Linda, welcome to Reading With Monie and thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.
1. Please tell us a little about your background and your book, David and the Bear Lake Monster.
I was raised on a farm surrounded by the rolling hills of southern Idaho and have made my home in southern Utah among the beautiful red mountains. I am happily married and the mother of six daughters and several grandchildren. I travel throughout the United States, teaching a “Family Legacy Workshop” at libraries, encouraging others to turn their family history and autobiography into interesting stories.
David and the Bear Lake Monster is my fourth book in this series. It’s about deep-rooted legends, long family traditions, and a few mysterious events! While visiting the Roberts family, David 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?
Now you may wonder about the Bear Lake Monster and how it fits into my story. The legend of the Bear Lake Monster has been an exciting part of Idaho history ever since the early 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. This legend still lives on and brings a great deal of mystery and excitement to the community.
2. How did you come up with this series?
I wanted to put together a bunch of stories in the valley where my ancestors settled and add historical accounts. They were the very first settlers in Paris, Idaho known as Bear Lake Valley.
3. Do you base any of your characters on people you know?
Yes, I love inserting real ancestral or family experiences into my novels. To me, their experiences have always intrigued me. It brings a story to life. My great grandmother, Sarah Eckersley Robinson, was my inspiration for “David and the Bear Lake Monster.” Sarah lost her hearing as a child but she never let her deafness stop her from developing her talents. 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 would actually throw 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!
In my research about the “hearing impaired,” and talking to a friend who became deaf in her youth, I became educated about the struggles they have to bear. After all my research, I found that I had even more respect for my great grandmother and her disability.
4. Do you schedule your writing time daily or do you just write when the ideas come?
Both. I usually write in the mornings, though, because my mind is fresh.
5. What's the biggest obstacle you face when writing and how do you overcome it?
My biggest obstacle is getting discouraged when everything doesn’t go right or if I feel overwhelmed with responsibility. I shouldn’t feel that way but I do at times. That’s when I really appreciate reading the reviews and comments from people who write to me. It sort of lifts my spirits. Also, I talk to my husband and tell him my feelings and that really helps.
6. Do you have someone you share your work with as you go along or do you wait to the end to reveal it?
Yes, my husband. If I feel sort of stumped, I talk to him and discuss my dilemma. After discussing it, I get some great ideas.
7. Who are your favorite authors and is there a book that has most influenced your writing?
I enjoy many authors but I don’t really have a favorite one. I’ve enjoyed Ron Carter who wrote a few volumes of historical fiction novels about the Revolutionary War and how we got our freedom. It’s called Prelude to Glory. I loved it.
8. What is your best reader or fan story?
A woman from St. Louis, Missouri wrote something that really touched my heart so I asked her permission to put it on my website. She wrote:
I just finished reading Melinda and the Wild West. Thank you for such a wonderful book!!! I have complained for over a year about not being able to read a really good, satisfying book. And believe me, it seems I have read EVERYTHING!!!! When I walk into the bookstore or library I always ask if they would be able to recommend a morally clean, fun book without a bunch of swearing, sex or violence, but yet still attention grabbing right away and attention sustaining. I have truly gotten some looks with that request! Well wouldn't you know I finally found exactly what I was looking for in your writing. I try to be selective in what I read, therefore I end up going back to the classics. I can't wait to read the next books in the saga. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
9. What book are you currently reading?
At this time I’ve been on the road so much presenting my workshops, so I haven’t had time to pick up a book. But after I slow down a bit, I hope to begin reading again.
10. What books do you have in the pipeline?
I just finished the last book in the Family Saga Series: Elena, Woman of Courage. It’s set in 1925. It was a blast to research. I found out about words that I didn’t even know such as: Cat’s pajamas! Ah, horsefeathers! Attaboy! Baloney! You slay me! When referring to a woman, they used doll, tomato, and bearcat. When a person was in love, they were goofy. If a person was a fool, they were a sap. And when a woman wasn’t in the mood for kissing or romance, she would say, “The bank’s closed.” I was able to use all these words and much more in my book. The language was great!
It’s about a “Happy-go-lucky Bachelor” that is completely fascinated with a woman doctor: Elena Yeates. Of course, women weren’t encouraged to go to college back then, let alone become a doctor, and this fascinates him to no end. With the 1920’s rise of women’s rights, this novel gives you an insight at the struggles women had to go through, while watching a young love blossom! To read an excerpt, visit http://www.lindaweaverclarke.com/samplechapters.html.
About the book:
Deep-rooted Legends, a Tender Love Story, and the Bear Lake Monster is focus of New Novel
Enter the world of “Make Believe” and read about the legend of the Bear Lake Monster, long family traditions, a tender love story, and a few mysterious events!
Scotland has the Lock Ness Monster and Bear Lake Valley has theirs. Do they really exist? The mystery of the Bear Lake Monster has been an exciting part of Idaho history since the early 1800s. David begins to wonder about this legend in “David and the Bear Lake Monster” (ISBN: 978-1-58982-532-1). As the waves splash gently upon the shore and the full moon shines brightly upon Bear Lake, a deep foreboding is in the air and the fawn, sipping from the lake, can sense it. His ears perk up and he stands still. Only the sounds of nature can be heard, but the deer senses that he is in danger and quickly darts away. A few feet from shore, the water abruptly parts and exposes a gigantic brown lump about 90-feet long. Water trickles down its sides as it floats in the stillness of the night.
Midwest Book Review wrote: “With a blend of romance, this deftly written historical fiction series is well deserving of a place in community library historical fiction collections.”
When David returns to the Robert’s family for a visit, he learns about the great Indian legend: the Bear Lake Monster. When he discovers people still believe in this legend, he sets out to prove that it doesn’t exist but the community is insulted that anyone would try to discredit something they have believed in for years. Their legend is sacred to them and part of Bear Lake history. Searching for true happiness, David is reunited with the Roberts family, trying to overcome his troubles! David quickly becomes one with the town and its folk. He finds himself entranced with one very special lady and ends up defending her honor several times. She isn’t like the average woman. Sarah is different. This beautiful and charming woman 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. As time passes, he realizes he must now face the dilemma of choosing between his work and matters of the heart.
“David and the Bear Lake Monster will keep readers entertained right up to the last page,” wrote Kim Atchue-Cusella of Book Loons. “Linda Weaver Clarke creates another winner with this installment of her Family Saga in Bear Lake Valley series.”
About the Author:
Linda Weaver Clarke was raised on a farm surrounded by the rolling hills of southern Idaho. She now makes her home in southern Utah among the beautiful red mountains. Clarke travels throughout the United States, teaching a “Family Legacy Workshop,” encouraging others to turn their family history and autobiography into a variety of interesting stories.
“David and the Bear Lake Monster” (ISBN: 978-1-58982-532-1, American Book Publishing, 2009). For more information, visit www.lindaweaverclarke.com. Publicity contact: www.american-book.com.