From her childhood spent in rural southwestern Minnesota to her current lakeside residence in Mound, Connie Claire Szarke has always been inspired by the outdoors. “The natural world means a great deal to me,” says Szarke. “I love watching the change of seasons on the lake, the migrating waterfowl. I’ve always been an outdoor woman.”
It’s fitting, then, that the outdoors and Upper Midwest setting play a large role in Szarke’s novels A Stone for Amer (Heron Bay Publishing, 2013) and Delicate Armor (Heron Bay Publishing, 2013, second edition). Both novels are available at Excelsior Bay Books.
Delicate Armor, Szarke’s debut novel, is the coming-of-age story of Callie Lindstrom. The novel is “semi-autobiographical, layered with lots and lots of fiction,” says Szarke.
Now in its second edition, Delicate Armor was a 2012 Midwest Book Awards finalist in historical fiction and young adult fiction. “I came within inches of getting the gold,” says Szarke. “But the silver was huge for me anyway. I felt so happy that my debut novel and characters would receive that recognition.”
In 2013, Szarke published A Stone For Amer, a prequel to Delicate Armor. Set during World War I, A Stone for Amer reintroduces many of the same characters but begins before Callie is born. Will Lindstrom, Callie’s father, narrates.