June 4, 2017

Minnesota: Land of 10,000 Lakes-Resident, Laura Vosika



So our license plates tell us. But that’s only because Land of 11,842 Lakes More than Ten Acres and More if You Count All the Smaller Lakes Plus 6,500 Miles of Streams and Rivers lacks that poetic flow—in addition to not fitting so well on a license plate!

I was born in Minnesota, but within six months had moved (or, being an infant, been moved) to Germany, where I stayed for more than five years. Life in the military followed, but we frequently traveled back to Minnesota for holidays, and weeks before I started 7th grade, moved to Duluth, on the southern tip of Lake Superior.  I've traveled a fair amount and I still find the North Shore one of the most beautiful places on earth.

I spent high school in the Twin Cities, left for college and the west coast, and finally moved back here in 2004.
Minnesota sits at a crossroads between the older original states and the wild west. While our history, unlike the East Coast where I spent some of my childhood, doesn’t stretch back to the Revolutionary War, we do have history here: the North West Company Fur Post http://sites.mnhs.org/historic-sites/north-west-company-fur-post which takes us back to 1804, Fort Ridgely http://sites.mnhs.org/historic-sites/fort-ridgely with its Civil War re-enactments, and Fort Snelling http://www.historicfortsnelling.org/ just minutes from the airport, which has re-enactments along with a national military cemetery. Duluth https://downtownduluth.com/about/history.php, home to the world’s largest, farthest-inland freshwater port, was once home to some of the wealthiest families in the country, as shipping boomed in the late 1800s.

Culturally, the Twin Cities has a great deal to offer. We have the Minnesota Orchestra, the Jungle Theater, the Guthrie, and for writers, the Loft, Rain Taxi http://www.raintaxi.com/ and numerous other venues.

In my time-travel saga, The Blue Bells Chronicles, Shawn Kleiner, a notorious, young classical musician who has risen to international stature, known as much for his partying, drinking, and womanizing as for his music, hails from Minnesota—Maple Grove, to be exact, where my writers’ group meets and where I teach music lessons every Wednesday. He grew up on the lakes with his father, sailing and swimming, doing polar plunges for charity, and likely skating, skiing, and doing some ice fishing. Yes, we cut holes in the ice here and fish in the middle of winter!

Being in the suburbs of the Twin Cities, he would have also grown up surrounded by cultural and musical opportunities. He may have studied music at MacPhail and played in both the Minnesota Youth Symphony https://www.mnyouthsymphonies.org/ and the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies (which I myself did until The Day They Both Had Concerts at the Same Time...but that’s a different story.)

The history Shawn learns throughout The Blue Bells Chronicles, however, is a far cry from Minnesota, as he ends up in medieval Scotland, mistaken for Niall Campbell, Highland warrior, fighting wars with Robert the Bruce and the Good Sir James (or...the Black Douglas as the English have ever since called him.) When Niall—who apart from his looks is as different from Shawn as a man can be—and Shawn meet, they are not terribly impressed with each other.

However, in addition to time travel, adventure, and history, Blue Bells is a story of redemption. While Shawn loves water, Niall’s experience with it is seeing his older brother drown in Loch Ness, on the shore of which his castle home, Glenmirril, sits. Niall’s phobia is seen throughout the five books of the saga; Blue Bells of Scotland, The Minstrel Boy, The Water is Wide, Westering Home, and The Battle is O’er (due out this coming December.) That, and Shawn’s ease on the water—a love learned right here in Minnesota—play into the end of the series.

I currently live in the Minneapolis suburbs with five of my nine children, three cats, and an Irish Wolfhound, reminiscent of the Laird’s great hunting hounds. You can find a great deal of the History Behind the Story at my blog http://bluebellstrilogy.blogspot.com where I post articles on Scotland, medieval history, time travel, and the music of the book, along with posts on the craft of writing and guest posts from other authors.


With that, I’m offering a $10 gift card to Amazon or a signed print copy of one of my books. Check out my work with any of my links in this post and comment here to be entered. Remember to leave a way to find you so we can contact you when you win!

I also host Books and Brews with Laura Vosika on 950 AM here in the Twin Cities, and am a founder of Emmanuel’s Light www.emmanuelslight.com and www.emmanuelslight.wordpress.com, a photographers’ cooperative.
Read my full bio on my blog listed above. 
My books can be found in print or various e-book formats.

Blue Bells of Scotland: http://amzn.to/2buiWBV
The Minstrel Boy:http://amzn.to/2b20AqH
The Water is Wide:http://amzn.to/2blfZ6a
Westering Home:http://amzn.to/2a244vZ

(Info provided by author: Food and Feast in the World of the Blue Bells Chronicles: http://amzn.to/2dW3kZ6)

11 comments:

catslady said...

I've not read you as yet but I enjoy the genre and Scotland and time travel.
catslady5(at)aol.com

traveler said...

Lake Superior is like an ocean, powerful, amazing and unique. Your novels would be memorable and special. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

jrlindermuth said...

Those lakes and the woodlands surrounding them sound attractive to me. But, not being a winter lover, it'll have to be summer for me to visit. Wishing you success with your writing.

petite said...

Thanks for your informative and interesting post ab out Minnesota and your writing which interests me greatly. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

Renaissance Women said...

I grew up just south of you in Illinois. Like you say, many people forget the impact these border states between east and west had on our country's history.

I wish you all the best on this series and congratulations on the book coming out this winter. angelarainesauthor @ gmail dot com.

Linda Swift said...

I enjoyed reading your interesting post, Laura. I have to confess that Minnesota is one of the few states I haven't visited but now I would like to do so (in summer). I have visited Scotland more than once and enjoy reading about it so I'm sure I'd enjoy your books. I wish you much success with these and all your writing.
Linda LSwiftR@aol.com

Radine Trees Nehring said...

John--enjoy Minnesota in the summer! My husband and I camped in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area one summer. Beautiful area, cool enough to enjoy camping. Radine

Amy Reade said...

I loved your post, filled with history, humor, and enticing books. Best of luck with your series!

Carly Carson said...

I don't think I've ever been to MN, but I do love Scotland. I could scarcely get by the line about 9 children!

Debbie Kump said...

Laura, I love your reference to Minnesota's license plate! I first learned of the fallacy of the "10,000" Lakes when volunteering at the Minnesota Zoo and am always amazed by the vastness of Minnesota's shoreline compared to states like California, Florida, and Hawaii who are actually located along the coast. Like you, I find MInnesota's winters an amazing setting for a novel and wish you the best of luck with your writing! Thanks so much for sharing these interesting facts about our state.

The World of the Blue Bells Trilogy said...

Hello, and thank you for all the kind comments. I apologize for not answering. The last week or so turned hectic.

Renaissance Women, I lived in Illinois, too--Belleville--for three years. I've driven through it many times.

jrlindermuth, yes, I can see summer being more to many people's taste! ;-) Summer IS really beautiful here, and I think we appreciate it all the more for the contrast to winter.

It's great to hear how many have been to Scotland!