Looking Out The Window: Linda Weaver Clarke Talks About Her Historical Romance Series, The Bear Lake Family Saga
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Hi Linda, first, tell us a little about yourself.
I was raised among the Rocky Mountains of southern Idaho and now live in Color Country in southern Utah. I am the author of 23 books. I have several genres that I write in. I have a historical romance series: Bear Lake Family Saga, a mystery suspense series: The Adventures of John and Julia Evans, a cozy mystery series: Amelia Moore Detective Series, and a period/adventure romance: The Rebel Series. All my books are family friendly.
Tell us about your historical romance series.
Bear Lake Family Saga has strong female characters who have a destiny to fulfill. Each woman wants to make a difference in the small world where she lives. No matter the trial that comes her way, she is ready to fight for what she believes. There are five books in this series.
What inspired you to write this particular series?
My ancestors were my inspiration. I was writing their histories so my children would learn to appreciate their heritage. Their stories were intriguing and full of adventure. When I was done, I decided to write a historical romance series and give these experiences to my fictional characters. I’ll give you an example.
One experience involved my father when he was a young boy. He had collected skunk oil from the skunks on his property. One day he took the skunk oil to school to show his classmates and accidentally dropped it. The bottle broke and the skunk oil splashed all over the floor, and the room filled with the most putrid odor known to man. Everyone ran outside as fast as they could. The school was quickly abandoned for the day until it was aired out. He said the children considered him a hero for getting them out of school. In Melinda and the Wild West, I gave this experience to Billy and Melinda was his teacher.
What do you love about this series?
I love that each female character is strong and determined. We have a schoolteacher, a nurse, a journalist, a dance teacher, and a female doctor. Each has her own trials to overcome. I also love the male characters in my stories. Even though they are strong and masculine, they have their tender moments that can melt your heart.
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.
In Edith and the Mysterious Stranger, Edith is a nurse and has gone home to assist her cousin who is “with child.” Edith has wonderful qualities but never gives a man a second chance because her expectations are so high.
In Jenny’s Dream, Jenny desires to escape her small hometown and become a writer. When she develops a friendship with a young farmer, Jenny soon realizes that he means more to her than she thought. She must now choose between a career and romance. Which dream should she pursue?
In Sarah’s Special Gift, Sarah is a beautiful and successful dance teacher. She is deaf, but this does not stop her from living life to its fullest. And it does not stop her from falling in love with a man who needs her help, someone who is grieving and needs support.
In Elena Woman of Courage, Elena Yeates settles into a small western town as the newest doctor. The town is not ready for a female doctor, let alone one so strong and independent. She must struggle against this prejudice to establish her new practice.
Does your faith affect your writing? If so, how?
It most certainly does. I have a strong belief in a loving Father in Heaven and in my Savior, Jesus Christ. This faith shows in the characters of my books.
Do you put true stories from your life in these books?
Yes. Here is an example of a funny experience that happened when we took our youngest daughter fishing. This is from Melinda and the Wild West. Gilbert is a widower and his young daughter wants to go fishing with him. This is what happened with the actual conversation:
Jenny watched with interest, wondering what her father was going to do next. She saw him carefully take the hook out of the fish’s mouth and put it in a small bucket. As she watched the fish wiggle, sadness overtook her. Before long, her eyes filled up with tears. Her heart pounded loudly as big drops of tears fell down her cheeks. Jenny looked up at her father and begged, “Pa, put him back in the water.”
Gilbert was busy putting another fat worm on his hook when he heard her voice quiver. He turned to her and saw tears trickling down her cheeks. He was confused. Jenny was the one who had begged to go fishing in the first place.
“Pa, the fish is suffering. See him wiggling and trying to fight for his life. He wants to go back to his family. How would you like it if someone took me away from you? Pa, he wants to live his life and be happy. See? He’s suffering. Please let him go.”
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on having all five stories put into audiobook form from Audible. I had one narrator do Melinda and the Wild West, and another narrator, Carolyn Kashner, who is doing the next four books. Carolyn actually sings in Edith and the Mysterious Stranger, and she has such a lovely voice.
If you could interview any character in one of your books, which one would it be?
It would be Elena from Elena Woman of Courage. In 1868, Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman to graduate with a doctor’s degree and she endured a lot of prejudice. Elena had to endure this same sort of prejudice from the town bully who felt that women doctors had no right to practice medicine. But that isn’t all. Elena lived during the roaring twenties, and she decided to be a part of this new generation by bobbing her hair and raising her hemlines.
Bobbed hair caused a lot of commotion: A teacher in Jersey City was ordered to grow her hair back by the school board or she would be fired. Women with bobbed hair were fired from prestigious department stores without any warning. A preacher pounded the pulpit, saying that a “bobbed woman was a disgraced woman.” The raising of hemlines had its problems, as well.
I think it would be fun to interview Elena and find out how she endured this time period. Of course, the town’s most eligible bachelor finds it a challenge to see if he can win her heart. He actually admires her tenacity. I admire Elena, as well.
What shocking thing might your character say?
This question is fun. During the roaring twenties, they spoke a language foreign to their parents and it could be quite shocking at times.
If Elena didn’t agree with something, she could say: Ah, horsefeathers!
If John tried to kiss her, Elena could say: The bank’s closed.
If John liked what he saw as Elena walks away from him, he would say: What a chassis!
At the end of my book, I have the definition of each expression for those who couldn’t figure it out.
What are you doing when you aren’t writing?
I am a missionary at the Family Search Center. I help people find their ancestors and learn more about their heritage. It’s such fun. I really love it.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
Read samples and purchase books at my website
My audible author page