Gail's Book Nook

Monday, March 4, 2013

Looking Out the Window: Linda Weaver Clarke Tells Us about Her Historical Sweet Romance Series

Welcome Linda and congratulations on your historical sweet romance books!

First, tell us a little about yourself.
I fly all over the U.S., teaching people how to write their family history or their own autobiography. It all started when I began writing my own ancestor’s stories. I believe it’s very important to teach our children their heritage. We are the people we are because of our ancestors. It’s up to us to write these experiences down. Our children need to be proud of their ancestors. After writing my own ancestors’ stories, I couldn’t stop writing, so I turned to historical “sweet” romance and then mystery/adventure novels. To learn more about what I teach and read sample stories of my ancestors, you can visit my website at

Tell us about the first book in your historical sweet romance series.
This novel has “sweet” romance and adventure. In Melinda and the Wild West, Melinda Gamble wants to make a difference in the world. Without hesitation, she accepts a job as a schoolteacher in the small town of Paris, Idaho. She has many challenges such as trying to help a rebellious student, coming face-to-face with a notorious bank robber, a vicious grizzly bear, and finding herself in 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.

What inspired you to write this particular book?
In Melinda and the Wild West, I included one of my own experiences as a substitute teacher. 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. In fact, her mother was impressed that her daughter wanted to please me so much. 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 Melinda cared and made a difference in the girl’s life. 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.

Where do you get ideas for your books?
Edith and the Mysterious Stranger, the 2nd in this series, 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, the 3rd in this series, 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, the 4th in this series, 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, the 5th in this series, 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.

Does your faith affect your writing? How?
You bet. I’m a Christian, so my characters are church-going people. You can’t separate your own beliefs from your passion, which is writing.

What is the coolest, wackiest, most risk-taking thing you’ve ever done?
The coolest and wackiest thing I’ve ever done was to raise six daughters. Now I don’t know if it was a “risk-taking” adventure, but I can assure you that daughters aren’t as easy to raise as sons… with all their mood swings and little temperamental disagreements with one another, borrowing clothes without permission, etc, etc. Thanksgiving is a blast. You’ve never heard more noise all at once as when you have heard a bunch of girls get together. Man! It was really the coolest but wackiest thing I’ve ever done. They’re grown and on their own now. The youngest is 24 and the oldest is 39. Whew!

Linda Weaver Clarke travels throughout the United States, teaching and encouraging people to write their family history and autobiography. She is the author of the historical sweet romance series A Family Saga in Bear Lake, Idaho: Melinda and the Wild West - an awarding winning novel, Edith and the Mysterious Stranger, Jenny's Dream, Sarah's Special Gift, and Elena, Woman of Courage. The Adventures of John and Julia Evans mystery series includes Anasazi Intrigue, Mayan Intrigue, Montezuma Intrigue, and Desert Intrigue. She has also written two non-fiction e-books: Reflections of the Heart and Writing Your Family Legacy.
Learn More about Linda


Miss Mae said...

This was delightful to read, Linda and Gail. What a story about the little 8 year old girl and of how she was mislabeled a trouble maker. I do hope she turned out, as you wrote in your book, with a HEA. :)

And all your books chronicling your family's background is something to treasure. How in the world did you find all the information? I LOVE it that you wrote of your father's letters to your mother. Were they so mushy that you felt uncomfortable to read of such things between old "Mom and Dad"? :)

Your covers are lovely and so appealing. And again, to write of the roaring 20's...well, some of the language I've heard, but "the bank's closed" is a new one for me! :)

Finbar said...

Another in a long line of interesting guests on this blog. Writing a series of books is always a challenge for anyone and this series appears to be very successful. Congratulations. And somewhere there is a woman who is forever happy that some teacher long ago cared about her when she needed it.

Linda Weaver Clarke said...

Thanks, for your comment, Miss Mae. I was lucky, no...I was blessed, to have my mother's and father's family stories written down. My aunt wrote about my grandmother, my grandmother wrote about her mother and father, and they wrote about their parents. It was awesome to read what they had to go through in life way back then. I loved reading it.

About my parents' letters...oh, wow! They were so romantic that I felt as if I were reading a "sweet" romance novel. When I was all done, I wished I could have talked to my mother and asked her how each of the letters made her feel. Because, personally, I felt as if I were floating on a cloud as I read each romantic word he wrote to her. Sigh! I got to know my parents on a completely new level and loved it.

Anne Patrick said...

Fabulous post! All your books sound wonderful and interesting, Linda. I wish you much success with them!

Anne Patrick said...

Gail, sorry it's been so long since I dropped by. You have such interesting posts and introduce your readers to so many great authors. Keep up the great job!


Cindy A Christiansen said...

Just have to say, Linda: Your life, your books and your book covers are fascinating! Great blog!

Brenda Rumsey said...

I also enjoy doing research on my families history. I even have a letter that my great grandmother wrote about her life as a German living in Russia and their families trip to America. It really brings history to life.
Congrats on your books. I hope to read them soon.

Laurean Brooks said...


I've asked the same thing. How will anyone know us a 100 years from now if we don't leave journals, letters, or stories about our lives? I'd love to know my great grandparents better, and I'd like my granddaughter to know who her Gramma really was.

I have read Melinda And The Wild West. It's a delightful book full of surprises and interesting characters. I enjoyed it! A wonderful read.

I love the new cover, too.

Interesting interview. Gail, thank you for hosting Linda.

Cheryl said...

Great interview, Linda. I can't wait to catch up on all the books in this series.

Gina said...

Wonderful post! Linda, your insights are keen and heartfelt. Amazing - just like your books! Best wishes always :-)

chirth7 said...

Hi Linda! I enjoyed your interview and I loved your historical sweet romance series a lot! I hope more people will read them too. I love the new cover's so much and the prices are great now too.

Congrats on all you do! You have a wonderful family and your so blessed by God. I've always wanted two girls close in age. I couldn't imagine six but I would think the more the merrier. :) Holidays must be wonderful!

Hugs, Christine