Author Linda Weaver Clarke is releasing the second book in her Intrigue series, Mayan Intrigue, on August 30th. Learn a little about her and her decision to move from writing historical romance to mystery. Next week, come back to celebrate the launch of her new book by reading her guest blog on the subject of romance vs. mystery!
Jennifer Walker: You have spent a lot of time teaching people how to write their family histories and writing historical novels. What draws you to history, and did you develop research skills in this other work that helped you with your new Intrigue series?
Linda Weaver Clarke: I always enjoy putting a little history in each of my novels to educate my readers. In historical romance, it’s a must and I continued with my research for my new series. The mysteries of the Anasazi Indians, the Mayas, Montezuma’s Treasure, and the Lost Dutchman Mine have intrigued archaeologists and scientists for many years. In the Adventures of John and Julia Evans series, I delve into such mysteries. I love research, so when I turned to mystery, I just knew I would put a little history into my books. It makes it fun to write. I learned so much about artifact theft and what the Mayan culture was like while writing my Intrigue series.
Jennifer Walker: What made you decide to make the switch from romance to mystery? Do you think you'll ever go back?
Linda Weaver Clarke: I wanted to do something different. I loved writing historical romance, sweet romance that is, because I’m a romantic at heart but I wanted to try mystery. It was such a challenge at first because the mind set is so different from writing love stories. I don’t know if I’ll ever go back. I’m always wanting to learn and try something different but I haven’t abandoned the romance completely. I can’t help but add a bit of romance in each of these books.
When I was young, one of my favorite television shows was Hart to Hart, which featured a married couple investigating and solving crimes. The couple was madly in love–you laughed at the humor and sighed at the romance. I wanted to create something similar, with a little suspense and adventure. Julia is a reporter for a daily newspaper, and John is a professional knife maker. Because of her curiosity and wanting to get a good story, Julia gets herself into a bunch of trouble. Before long, she finds herself and her husband up to their necks in danger and running for their lives.
Jennifer Walker: Are there any similarities between writing romance and mystery, or are they completely different?
Linda Weaver Clarke: The only similarity I can think of is the development of the characters. Other than that, they are completely different. With romance you know the couple is going to fall in love, but with a mystery the reader is in the dark until towards the ending of the book. With each novel, I was worried that my readers might figure out what was going on and then it wouldn’t be a mystery. I had to read my first mystery to my husband to see if he could figure it out. He’s a real sleuth. When he didn’t see it coming and was surprised, then I realized that I had been successful in hiding the truth until the ending. For my first two mysteries, I chose to use the mystery/suspense feel. That is when your reader knows who the bad guys are. That brings on a more tense situation. With my last book in this series, I chose to use the mystery feel, where my readers don’t know who the bad guys are.
Jennifer Walker: Why did you choose to write about Mayans and looters for your next book?
Linda Weaver Clarke: I have always been intrigued by the American past. I have researched it so much that I felt ready to begin my new mystery series. I love learning about the culture of other people, so the Mayans were no exception. I learned to respect their ancestors. They were so intelligent that it was almost mind-boggling. I learned that the Mayan calendar is more accurate than ours because they don’t even have a leap year. I learned that the Mayan roads still exist today because of their expert knowledge in making cement. And this is only a couple things out of many that I learned. In fact, the bibliography of Mayan Intrigue is two pages at the back of the book.
Why did I choose looters and artifact theft for this series? When I learned about how much was happening today, I was shocked. The damage to archaeological sites is estimated at almost $42,000 in two year’s time. An ancient funeral pit can be sold for as high as $60,000 on the black market, not to mention pottery, baskets, and pendants found by looters. An article in the Las Vegas Newspaper was published about a couple men who were loading some artifacts in the trunk of their car. A ranger saw what they were doing and questioned them, not realizing he had accidentally stumbled upon the largest operation around. The article said they recovered more than 11,100 relics. Did you know that people are actually selling shards and arrowheads on websites? Well, anyway, the subject to me was very intriguing, so I called it the Intrigue series.
Jennifer Walker: Do you think you'll stick with mysteries for a while, or is there another genre you find intriguing?
Linda Weaver Clarke: Right now I’m so busy traveling throughout the U.S., teaching people how to write their own family history that I can’t think that far ahead. I’m enjoying what I’m doing. History is part of our lives. If we don’t research and learn about our ancestors, then how can we appreciate what they did in life? We are the people we are because of our ancestors. We need to teach our children their heritage. If they can understand that, then they might make better decisions in their lives. Sometimes it helps us to know our past before we can understand our present or future. I also love meeting people. To find out what I do or read sample chapters of my books, visit www.lindaweaverclarke.com.