Turn family history into a variety of interesting stories or write an autobiography. With that effort, ancestors can come alive on paper.

The importance of family legacy can never be overemphasized. Do the children know their heritage? Who are the family's ancestors? What were their family traditions? Did they fight for a cause and what was it about? If these stories are unwritten, then how are children going to know of their parentage?

Remember, conflict is part of life and makes for an interesting story. Children should be proud of who they are. Share these stories with them.

First, collect any thoughts and write down any memorable experiences. Talk with family members and discuss memories. Compile several short stories, making the history into segments. Or write the whole history as a continuous flow.

Children will want to know their heritage and what their ancestors stood for. Make the family legacy something the children will remember; something they will be proud of.

Linda Weaver Clarke will be teaching a workshop at a variety of retirement communities: the Alderwood at 10 a.m. July 12; the Horton Plaza at — p.m. July 16; and the Anna Maria Creekside at 1:30 p.m. July 18.

Clarke will be helping the community put their family history or autobiography into stories that will never be forgotten. Clarke said that it is such a pleasure to teach the elderly and retired couples the techniques of writing. To learn more about Clarke and her classes, go to .

Clarke received her Bachelor of Arts at Southern Utah University. She is happily married, is the mother of six daughters and has four grandchildren. She writes articles for several newspapers and teaches a Writing Workshop, encouraging others to turn their family history into interesting stories.

Clarke has written a historical fiction novel, "Melinda and the Wild West," which was a semifinalist for the Reviewers' Choice Awards 2007. This novel is the first of five in a family saga. She will be using her book for various examples during the workshop.

Betsy Brannon Green, best-selling mystery author, wrote: "Melinda and the Wild West is a tender love story. Clarke's characters are well developed and her setting is compelling. But what separates this book from others is Clarke's historical accuracy and meticulous attention to detail. The reader feels transported to another time and place &

experiencing bank robberies and skunk oil and even exposure to stinging nettles right along with Melinda. Readers of all ages will enjoy this book from the exciting beginning to the satisfying end."

Clarke became interested in writing because her ancestors' stories were intriguing, but the facts alone were not enough. So she began turning their biographies into stories that her children would enjoy. They wanted more than just the facts but wanted to be entertained as well. Putting the facts into story form made a difference. After putting a dozen stories together, she began writing historical fiction.

Melynda Gascoyne, reviewer for the Amherst Bee newspaper in Buffalo, N.Y., wrote: "For anyone who likes to read classic-styled romance novels that also have a drop of history, this is the book for you. From one of her students coming to class with skunk oil that explodes, to her encounter with a black bear, there's always something for the imagination in the book. It is very easy to picture the scene you are reading. Clarke was able to write about love in a soft fashion, not full of the same type of sexual writing of most romance novels. I was impressed with the eloquence in which Clarke spun her story. It was dramatic in some spots and yet contained simply placed bits of humor. I would recommend this to anyone."

When Clarke sent her book to readers to be reviewed and to enter the contest, Debra Gaynor wrote: "From the first page I was captivated by this book. I had to continue reading, rushing to turn the page, I had to see what next adventure would catch up with Melinda. The plot is interesting: mixing history with fiction, adventure with romance. This is good Christian fiction. It is a great honor to highly recommend this book to readers of historical fictions and romance. Ms. Clarke, this is a piece to be proud of, well done!"