Today I have the pleasure of introducing to you, Linda Weaver Clarke- an author who actively brings historical writing to another level. It’s not often I come across and author that not only shares my passion for reading, writing, history- and teaching…But that’s not all- Linda also combines the love for family through historical ancestry research and writing, and, she teaches about it. How refreshingly close to home!
'Linda Weaver Clarke travels throughout the United States, teaching and encouraging others to turn their family history and autobiography into a variety of interesting stories. She is the author of the historical fiction series, A Family Saga in Bear Lake, Idaho which includes the following novels: Melinda and the Wild West - a semi-finalist for the Reviewers Choice Award 2007, Edith and the Mysterious Stranger, Jenny’s Dream, David and the Bear Lake Monster, and Elena, Woman of Courage.'
This is her new book:
David and the Bear Lake Monster: A Family Saga in Bear Lake, Idaho
Deep-rooted legends, long family traditions, and a few mysterious events! David quickly becomes one with the town and its folk and wonders why they believe in this Bear Lake Monster. It just has to be a myth. While visiting the Roberts family, he 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, I invite you to read Linda Weaver Clarke’s Guest Post,
Sarah, My Inspiration Behind the Book
“David and the Bear Lake Monster” was so much fun to research. My great grandmother, Sarah Eckersley Robinson, was my inspiration. I wanted to use her experiences for my heroine to bring some reality into my story. As a child, she lost her hearing but she never let her deafness stop her from living life to its fullness. 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 actually threw 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! Because of my admiration for my great grandmother, I named my character “Sarah.”
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. I didn’t realize that concentrating on reading lips for long periods of time could be such a strain, resulting in a splitting headache. After all my research, I found that I had even more respect for my great grandmother and her disability.
Now you may wonder about the Bear Lake Monster and how it fits into my story. Is it fiction or non-fiction? Well, my book is considered historical fiction so I decided to add some parts of history that may sound incredible to you but actually happened.
The mystery of the Bear Lake Monster has been an exciting part of Idaho history ever since the early pioneers arrived in 1863. Prominent leaders of the area encouraged the Indian legend because no one had a desire to move to the cold Bear Lake country. The valley was located at the tops of the Rocky Mountains in southern Idaho and the winters were harsh.
The legend of the Bear Lake Monster made life a little more exciting for the pioneers. Some people claimed to have seen it and gave descriptions of it. Throughout the years, no one has ever disproved the Bear Lake Monster. A bunch of scientists tried to discredit the monster and said it was a huge codfish that was shipped in from the East. Does the Bear Lake Monster exist? Is it fact or fiction, legend or myth?
The legend of the Bear Lake Monster began with the Natives who inhabited this valley. When the settlers arrived in 1863, the Indians told them all about the Great Bear Lake Monster. It had captured and carried off two of their braves while swimming. The legend came alive when people began reporting its existence.
Thomas Sleight and John Collings of Paris, Idaho, and Allen and M.C. Davis of St. Charles were taking six girls home from a party in Fish Haven when they stopped off at the lake. Some unusually large waves got their attention. They noticed four brown lumps and six smaller ones that were heading southward. They swam with incredible speed, about a mile a minute, until they were out of sight.
One summer day in 1868, S. M. Johnson was riding his horse alongside the shoreline when he saw an object floating in the water. At first glance, it looked like a man’s body. He was shocked and thought that someone had drowned so he trotted his horse closer and watched the object but it didn’t move. When the water didn’t wash the body ashore, he figured it must have been a tree that was anchored to the bottom of the lake with its roots still in tact. As he watched this so-called tree, he said it opened a gigantic mouth that was large enough to swallow a man and it blew water from its mouth and nose. Johnson said that it had a skinny head, huge pointed ears, and three small legs that rose up from the water as it approached the shore.
Some time later, a group of twenty people spotted the monster and among these were prominent men of the community. Two outstanding leaders who reported the sighting were Wilford Woodruff and George Q. Cannon. No one doubted what they saw. These men had integrity and were trustworthy.
The interesting thing is that all the reports have pretty much the same description. 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. It had small legs and a huge mouth, big enough to eat a man.
Is the Bear Lake Monster fact or fiction, legend or myth? Whatever conclusion is drawn, the legend still lives on and brings a great deal of mystery and excitement to the community. Does David believe in the monster? Of course not, and he’s bound to disprove it. Remember, when visiting southern Idaho, never doubt the Bear Lake Monster or you’ll be frowned upon. No one makes fun of the great legend of Bear Lake Valley!
*****For today’s Giveaway, Linda has graciously agreed to giveaway one copy of her very first book: Melinda and the Wild West. What a wonderful way to become more familiar with this extremely interesting author’s work!
For 1 Entry: Please leave your comment along with your email address
For 2 Entries: Tweet about this and send me the link
For 3 Entries: Post about this on any other site of your choice
For 5 Extra Entries: Become a Follower of my blog:) (if you already follow, you get this automatically)
To learn more about Linda, her books, her writing and her workshops, be sure to visit her website, which contains excerpts from her books, interviews, an interesting biography section, short stories, UPCOMING EVENTS and tours.
Now I’m curious to learn more about family historical writing and learning about my own ancestors…what a wonderful way to combine history and family while getting in touch with your ancestry and the love of writing. Talk about an interestingly creative edge.
Thank You Linda for a fabulous insight in what you do and for spreading the interest for history and family through your work and writing. You certainly are an inspiration for all aspiring Historical Fiction writers!