Monday, January 2, 2012

Interview with Historical Fiction Author April Gardner

April Gardner has been a military brat, missionary's kid, and military spouse. After 21 years in various countries overseas, April happily resides in Georgia with her USAF husband and two sweet kiddos. In her free time, she enjoys reading, organizing, and DIY. In no particular order, she dreams of owning a horse, visiting all the national parks, and speaking Italian.

Wounded Spirits is a powerful story of love, loyalty, the effects of war, and faith in God. The writing is vivid and compelling. The characters were so real I felt I knew them, and I was caught up in their lives and compelled to read on. The ending was sweet yet realistic. The story and its characters will stay with me for a long time.” --Author Melanie Dickerson

Hello, April. You have a new series called "Creek Country Saga." Please tell us about the first book, Wounded Spirits.

In 1813, Alabama is called Mississippi Territory and the furthest west Americans dare to go. Those who choose to live there do so at their own risk. Adela McGirth and her family are no exception. They are swept away by fervor of the Red Sticks as the warriors attempt to cleanse their land of encroaching whites.

A loyal warrior, Totka takes scalps with little compunction. When beautiful and courageous Adela is placed in his charge, his hands are already bloody with guilt. He’s certain she could never love him. He’s the enemy, after all, and the source of her grief.

Wow! I love historical fiction. Where did you get your inspiration 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 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 I could 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.

The second book is called Warring Spirits. What is it about?

I’m so glad you asked! Warring Spirits just released in November and is already getting some great reviews. It picks up two years after Wounded Spirits. Here’s the back cover blurb: In 1816 Georgia, escaped slaves control the land just beyond the American border in Las Floridas. Lost somewhere between white and black worlds, Milly follows hope to the only place that can offer her refuge—the place Georgians are calling Negro Fort. The first, sweet taste of freedom convinces Milly that surrender is not an option. Death would be more welcome.

Major Phillip Bailey has orders to subdue the uprising and return the runaways to their masters. Forced to fight alongside Creek warriors—the same who etched the scars into his mind and flesh—Phillip primes himself for battle. But inside, a war already rages—return for the woman he thought lost to him, or concede her to the enemy she loves; follow orders or follow his heart.

A Reviewer wrote, “The adventures are so smoothly crafted, the history so wonderfully woven, it's easy to forget that the story and the characters are fiction.” Another reviewer said, “In Wounded Spirits, author April W. Gardner, brings a little-known American historic period and native people to rich imaginative life. Not enough has been written about the noble Creek and their mighty Confederacy.” What kind of research did you have to do to create this story and keep it accurate?

Years and years of it! LOL! But it was so much fun. I have a huge stack of great books including Pickett’s “History of Alabama.” If there was ever an entertaining history book, this is it. Pickett has such a way of writing that his book reads like a story, and it was written during the lifetime of many of the figures he mentions, so he got his facts straight from the “horse’s” mouth. I have Pickett to thank for quite a few of the interesting accounts in Wounded Spirits.

That’s interesting. Thanks for an awesome interview. Okay, now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

I can solve a Rubik’s cube. It takes me about ten minutes, but I can do it! It’s my only claim to braininess. 

Hahaha! That’s really something. My husband tried to figure it out several times and it was so hard. He loves a challenge. We both agreed that it must take a genius to figure that thing out. So now we know the real you! The Rubik’s Cube Genius!


April W Gardner said...

Hi Linda! Thanks for having me here today. I'm looking forward to giving away a copy of Wounded Spirits! Happy New Year everyone!

Tracy Krauss said...

Since reading the first chapter of Wounded Spirits in the 'Taste and See' anthology I am definitely adding it to my MUST READ list for 2012. Winning a copy would be super!

Darlene said...

Rubik's Cube has always stumped me. I used to be able to get about 4 sides done and then I'd be stuck.

Thanks for the giveaway!

darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com

Marianne said...

i would love to claim a native or first nations as my ancestor, too! But i wouldn't write about him, just read about him. So, why do you think he's probably not in your personal heritage? i would love to win this book, but will need to check it out if i don't win. Thanks for the opportunity,Linda and April.


Deborah H. Bateman said...

Thanks for sharing April's book. It does sound like it would be a book I would enjoy reading.

ruthhill74 said...

It sounds good to me. Please enter me.

Mozi Esmé said...

As an MK myself, it was fun reading April's background...

janemaritz at yahoo dot com

misskallie2000 said...

Hi April, I was born and raised in Georgia and love all books about Georgia so I know I will love your books. I love this time period and the history of the South so looking forward to reading your books. Thanks for stopping by to chat and share with us. I have never been able to get the Rubik's Cube mystery solved.
Thanks for the opportunity to enter giveaway Linda.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Gail Pallotta said...

Hi April and Linda,
Thanks for the nice interview. I have a copy of April's new book and look forward to reading it.

April W Gardner said...

Marianne: we believe Red Eagle (William Weatherford) must be related to us somehow because my Weatherfords lived in the same area of Alabama during the time he did, but we still haven't been able to link up directly. Very odd. We might be related through his brother, but no one has had the time to investigate that possibility.
Mozi: Always good to meet another MK!
Linda: Even if you don't win, being from GA, I know you'd love these books. Such rich history here in ancient Creek Country! And no one even knows about it.
Gail: Good to see you here! Thanks for your support.
Tracy: Glad you liked the first chapter of Wounded! The "Taste and See" book is a wonderful thing!

Linda said...

I absolutely love stories of the West. Are the memories of your Grandfather part of this series (though you don't think he was a chief)? I didn't realize Warring Spirits is a sequel to Wounded Spirits. Would love to win this one!

desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

April W Gardner said...

I think you might have my connection to Red Eagle backwards. He WAS the chief, but probably not my great, great+++ grandfather. But the majority of Red Eagle's accounts in Wounded Spirits are accurate to historical record. :-)
I got your FIRST email and will be sending you a copy of, Warring Spirits for the tour. Keep your fingers crossed about Wounded Spirits!

Kat said...

Sounds like a great book, I'd love to read it!

katsaddress AT Gmail. DOT com

RW1010 said...

Wow! WOUNDED SPIRITS sounds like a real page turner! I've always loved 'pioneer days' books. I would love to win a copy. Thank you!
Happy New Year!
Robin in NC
RW620 AT aol DOT com

LAWonder said...

My husband was raised in the south and he is part Indian (At least 3 tribes we know of).
I am excited not only to read your books but to find Picketts History of Alabama. We can find no information on his Indian ancestors and his genealogy. We haven't thought to look into the southern states history books. I love historical romance and of course, interaction between Indians and the settlers. I hope to win a book.

Renee G said...

I love that her family history inspired her in part to write this--- even if it wasn't true.

April W Gardner said...

LAWonder, Picket's History of Alabama isn't copyrighted so you can find most of it online, here:
Since we're talking about Alabama, I wanted take this opportunity to say...ROLL TIDE!! :-D

Judy said...

Your books look very good, something I would definitely enjoy. Thanks for the opportunity to win.

Great interview.


karenk said...

i'm interested in reading this novel...thanks foar the chance :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

chirth7 said...

I think that is so awesome that you have written history from your Grandfather and Father. I lost both of mine when I was a teen. I wish I would have learned about their life before I came along. There's so many stories I would have loved to hear from both my Father and Grandfather. I know nothing of their past. So I am real interested in reading your stories, both books. I love historical especially when it's based on some fact. I love to read about times gone by mostly if it's related to American History. You read a book and you get transported there and can really feel the pain and even the happiness in the simple things that we take for granted.

Thanks for sharing your book with us today. Thanks Linda for having him and this contest. :)

Linda Weaver Clarke said...

Congratulations, Tracy Krauss! You're the winner of this awesome book. I know you'll enjoy it. Thanks, everyone, for stopping by. Please come back often. Each week I have a new book giveaway.

LAWonder said...

I love Historical Romance and other historical books. I would love to own and review "Wounded Spirit". It sounds like an awesome book!

LAWonder said...

Oops! I published my comment about winning "Wounded Spirit" but forgot to include my e-mail.