Must Meet AND Read Monday: April W. Gardner

April W. Gardner

Morning, everyone! Today I am pleased to introduce you to, April Gardner.

April resides in Georgia with her USAF husband and two sweet kiddos. In her free time, she enjoys reading, gardening, and DIY. In no particular order, she dreams of owning a horse, visiting all the national parks, and speaking Italian.
Librarian, reviewer, and avid reader, April adores anything books. She writes a regular column for the joint blog, Reflections in Hindsight, and is the founder and senior editor of the website, Clash of the Titles. She is the author of the best-selling novel, Wounded Spirits.

I met April through a mutual friend, Michelle Massaro, and through COTT (Clash of the Titles). If you haven’t checked it out, you should. It’s a literary website where authors compete and readers judge! Tons of fun!

Everyone, meet April. April, meet everyone! Tell us about your first novel?       

My first published novel is Wounded Spirits, which is set in 1813 during the Creek Indian War in what is now Alabama.

I had the pleasure of reading Wounded Spirits when I won a drawing on a blog! I loved the book, felt like I was right there with them as they experienced war…and love! Sigh. 🙂 How did you come up with the idea for this book?

I grew up hearing that my many times great-grandfather was Chief Red Eagle/William Weatherford. Turns out, he’s probably not, but I still cherish as my own the stories of his bravery in the face of Jackson’s overpowering army. It was the story of his extraordinary leap from the bluff that made me wish to read the account in novel-form.

I’d never written more than a high school paper, but I figured that if this particular story was ever going to be written, why not do it myself? Eight years later, I held the book in my hands.

I loved that this book was set to real events. Which character was the toughest to write?                                                                                                       

Zachariah was probably the toughest. I have nothing in common with him, and he’s been through some pretty horrific stuff. Stuff I could only take a stab at imagining. How a person might respond emotionally, physically, and spiritually wasn’t the easiest to create. I pray I did it justice!

You did! My heart broke with him and cheered with him. Even though you haven’t been through some of the things Zachariah went through, would you say a little piece of yourself is in one or all the characters or not?                              

I actually try to steer clear of putting myself into my characters. It probably comes down to the fact that I’m a very private person, and even if no one ever knew that that particular part of my heroine was a look into myself, it still makes me uncomfortable. Yeah, I’m weird.

That makes sense. Now when we read we’ll always get the mystery of wondering if a little piece is you or not. At least the stalker in me will! What do you find most rewarding about writing and most challenging?                        

Most rewarding? Creating worlds and people to fill them. Most challenging? Returning to my own! I love every bit of my real life, but there’s something addicting about stepping into my pretend world. Once there, I get sucked in. Kinda like Facebook. Lol!

As they say in MS, “You ain’t just whistlin Dixie!” Or at least I think they say that here, I’ve never actually heard anyone but myself. I think all writers would have to agree. Stepping into storyworld is like crack.  Don’t even get me started on fb!

Tell us 3 random fun facts about yourself!                                                                           

  • I can solve a Rubik’s cube. It takes me about ten minutes, but I can do it!
  • I’ve visited 24 different countries on three different continents. Lived in five of them.    
  •  I frequently choke while drinking or swallowing my own spit, and, yes, it’s embarrassing.

 ROFL!! We’re going to have to Skype so I can experience the choking. 🙂 I couldn’t solve a Rubik’s cube if a gun was pointed to my head. 

If you could live off one food for the rest of your life, what would you choose?    

Rice. Love all forms of rice. Maybe because I was born in Asia?

That’s the only reason I would think , lol!
 What have you learned about the craft that you would like to pass on to other writers? 

I’ve learned that there is never an end to learning! Just when you think you’re arriving, bam! You realize how much further you have to go. Recently, I discovered author K.M. Weiland’s website. She’s a talented author who has boat loads of great tips for writers.

Thanks for sharing the tips and the website! Great advice. April, it’s been so much fun and I know everyone has had a blast getting to know you. What are some other ways they can connect with you?                                                         

I love to hear from my readers! You can reach me on Facebook, at my site  or at Clash of the Titles

Awesome! Just my own little plug here, Clash of the Titles has unpubbed weeks and it’s great exposure! I won my round and semi-finaled in the final clash. It was through semi-finals that I met my dear friend, and clash buddy, Jodie Bailey!

Here’s a sneak peek of Wounded Spirits and April has a question for you!

“On the frontier, Adela McGirth’s life is simple, rugged, and exactly to her liking. Her greatest concern is whether to marry the settlement’s most eligible young officer. When a distant war among the Natives spills over into a nearby skirmish, life takes a perilous turn. Deep in enemy territory Adela must choose between the man she loves and a baby that has yet to be born.
A peace-loving yet loyal Creek warrior, Totka is forced to align with the extremist Red Stick faction whose purpose is to eradicate the Whites from Creek soil. In the midst of battle, Totka is assigned to protect those he is expected to hate–and kill. Life was simpler before his enemy became a beautiful face with a quiet strength and dignity he cannot resist.
Having lived a life plagued with death and loss, Zachariah McGirth is a man on a mission – he’ll have his revenge or die trying. Blinded by grief, he can’t see his way clear of yet another tragedy. Why has God taken everything from him…or has He?”


How old were you when you discovered the love of reading, and which novel was it that first impacted you?

22 thoughts on “Must Meet AND Read Monday: April W. Gardner

  1. Hey, it's two of my favorite people! =) Great interview, Jessica. April, I'm dying to make you choke on your spit now, lol. And guess what–I can solve a rubik's cube too! It's been years though, so I'd need to brush up. But at the pinnacle of my "career" I think I solved it in under five minutes. (I could so take you!) lol

    I can't remember the FIRST book, but I loved the chronicles of Narnia as a kid. Still do. Amazing, amazing books that deeply impacted me. Such spiritual depth! =)

  2. What a great interview! Very funny!!

    How old was I and which book? Yikes, I don't know. I think my favorite classic I read growing up was and still is The Great Gatsby. But as far as genre reading, my favorite to read when I was younger was Patricia Cornwell. My mom introduced me to her and I've been in love with crime and suspense novels ever since.

  3. Great interview!

    April, it's so nice to meet you. I will definitely be hopping over to visit your blog and clash of titles.
    Also, Wounded Spirits looks awesome! I'm going to have to check this book out.

    Jessica, thanks for sharing. You still make me laugh! :o)

    I was 6 or 7 when I first wrote my own story and don't laugh, but the book that inspired me to write was Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It's the same book that made me fall in love with farming and was my first "real size" book to read from cover to cover. I've been reading and writing ever since.

  4. Wonderful interview. I recognized names mentioned…Michelle and K.M..

    A Wrinkle in Time did it for me.

    Feels good to be back. 😉
    ~ Wendy

  5. Good morning, all! So glad to be at Jessica's blog today. You're on with that rubik's cube, Michelle! Actually, you could probably give me a few pointers. I always get hung up on the last four corners. I end up solving them by accident, which is terribly aggravating. i want to understand exactly how to get them there.

  6. Heather, I'm off to read The Great Gatsby. It's set in the 20's right? My next project (just starting research) is set in 1916, so I bet TGG would be ideal to get my brain in the right time frame. Thanks for the unintentional research aid! lol!

  7. Hi Sheri! I think it's amazing that you were 6 when you wrote your first story. At 6 I was still trying to write my name (dyslexia) and hating all things reading-related. Around the age of 12, I picked up my first "real" book–Little House in the Big Woods. My older sister loved to read, and I thought she was nuts until I struggled through the first chapter of that book. From that day forward, I haven't stopped reading. So Laura Ingles Wilder hold a special place in my heart. She basically (out of my desperation to know her stories!) taught me to read. Thanks for stopping by. It was nice to get to know you.

  8. Hi Wendy! Thanks for swinging by to chat! Have you read K.M.? I just discovered her and now claim her to be my all time favorite author. I want to write like her. She's my hero!!

  9. So nice to meet April!

    I really enjoyed the interview. It's not every day you meet someone who can actually solve the Rubik's cube. LOL

  10. Great interview April…and Jess!

    Little House on the Prairie did it for me. I think I was eight when I read the first one. Completely hooked on story world after that. 🙂

  11. Great interview!

    I was in the 2nd grade and found Charlotte's Web.

    By 5th grade I loved The Hobbit.

  12. Thanks for stopping by, Jennifer! Lacie, I'm continually amazed at how many young lives Laura Wilder impacted. Lorie, no matter how many time I read the book, Charlotte still makes me cry!
    Good to meet you all!

  13. This books sounds great. Always been interested in American History, and actually studied the Native Americans while at school – what an amazing culture they had! Will have to check this out.

  14. I believe I've always loved stories, but the lonliness of adolescence pushed me to explore longer novels at an early age.

    My first long piece that I still like to slip away to today is, The Secret Garden.

    Great interview ladies!

  15. Hi D.U.! Was there a particular tribe of native that you studied? Yes, such amazing and varied cultures among them!
    Tamika, thanks for sharing your favorite with us! I remember reading The Secret Garden as a kid. It was my first bit of exposure to the British Raj. I was so fascinated! Still love it to this day.

  16. Great interview, Jessica! Thoroughly enjoyed getting to know April and read a bit about her novel. It's always fun being introduced to other sites as well!

    Thanks for stopping by Life Lessons! I love it when a theme is repeated on several blogs – I don't need to wonder if God is trying to get my attention in a certain area! Thanks for the sweet words of encouragement. Have a fantastic week and God bless! 🙂

  17. I realized how much I loved reading when I was seven, could read and my mom said she wouldn't read me stories anymore.

    To be honest, all the books I've ever read impact me in some way, but strangely enough, the first on that impacted me would be the encyclopedia volume that held the index. It was just wonderful for me to think that I had access to all that knowledge and particularly history. I think my story telling ability came from there, because I tried imagining what it was like in the old days and it's also where I started reading mythology.


  18. 10 minutes for a Rubik's cube! Are you kidding? That's incredible!! I wouldn't even be able to do it if I had a week!

    I loved this interview. It was one of the first where someone had read the book and was able to comment all throughout (at least the first one I read). That made me heart it even more!

    I still have the first novel I ever received signed. I was 11 and was dying for the book The Red Heels by Robert D. San Souci. I didn't know at the time I wanted to be a writer… but I should have.

    Love your blog! I'll be back for more awesome for sure!

  19. Misha, I think it's fantastic that you fell in love with the encyclopedia's index. Access to history is always top of my list of priorities too!
    Jen, I'm a firm believe in anyone being able to learn how to solve a rubix cube. I just set my mind to it and (along with a little help from google) decided to understand how it worked. You should give it a try! It's quite satisfying. Thanks for stopping by ladies! It's great to meet you all.

  20. Hey everyone! So glad you came by to gab with April!

    I loved reading about the books the impacted you most. I think as a small child, the Ramona series really gave me a love for books and Fudge. (the book not the candy, although it is delectible)

    As a teen, I say this often, Sweet Valley High, gave me a love for romance, mystery, and triangles. Probably why I write them. And Jessica was my favorite character because Liz was such a goody-goody! 🙂

    Jen: Thanks for happening upon the blog! Your welcome back any time. Just like Mr. Kotter! Uh oh, I'm telling my age.

    April, thanks for taking time to come by and chat about your book and hang out with everyone. Aren't they awesome?

  21. Sounds like a really neat book. Also, a rubix cube? I didn't know they were actually solveable! haha

    Nice interview.

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