Thursday, July 26, 2012

Interview with Historical Sweet Romance Author

Linda Weaver Clarke has been married for 39 years to George Clarke and has 6 daughters and 5 grandchildren. She travels throughout the United States, teaching a Family Legacy Workshop, encouraging people to write their family history and autobiography. She has gone to 16 states and given over 300 workshops. She is the author of nine novels and two non-fiction e-books: five historical “sweet” romance novels and four mystery/adventure novels.

“These books are enjoyable to read, and although they're wholesome, they're never boring. Linda Weaver Clarke is outstanding at presenting the characters' thoughts, especially when it comes to romance, and she captures the highs and lows of romantic life rather adeptly. The author also pays close attention to historical accuracy, enabling readers to learn about U.S. history in her novels.” –Suko’s Notebook

George Clarke: Every week you interview authors and have book giveaways and I thought it was about time someone interviewed you! You have 5 books in “A Family Saga in Bear Lake Idaho” series. What was the inspiration behind your first sweet romance novel, Melinda and the Wild West - an awarding winning novel?

Linda: Most authors are inspired by an event in their lives or by something they’ve read about in a newspaper. In my case, it was personal. I had a heartrending experience that I never forgot. I was a substitute teacher for an elementary school. I had subbed for this one class before, but this day was different. This day something was definitely wrong and I was not sure what it was. As I moved toward the back of the room, I noticed a desk that was hidden behind a bookshelf. I peered around the corner and saw an eight-year-old girl resting her head against her arms.

I was surprised. Why was this student separated from the rest of the children? Why was she hidden behind this bookshelf… alone? One of the students volunteered, "She has to sit there because she’s a trouble-maker and doesn’t do her schoolwork and fights with the boys at recess."

This eight-year-old girl had been labeled as a troublemaker by her teacher. Hearing this, the students steered away from her, not wanting to be her friend. This label made her feel degraded. She stopped doing schoolwork, refused to be part of the class, and got into a few fights. She seemed angry at the world but after working with her for a while, I soon learned what a sweet and wonderful child she was. She had characteristics that I was impressed with. When she realized that I really cared, she was willing to do her work, just to please me. I’ll never know how this young girl’s life turned out, but in my novel I chose a happily-ever-after ending, just because Melinda cared and made a difference in the girl’s life. Why was this subject important to me? Because something similar happened to my own daughter.

This novel has “sweet” romance and adventure. What kind of adventure? When Melinda takes a job as a schoolteacher in the small town of Paris, Idaho, she comes face-to-face with a notorious bank robber, a vicious grizzly bear, and a terrible blizzard that leaves her clinging to her life. But it’s a rugged rancher who challenges Melinda with the one thing for which she was least prepared—love.

George Clarke: I have read each one of your novels and enjoyed them. Why do you add true family or ancestral experiences to your historical novels?

Linda: I feel that it brings my story to life. An example is my great grandmother, Sarah Robinson. In my 4th book in this series, Sarah's Special Gift, she was my inspiration, so I patterned my character after her. She lost her hearing when she was a baby. Even though she was deaf, she was known as one of the most graceful dancers in town. She was a beautiful woman with black hair and blue eyes. Nothing held her back. She was a spunky woman. One day she had a feeling that an intruder was in her home so she grabbed her broom and searched the house. She found the terrible man under her bed. With all the power and strength she had, she swatted him out of the house and down the street, pummeling him as she went. Since I added so many experiences from her life in my book, I named my character, Sarah, after my great grandmother.

George Clarke: What was the inspiration behind the last four novels in this series?

Linda: Edith and the Mysterious Stranger was inspired by my parents’ courtship. They didn’t meet the traditional way. They met through letters. Their story was so romantic that I patterned this book after their courtship. With mysterious letters, cattle rustlers, a spunky woman, Halloween, and young love, there is always something happening. 

Sarah's Special Gift was inspired because of my great grandmother who was deaf. This story has deep-rooted legends, a few mysterious events, the mystery of the Bear Lake Monster, and a tender love story.

Jenny’s Dream was inspired because of some unpleasant childhood experiences and now Jenny must learn forgiveness before she can choose which dream to follow. Meanwhile, a legendary ten-foot grizzly bear is seen in the area and its boldness has frightened the community.

My inspiration for Elena, Woman of Courage was the “Roaring Twenties.” This was a new decade of independent women, when they raised their hemlines and bobbed their hair. As Elena fights to prove herself as the town’s newest female doctor, the town’s most eligible bachelor finds it a challenge to see if he can win her heart.

George Clarke: I loved each book in this series but my favorite is Elena, Woman of Courage because you put so much humor into it. I hope that many people were able to get to know you better. Remember to pick which book you’re the most interested in, whether you want a book or ebook, along with your email.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Interview with Fantasy Author Janalyn Voigt

Whether Janalyn Voigt’s novels have you flying on a winged horse into a fantasy land, facing down a buffalo stampede in the Wild West, or hunting for treasure on a mysterious island, her writing will transport you into breathtaking creative worlds. Janalyn serves as a literary judge for several national contests and is an active book reviewer.  She is represented by Barbara Scott of Wordserve Literary. Janalyn lives in a quiet corner of the Pacific Northwest, where she discovers worlds of adventure in the great outdoors.
Visit Janalyn's website:

“In DawnSinger, Janalyn Voigt has penned a novel full of surprises. With adventure, mystery, and an unlikely romance, this beautiful, epic fantasy will leave you scrambling for the next book in the trilogy.” ~ Jill Williamson

Hello Janalyn! DawnSinger is book one of a fantasy trilogy, “Tales of Faeraven.” Please tell us about your novel.

DawnSinger and the rest of the Tales of Faeraven started as a story I invented for my young daughter to while away the time on a car trip. That story grabbed hold of me and wouldn’t let go, even during the years when I gave up on writing. Finally, out of a kind of self-defense, I decided to write this story that wouldn’t leave me alone, whether or not it ever saw the light of publication. DawnSinger is the first installment in a story that affirms the power of honor, self-sacrifice, and forgiveness to heal a broken nation.

The High Queen is dying... At the royal summons, Shae mounts a wingabeast and soars through the air to the high hold of Faeraven, where all is not as it seems. Visions warn her of danger, and a dark soul touches hers in the night. When she encounters an attractive but disturbing musician, her wayward heart awakens. But then there is Kai, a guardian of Faeraven and of Shae. Secrets bind him to her, and her safety lies at the center of every decision he makes. On a desperate journey fraught with peril and the unknown, they battle warlike garns, waevens, ferocious raptors, and the wraiths of their own regrets. Yet, they must endure the campaign long enough to release the DawnKing—and the salvation he offers—into a divided land. To prevail, each must learn that sometimes victory comes only through surrender.

Where did you get your inspiration for this series?

My father was a half-breed Native American, and when I was small he told me of his encounters with prejudice. The conflict within Tales of Faeraven centers on racial strife between the Elder and the Kindren, the two human races within Elderland. Later in the story, in DawnKing, the third book of the series, a half-cast daughter ascends to the throne of Faeraven and forces the nations to decide between love and hate. The presence of winged horses in all three novels stems from my lifelong love of horses.   

What kind of research did you have to do for this novel?

DawnSinger is based on 13th-Century Europe. I filled a thick binder with historical notes. One of the hardest things for me to research has been siege warfare. I find it difficult to read about other people’s sufferings, whether they lived a year or a century ago.

I understand what you mean because your heart tends to go out to them, no matter how long ago it was. Okay, it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

I trained for five years in vocal music and performed in musical theater productions and several operas. My aim was to go into opera, but the need to eat intervened. Starving artists are only glamorous in theory. I became an insurance agent, and then an assistant underwriter instead. I’ve given up my dream of an opera career, but music still informs my writing. Many people describe my writing as “lyrical” or “musical.”

Wow! An operatic writer! I bet anything that you make at least one of your characters musically inclined. Ha! Thanks for being a guest on my blog, Janalyn.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Interview with Sweet Romance Author Marie Higgins

Marie Higgins is a multi-published author of romance; from refined bad-boy heroes who makes your heart melt to the feisty heroines who somehow manage to love them regardless of their faults. She’s married with two daughters, has two grandchildren, and she’s lived in Utah all her life. Visit her website/blog to discover more about her –

“More than just a stories are an adventure!”

Welcome back to my blog, Marie. I love adventurous romances. Please tell us about your new book.

Thanks for having me back, Linda! My book, “The Sweetest Touch” is book #2 in my Regency Romance series – The Brothers of Worthington.  I’ve tried to add a little humor, a little suspense, a little action, and a whole lot of romance in this story, hoping to please all kinds of readers. So far, I’m getting raving reviews!! Here is the blurb:

Louisa wakes from a deep heavy fog, surrounded by strangers and horrified to discover she's been the sole victim of a terrible buggy accident. Worse... she remembers nothing.

Trevor Worthington, Duke of Kenbridge, can’t trust women. Yet after nearly killing the amnesiac Louisa, he has little choice but to open his home to her. His heart softens to the straggly woman in beggar's garb as he strives to help her regain her memory. As proof of Louisa's scars, both physical and those lurking beneath the surface, come to light, Trevor finds himself more and more drawn to the mysterious woman. However he is hesitant to enter another nightmarish entanglement like his first marriage.

Louisa is all too happy to accept employment in the Duke's household though it quickly becomes apparent she doesn't fit in at all! For starters she speaks French and has no skills to speak of. Bits and pieces of conflicting memories flash through her mind, lending more confusion to the puzzle of her life. Fortunately the duke proves ever patient with her myriad of mistakes and Louisa finds herself falling in love with the kind, brooding man. As their budding relationship progresses from improper to scandalous Louisa's memory begins to return. Dare she tell Trevor the horrible truths of her past? That she belongs to an evil man known only as Macgregor.

As the heartbreaking facts of Louisa's past are exposed and decade old questions come to light, will the truth keep these lovers from happiness? Will Trevor be able to give love another chance? Or will Louisa's sweet touch prove yet another forgotten memory...

Wow! I love romances that have a touch of mystery. And this sounds like one I’d enjoy. Where did you get your inspiration for this novel?

Well, Linda…to be honest, I like to mix up themes when I write. So this one is a little like The Prince and the Pauper meets Oliver Twist.  lol.  Although this is book #2 in my series, it’s about the oldest brother, Trevor Worthington. I didn’t know what kind of story I’d give him until I was nearly finished with “The Sweetest Kiss” (book #1). So what inspired me to write this story? It was book #1, “The Sweetest Kiss”. 

I love hearing what inspires an author to write a novel. Thanks, Marie. What kind of research did you do for this book?

Oh…I love doing research! I researched the slums of London. I researched pick-pockets and how they lived. And I also looked up how the gaols were operated back in Regency times. There’s a part where my characters go to a circus, and I looked online for that, as well as what particular vehicle my characters would drive in what scene. Fun!!

Do you ever put real experiences in your books?

Not really. I’ve always thought I lead a boring life, so to add a real situation from my life to a story… well, I’d fear it would put readers to sleep. However, I’ve felt sad before. I’ve been in love. I’ve felt fear and helplessness…and of course pure happiness, which are all the emotions I’ve written in this story.

What a perfect answer! Thank you, Marie, for a wonderful interview. I have learned a lot about you and your new book.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Interview with Children’s Author Sherrill S. Cannon

A former teacher, all of Sherrill S. Cannon’s books are in rhyme and all try to teach good manners and consideration for others. In 2011, she won eight National Awards for her books, The Magic Word, Peter and the Whimper-Whineys, and Santa’s Birthday Gift. Her fourth book Gimme-Jimmy, has just been released, with wonderful reviews. She also has written six published and internationally produced plays for elementary school children. A magna cum laude graduate of The American University, she has had a varied career including teacher and coach, newspaper photographer and columnist, Dinner Theatre Manager, and Business Administrator. She and her husband of more than 50 years are now retired, and travel in their RV from coast to coast each year, visiting their children and nine grandchildren... sharing Sherrill’s books along the way!

Welcome back to my blog, Sherrill. Please tell us about your new children’s book, The Magic Word.

The Magic Word is currently ranked #1 in Children’s Popularity on amazon. It has won four awards: a Gold medal Readers Favorite, winner of a Pinnacle Achievement award, second place in the Reader Views Awards, and was a Finalist (third place) in the Global eBook Awards. It is a story about a little girl who needs to learn good manners, so that she will make friends who will want to come to her birthday party. Her mother’s words echo in her ear, “What is the magic word?” and little Elisabeth has to say “Please.” Children seem to love to anticipate the answer!!

Where did you get your inspiration for The Magic Word?

I was inspired to write this book because this has always been a common reply in our family if someone forgets to say “Please.” It also works for “Thank-You”! I wanted to write a rhyming book to help children learn good manners, disguised as a fun story. I received the following lovely comment from a reviewer:

I have passed the ones you sent me to my 4 year old niece… Her mother has already read her ‘The Magic Word’ and said she was completely delighted. She now sleeps with the book under her pillow. You have a definite 4 year old fan.”

 Please tell us about your newest children’s book.

My just released book, Gimme-Jimmy, is a story about how a bully learns to share. James Alexander’s nickname was Gimme-Jimmy because he was a greedy and selfish bully. Imagine Jimmy’s concern when he discovered that every time he said the word “Gimme,” his hand grew larger. Jimmy was happy to discover that when he was polite and said “Please” and “Thank you,” his hand began to shrink. He started practicing his new “Polite Rule” and found out that it was much more fun to share.

A reviewer wrote: “Gimme-Jimmy is a delightful children’s book. This is a great story to teach young children good manners, specifically not to be selfish. Where did you get your inspiration for this book?

In this case, the title came before the book! When my son was in the “it’s mine” and “gimme” stage, he had a little friend whose name was Jimmy who always said, “Gimme”– so we got in the habit of saying, “Don’t be a Gimme-Jimmy!”

I love it when authors add real life situations to their stories. Do you ever put real experiences in your books?

Probably all my books are somewhat based on real life situations. Having been a teacher, as well as a mother of four and grandmother of nine, I have had multiple opportunities to help me determine that good manners need to be taught to small children, preferably by example, as early as possible. Learning consideration for others, to “think more of others and less about you,” helps not only with a child’s popularity; but becoming a good citizen is the best way to practice the “Golden Rule”. Reading books with your children is a great way to help them learn.

Thank you, Linda, for allowing me to reach more readers who will share my books with children. It’s all about the children… My website, where I also have a blog, is My SBPRA Link – Press Reviews for all four books:

Thank you, Sherrill, for this wonderful interview. I know my readers have learned more about you and your books.