspire your writing? Usually movies won’t inspire my writing but I absolutely love musicals. They’re fun to watch and listen to.

How has being published changed your life?
Wow! That’s a powerful question. It’s changed my life immensely. I now go on Book Tours, teach workshops at libraries throughout the U.S., and I’m being interviewed by radio and TV stations. That’s a real change, if you ask me.

Do you have any book signings, tours or special events planned to promote your book that readers might be interested in attending? If so, when and where? Also tell about your blog and website.
You can go to my website and click on “Upcoming Events.” That tells where I’ll be next. My blog is http://lindaweaverclarke.blogspot.com/. You can also read an excerpt from each of my books at http://www.lindaweaverclarke.com/samplechapters.html.

5 comments:

  1. I love stories about the Bear Lake monster! What a great interview.

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  2. I'm glad you liked it. I'd never heard of the Bear Lake monster until I spoke with Linda.

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  3. I love to read blog posts interviewing authors. And this is a great one!

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  4. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Stop by any time. :)

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  5. Thanks for this fun interview, Kathi. Hey, you're from Idaho? And you haven't heard about the Bear Lake Monster? Just travel on down to the southeastern part of Idaho and you'll be able to check it out. Thanks, Kathi.

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