Monday, April 12, 2010

Interview with Linda Weaver Clarke

Tell us a little about yourself.

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. They need to be proud of their ancestors. I teach people how to put their stories down in an interesting way. I love what Leon Garfield said, “The historian, if honest, gives us a photograph; the storyteller gives us a painting.” That’s what I do. I teach people how to paint their stories, how to be a storyteller.

Tell us about your new book.

“Anasazi Intrigue” is the first in a mystery series. It’s about a devastating flood that takes out several homes in a small town, the importance of preserving ancient artifacts, and a few puzzling and mysterious events. Julia is a reporter, and when she finds out about a possible poison spill that kills some fish and neighbor's pets, she has a feeling that something isn’t quite right. Before she realizes what is happening, Julia finds out that this incident is much bigger and more dangerous than she thought. With dead fish, a devastating flood, and miscreants chasing John and Julia, they have their hands full.

Where did you come up with the inspiration for your book?

It came from a true experience that really happened right here in my little valley of southern Utah. In 2005, our small five-foot-wide river grew and grew until it was as wide as the length of a football field, and it was taking everything in its path. The flood was a terrible disaster. About two hundred homes were seriously damaged and twenty-five were completely destroyed. In three days time, it had dug into the earth’s surface, carving away at the banks, creating ridges as high as forty feet deep. In fact, the river was moving at ten feet per hour, just like a plow pushing the dirt and trees down the river. Several weeks later, a man found his car thirty miles downstream from his home. During this time, everyone worked hard to help the residents remove what they could from their homes before the flood hit, but there were those who escaped with only the clothes on their backs. The experience of charity and compassion by the people was incredible.

That wasn’t the only inspiration behind my book. I was really interested in the Anasazi Indians who settled right here in my valley. Where did they come from and how did they live? Indian art painted or engraved in rock gives us an idea who the Anasazi were, their beliefs and lifestyle. Many people wonder why the Anasazi Indians disappeared, leaving behind their belongings and valuables. In my research, I found that archaeological thievery is becoming more and more of a problem every year. When an ancient ruin is discovered, it doesn’t take long for thieves to find out about it. Did you know that an ancient funeral pit can be sold for $60,000 on the black market? Not to mention all the pottery, baskets, and pendants found by looters. It’s a very intriguing subject to me and I enjoyed learning so much in my research.

What question do you get asked the most about in regards to your books?

Many people ask me how much research I do. I love research and learn a great deal. While writing this novel, I learned the importance of a Kiva, that it represents the journey of life (birth, death, and the hereafter), and that it’s a place for spiritual instruction. I also learned that archaeological thievery is growing every year. Theft at the Four Corners area of Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico is a big problem. The damage to these sites is estimated at almost $42,000 in two year’s time.

What prompted you to begin writing?

It all started with my ancestors’ stories. Their experiences were so interesting that I decided to write their stories down. After I finished, I couldn’t stop writing, so I turned to fiction.

What is your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part?

My favorite part is developing my characters and learning more and more about them. I begin to fall in love with them and understand them more fully. My least favorite is trying to think up just the right amount of suspense for a mystery to hold my reader.

What are you working on next?

I have always been intrigued with the Mayan culture. Who were they, what were their beliefs, and why did they abandon such magnificent buildings in southern Mexico on the Yucatan Peninsula? My second mystery in this series is called “Mayan Intrigue” and will be released in about four months. In this mystery series, there will be four books that deal with similar subjects.

If you couldn't be a writer (or have anything to do with writing) what do you think you would want to be?

An archaeologist!

How important do you think writing is in a child’s life?

It’s very important because it works on their creativity. Writing helps to express one’s innermost feelings. Many times, writing can be a healing process. Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, if children learn to write, they can learn to express themselves much better. In fact, one library asked me to teach a group of troubled teens, ones who had problems. These kids were so interested and interacted with me so well. It was a wonderful experience.

What do you hope that your readers gain from your books?

Entertainment and a little education! My goal is to uplift others and bring a little joy into their lives. To read an excerpt from each of my books, visit my website at

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