Meet the Author: Bear Lake Family Saga

To win an ebook or an Audible audiobook, answer this question: “Why do you like historical romances?” and your preference of ebook or audio.

Who is Author Linda Weaver Clarke?

I was raised among the Rocky Mountains of southern Idaho and live in Color Country in southern Utah. I am the author of 23 books. I have several genres that I write in—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. I am also a missionary at the Family Search Center. I help people find their ancestors and learn about their heritage.

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What draws readers to this historical romance series: Bear Lake Family Saga?

This series has strong female characters who have a destiny to fulfill. Each woman wants to make a difference in someone’s life. No matter the trial that comes her way, she is ready to fight for what she believes. I love the male characters. Even though they are strong and masculine, they have their tender moments that can melt your heart. Bear Lake Family Saga has plenty of adventure along with a tender love story.

What was the inspiration for this 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 true experiences to my fictional characters.

Give us a brief description of each story in this series.

Melinda and the Wild West (Book 1): Melinda is a schoolteacher. She has many challenges but it’s a rugged rancher who challenges Melinda with the one thing for which she was least prepared—love.

Edith and the Mysterious Stranger (Book 2): Edith is a nurse. When a mysterious stranger starts writing to Edith, she gets to know a man’s inner soul before making any harsh judgments. Whoever he is, this man is a mystery but is he as wonderful in person as he is in his letters?

Jenny’s Dream (Book 3): Jenny is an aspiring author. She has a dream to fulfill, but the only thing standing in her way is an unpleasant memory, which has haunted her since childhood. She must learn to forgive before she can follow her dream.

Sarah’s Special Gift (Book 4): Sarah is a beautiful and successful dance teacher but she is not an average young woman. Sarah 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.

Elena, Woman of Courage (Book 5): The Roaring Twenties was a time of great change, when women raised their hemlines and bobbed their hair. As Elena fights to prove herself as the town’s first female doctor, the town’s most eligible bachelor finds it a challenge to see if he can win her heart.

Are your books in audiobook form?

Yes. I have a narrator who is narrating them for Audible. I have one narrator for Melinda and the Wild West, and then changed to a different narrator for the next four. Carolyn Kashner actually sings in Edith and the Mysterious Stranger, and she has such a lovely voice.

Who is the most intriguing character in this series?

I love all my female characters, but I feel that Elena from Elena Woman of Courage is the most interesting. She has to endure a lot of prejudice from the town bully who feels that women doctors have no right to practice medicine. But that isn’t all. This story takes place during the roaring twenties, and Elena has decided to be a part of this new generation by bobbing her hair and raising her hemlines. That takes a lot of courage. Of course, the town’s most eligible bachelor finds her most intriguing. He actually admires her tenacity. I admire Elena, as well.

(For history buffs: 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.)

They developed a new vocabulary during the roaring twenties. What were some of the words you discovered while writing this story?

This was the fun part of writing Elena Woman of Courage. During this time period, theyLindaweb spoke a language foreign to their parents.  Here are some examples.

If you were excited about something, you say: Cat’s pajamas!

If you didn’t agree with someone, you say: Ah, horsefeathers!

If you were a feisty woman, you were referred to as: a bearcat.

If you were an attractive woman, you were referred to as: a doll.

Women were also referred to as: a tomato.

When John wanted to “spoon” with Elena, she said: The bank’s closed.

A woman’s body was referred to as a chassis and her legs were gams.

Where can readers find you?

My website has sample chapters to read:

My Audible Page:
My Book Trailer:

Breaking TWIG a Thought-Provoking Read

8 x 10 updatedby Deborah Epperson

Thanks, Heidi, for inviting me to be your guest today. I’m honored to share some thoughts on your blog about my book, Breaking TWIG.

Set in rural Georgia in the 1960s, Breaking TWIG is a coming-of-age novel about Becky (Twig) Cooper, a young woman trying to survive the physical and emotional abuse of her mother, Helen, a beautiful, calculating woman. Not even Twig’s vivid imagination, keen wit, and dark sense of humor is enough to help her survive the escalating assaults of Helen and a new stepbrother, Donald, but help comes from an unexpected source–Frank, her stepfather.

The first thing readers usually want to know is if the storyline is based on my personal experience? I am quick to say my mother was the polar opposite of Helen. My mother was loving, kind, and supportive. I had a large, wonderful extended family also, but it was my mother, Betty, who encouraged my writing. Mom passed away before Breaking TWIG was published, but she did get a chance to read it. The book is dedicated to her.

The second question I’m asked is what was the inspiration behind the story? Frankly, the idea stems from my college studies. I majored in biology and English and have always been interested in the issue of heredity verses environment in child development. Which one has the most influence on a child? At times, Becky (Twig) worries that she has inherited her mother’s “picker” ways and her gene for chicanery, but Becky also believes having one person who loves and believes in you is all a person needs to keep hope alive. Growing up, both Becky and Henry (a family friend) had one parent who berated and abused them, and one parent who gave them unconditional love and support. Helen had no such love or support system when she was a child. I wanted readers to think about how important the roles of unconditional love and a supportive environment—or the lack of these two influences—are in helping to shape a child’s development into an adult.

The largest writing difficulty was in regards to the changing relationship between Frank and Becky. It shocked some author photoreaders. I hadn’t planned that relationship, but as many writers have said — characters in a novel seem to take on a life of their own. Also, there are racially-charged words that are not politically correct in today’s society, but they were typical of the language used in the Deep South in this time-frame when traditions like segregation were colliding with Civil Rights, integration, and Vietnam.

My goals in writing are to remain true to my characters, and to tell a good story. A story that shows nobody is perfect, life is messy, and we all fail more often than we’d care to admit. But with faith, love, and perseverance, we can find the strength to continue toward our own truth with a bit more forgiveness and understanding for others and for ourselves.

Today, I’m working on a romance-suspense called Caddo Girl. It’s set in Louisiana in the 1970’s. After it’s completed, I’m doing a sequel to Breaking TWIG because so many readers have asked me to continue Becky’s story.  They have actually called me to ask if Johnny and Becky ever got together. I tell them I don’t know. My imagination hasn’t got that far yet.

Thanks for stopping by and have a blessed holiday season.~ Deborah

Thank you, Deborah, for sharing your writing journey with Breaking TWIG. I loved the book and I’m looking forward to reading your next one!

You can find Deborah on her Website, her blog, on Twitter @DDEpperson,  on Facebook, her e-mail, and the book is available in paperback and ebook on Amazon.

Published in: on December 13, 2013 at 6:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Happy Thanksgiving!

thanksgiving-foodThis is not just “Turkey Day.” In fact, we’re not even having turkey! For us, it’s a day set aside to remember what you are grateful for, and we have many, many things, including plenty of healthy food!

I’m thankful every day for my parents who raised me in faith, taught me to be self-reliant, honest, and that I could do whatever I set my mind to. They instilled in me a love of reading and from there came my career in writing.

I’m thankful for my grandmother, who provided the inspiration for what will be four books by the end of next year. Little did I know when I was 8-10 years old, riding the pasture by her side, that I would write a series of novels based on her life.

I’m thankful for my brother, my only sibling, and for the fact that we are best friends, and that he provided me with a wonderful niece and nephew, and from there grand-niece and nephew! I’m so grateful I have family on both sides that we love and get along with splendidly! My sisters-in-law are really my sisters, and their families my family.

I am thankful for my husband, also my best friend and my most ardent supporter, for the adventures and fun we’ve had inpraying_hands_clip_art_18373 our forty years together. And I am grateful for alternative treatments that give us hope for renewed health in his battle with cancer.

I am thankful for our new home in sunny Arizona, where I am still able to sit outside on my patio with my morning coffee (most mornings) in the last week of November!

I’m thankful for great neighbors and new friends we’re making here, as well as the many old friends I left behind in Washington and Montana.

And I’m thankful for God in my life, for He gives me strength and courage to live each day to the fullest!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Published in: on November 28, 2013 at 6:11 am  Leave a Comment  
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Memories in a Coffee Pot

This small, forlorn coffee pot holds a barrel of memories for me.

My parents had a coffee ritual. Most days, unless my dad was out working in a far-off field, he would come in around 4 p.m. for coffee and a snack. It might be fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies, or warm whole wheat bread with butter and chokecherry jelly, “wonderberry” (wild berries similar to blueberries) pie, or vanilla ice cream smothered in fresh sliced peaches.

Mom placed a generous scoop of coffee grounds in the pot and poured boiling water on top, letting it “steep”, like tea. After a few minutes, she or Dad would blow into the spout to settle the grounds, and pour the strong, aromatic brew into their cups. Strangely enough, they never seemed to have to deal with grounds floating on top.

Even when we were working outside together in the heat of the summer, stacking bales, a thermos of coffee marked afternoon break-time in the shade of a growing hay stack.

An extra special occasion, Mom and Dad’s wedding anniversary on Christmas Eve, began with that coffee. As the lavender shadows of dusk gathered, Mom would dress in her holiday outfit, bring out the Christmas goodies, and brew the coffee.

Although I didn’t like coffee and didn’t start drinking it until I was in my 30s, this “coffee time” was a hugely important part of my life, growing up on a ranch in eastern Montana. It wasn’t just a time to stave off hunger pangs until supper, it was a time of togetherness, an important family ritual.

Even after my mother died, my dad continued the afternoon coffee observance.

I am downsizing in anticipation of a move in the near future, and I had to make a painful decision to discard this coffee pot. But the memories will live on.

Published in: on September 5, 2012 at 6:00 am  Comments (10)  
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