Award-winning Delicate Armor (Heron Bay Publishing, 2014) is Connie Claire Szarke’s debut novel. A work of literary, historical fiction, it received the 2014 Jeannette Fair Book Award for Fiction by a Minnesota Woman Author, and Midwest Book Award Finalist.
A Stone for Amer is the 2nd novel, followed by Lady in the Moon, 2016, which creates a trilogy.
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Szarke grew up in Slayton, southwestern Minnesota, amid small towns, farms, woods, myriad sloughs, lakes, and rolling prairies. Her grandfather, Victor G. Peterson, and her father, Clair D. Peterson, a former Murray County Auditor, were renowned trapshooters in the area. She also spent much time in the Brainerd Central Lakes area of Minnesota: Pine River, Nisswa, Pequot and Cross Lakes.
Szarke’s graduate degrees in French and Art were from St. Cloud State University and the University of Minnesota. A career teacher at Chaska Senior High School, she supervised students at the Model United Nations assembly in Winnipeg, Canada, organized travel-study programs to France, and served as on-site coordinator in Paris for law graduate students in international dispute resolution, arbitration, and mediation for several summers.
Szarke’s literary, historical, semi-autobiographical fiction, nonfiction, and poetry have won prizes and appeared in the following anthologies and magazines: Stories Teachers Tell, Dust & Fire, Lake Country Journal Magazine, Community Connections, The Minnesota Project, The Cub of the Golden Lion Passes in Review for Veterans of the 106th Infantry Division, survivors of the Battle of the Bulge, and The Talking Stick, volumes 14-18, placing first in the 2009 competition and first in the 2010 Bloomington Creekside poetry competition.
A lifelong classical pianist, Szarke also enjoys skiing in the Rockies and kayaking with her Shetland Sheepdogs on a bay west of the Twin Cities, where she lives and writes, inspired by the natural world.
Lake Shetek ~ Tepeeotah
“When he gives me a hug, all the smells of the day come together: pipe tobacco, oil on whetstone, lake water, bullheads, and the sweat on my dad’s shirt.”
~ Delicate Armor