December 31, 2012

Carol J. Larson’s Makes the Beautiful State of Minnesota Home

I’m not a native Minnesotan but came here after graduating from medical school in South Dakota to do a residency in pathology at the Mayo Clinic (or as we call it here, “the WFMC” – the World Famous Mayo Clinic).  I’ve been here ever since.
I retired from medicine in 2010 and turned my attention to writing and painting.  I’ve had a lifelong love of the prairie and admiration for the brave men and women who settled this part of the Midwest.  All of my books and paintings are related in some way to the history of the Great Plains.  Nothing gives me greater pleasure than roaming the back roads and byways of western Minnesota looking for old rusty objects. Sometimes these gems are hidden amongst overgrown weeds in an abandoned farmyard or are sitting on a dusty shelf in a small town antique shop. When they evoke a strong emotional response from me, it is time to pick up a paintbrush and bring out their beauty once more.

 I also have a deep interest in history and the history of medicine.  One of my favorite places in Minnesota is the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul.  They have fascinating exhibits, plays and educational programs and historical sites throughout the state.  What I like best is to spend an afternoon doing research for my books in the library of the History Center.  What an amazing facility! If I want to write a scene that features women at work in a steam powered laundry in 1886 and need a visual to describe it accurately, all I have to do is search the photographic database and within minutes I am holding an actual picture in my hand.  I’ve had many a goose-bump moment looking at those old photos, diaries and records. And here’s the icing on the cake:  they have an excellent restaurant that features Minnesota grown foods.
Just a few blocks away from the History Center is Summit Avenue, one of the best preserved areas of Victorian architecture in the country.  A walk along this street is like stepping back in time. One can almost imagine the rumble of buggy wheels on the cobblestones and the swish of long skirts as the fashionably dressed ladies stroll along the sidewalk.  Venture a block away and bustling Grand Avenue offers up charming shops and delightful restaurants.
I incorporate my love of history with my medical background; throw in rip-roaring adventure and a dash of romance to create a unique reading experience in my YA novels.  My first book, Big Stone Heart, was published by Whiskey Creek Press in June, 2012.  My second, The Secret Society of Sugar and Spice, releases March this year and my third book, The Baby Farm: Book Two of the Secret Society of Sugar and Spice, was just accepted for publication by Whiskey Creek Press.  Please visit my blog and my websites to join me in the adventure!
(pictures provided by author)


  1. Sounds as though you've found the right place for you, Carol. May good fortune be with you in the coming year.

  2. Nice Annette!! Keep on writing :o)
    --Lisa PZ

  3. I think the place we appreciate the place we adopt more than the one where we grew up. Thanks for the post.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  4. Hi Carol,
    Odd that you should mention 1886. My WCP novel, Never Love a Logger, is set in MN in 1886. The background of this romance novel is the world's largest logjam.
    I too, love MN history.
    I look forward to reading your novel. Edna Curry

  5. Our favorite places are way up in the BWCA, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area where if you spit in the right direction you hit Canada. We've been on lakes where we have to be careful not to paddle too far north, since only my husband has a passport.
    We love Ely, a quaint touristy-town that is the western starting point for a lot of canoe trips in the Boundary Waters, having camped at Bear Head Lake State Park many times. We love the other parks also: Scenic, Mille Lac and Father Hennepin (both on the shores of Mille Lac and surrounded by Indian lands, and with a great museum where you can learn a lot about the local tribes.) And we used to love Jay Cooke State Park, but the water last year devastated that whole area, and the hanging bridge that was so unnerving to walk on, crossing the St. Louis River at its wildest, may or may not ever get rebuilt.
    Our current favorite destination is Grand Marais, one of the furthest north points along the North Shore of Lake Superior. We love to swim in the wild waters of Superior and the pebbles on the beach (no sand) let you know you are on a rough area. We love all of the smaller lakes that provide swimming and fishing pleasure, along with scenic views from our canoe. And the stars? The camping? The privacy and the solitude? This is as close to Heaven on Earth as we have ever gotten.

    I hope someday to retire up to Minnesota, where the loons call all day and night, and as long as it's not a bad season for the huge black flies, you can enjoy summer like no where else.


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