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25 January 2012

Spotlight On April Gardner!

*guest post by Michelle Massaro

(Ms. Davy) was an amazing cheerleader and I lived to make her smile with my stories. Whether I really was or not at that point, she made me believe I was a good writer. 
~ Sr. Editor April Gardner, on who inspired her writing.

Today we get to spend some time with COTT founder April Gardner. April is an amazing author, good friend, and an inspiration to me. She’s a sometime home school mom, a military wife, a talented writer, and a frugal do-it-yourselfer. So I was excited to get to pick her brain! Below are the questions that I always wanted to ask. I’m sure you will find them just as fascinating as I do.

Michelle: April, what was it like growing up with missionary parents?

April: We never lacked for excitement, that's for sure! Some MKs struggle with change, but I never minded it. I was shy and content merely to be with my family; wherever they were, I was happy, no matter the town or country! Growing up in Spain and learning Spanish was one of God's beautiful gifts to me. 

Michelle: That's so cool! Some might be surprised to hear that you are dyslexic. What advice or encouragement would you give to others out there struggling with dyslexia?

April: I'd imagine that most reading this are adults, and by the time dyslexics reach adulthood, they've managed to cope quite well. Having a child with dyslexia, however, was something that took me completely by surprise, surprisingly. LOL From what I hear, it goes through the mother, so odds were pretty good one of my kids would struggle with it. When it comes to dealing with a dyslexic child I've learned three things. 1. Patience is the name of the game! 2. Don't be afraid to reach out for help. 3. There is no shame in being dyslexic or having another learning difficulty.

Michelle: You have now experienced both the public school world and the home school world. What are your observations comparing both? 

April: My most important observation is that God's plan for our children's education is 1. God's plan for us in unique! I cannot compare how others chose to educate their children with our own choices. 2. God's plan for us is not set in stone, never to change. What might be His will one year, might not be the next. We must be flexible and keep our ears tuned to Him. He'll speak most loudly through our kids via their progress, contentment, discipline, and attitude.

Michelle: Great insights! Ok, so what began your fascination with history?

April: Laura Ingells Wilder and her Little House books! They were the first "big" books that held my attention well enough to make reading worth all the effort. I haven't looked back since!

Michelle: I love those books too! You are a military spouse--where have you lived, and which was your favorite place?

April: The military first moved us to Germany. We were 19 years old and newly married. Our tour lasted 7 years. Straight from there, we went to England for four years, and we've currently been in Georgia 2.5 years. Germany holds a very dear place in our hearts for many reasons, but I have felt most content and fulfilled right here in Georgia. God bless the USA!! Boy, it's good to be home. :-)

Michelle: Wow, that sounds so adventurous! And now you're a published author--another adventure! Who first inspired you to pursue publication and writing? Who inspires you today?

April: Several people along the path of my life worked together to inspire me to pick up the pen, but the first was my high school creative writing teacher, Ms. Davy. She was an amazing cheerleader and I lived to make her smile with my stories. Whether I really was or not at that point, she made me believe I was a good writer. Today, it's the drive to reach goals that inspires me. I do love a challenge!!

Michelle: Of the characters you've created, who is your favorite and why?

April: True Seeker, the budding Creek Indian warrior from my latest novel, Warring Spirits, is my favorite character so far. His heart is good and true to his name, he seeks wisdom, honor, and a personal relationship with the Giver and Taker of Breath.

Michelle: I like his character too. But of course, they're all good in my opinion! Besides writing excellent historical romance novels, you also have a lot to share on your blog about managing health issues with diet, frugality, and parenting. Any idea what's coming up in 2012?

April: Great question! LOL My blog is ever changing, but yes, I do tend to focus on those topics. Right now, I'm on an all-natural foods kick, so I'm sure my followers will see more of those tips in the future.

Michelle: Tell us about your recent book releases.

April: Warring Spirits is my latest adult fiction release. It's set in 1816 and is the story of a woman who might be able to hide her African heritage except for her hair, which is a dead give-away. Milly's escape from slavery leads her to the safety of Negro Fort where Major Phillip Bailey, believing her to be white, takes it upon himself to "free" her from the stronghold. At the same time, he's ordered to launch an attack against it. Accomplishing both is a virtual impossibility, especially when the beautiful woman doesn't want to be rescued. Where blood is shed, unexpected love may bloom!

Michelle: I've read it and it's awesome! Head to Amazon you guys,  you won't regret it. April, thanks for answering all my hard-hitting questions today, lol.

Readers, do you have something you'd like to ask April? Let's hear it! And don't forget you can still vote for your favorite Amish Excerpt!
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Lisa Lickel said... Wednesday, 25 January, 2012

Oh! I just KNEW you liked him best. I could tell by the way you were so protective of him.

Great interview!

Anonymous said... Wednesday, 25 January, 2012

Wonderful interview! April, your life sounds so interesting and adventurous...I'm jealous! :)

I'm so eager to read your books. This is one area I feel in which I feel completely overwhelmed. My TBR pile seems to grow instead of shrinking... but I will do myself the favor of reading both of your "Spirits" books - and sooner, rather than later.

Rosslyn Elliott said... Wednesday, 25 January, 2012

April, we've lived in three of the same place--it's nice to know we have that much in common. It was also great to get to know you better. Wow, you have really triumphed over dyslexia by becoming a writer! Thanks for sharing the inspiration.

Christine Lindsay said... Wednesday, 25 January, 2012

I'm sure it must have its challenges---being a military wife, but the chance to see so many other places in the world must be such an inspiration. Wonderful interview. It was so nice to get to know you a little better, April.

Elaine Marie Cooper said... Wednesday, 25 January, 2012

April, what is amazing about you having dyslexia is that, instead of shying away from reading and writing, it seemed to propel you to overcome the obstacle! And look at what you've accomplished! Bravo!

I have never lived outside of the U.S. but you have lived an adventure-filled life with your multiple addresses. Already the Lord has used your varied experiences in your writing with the Lizzie books. I'm certain He will continue to do so!

Blessings on your many writing adventures!

April Gardner said... Wednesday, 25 January, 2012

I went to make dinner and came back to all these lovely comments. Thanks for dropping by, peeps!

Lisa: Wow. You're very insightful! I feel like True Seeker is my own child. That's the oddball writer coming out!

Delia: I'm overwhelmed by my TBR pile too! But I've become more organized about it this year and am feeling better about the whole situation. LOL

Rosslyn: You're an army brat, right? (brat in the nicest sense, of course!) There's nothing like the military to fill one's life with adventure! Any day now, I'm expecting the "deployment call." So, yet another adventure awaits!

Christine: Guess what?! Shadow of the Moon is next on my TBR pile!! I can't wait! Will let you know what I think as it progresses.

Elaine: You're right about overcoming a challenge, but it took me many years to get the courage and confidence to do so. I realize that now as I see my own naturally confident child (I was terribly shy and insecure!) overcoming her challenges. I PRAISE GOD He blessed her with an abundance of determination and strength. Thank you for your kind words. I pray God continues to use me!

MaryLu Tyndall said... Wednesday, 25 January, 2012

Wonderful interview, Michelle! It was so much fun learning about April. I had no idea your life was so interesting and full!!! It's so amazing that you've lived in all those places.. been a Missionary's kid.. homeschool you kids and Write novels!! You put me to shame. Your book sounds awesome. Oddly, in my next release (July), my heroine is one quarter black but nobody can tell. She falls in love with a rich plantation owner in Charleston. I guess great minds think alike! ;-) I wish the best for you in your life and your writing! Hugs, MaryLu

Michelle Massaro said... Wednesday, 25 January, 2012

Thanks everyone, for stopping by! I really enjoyed getting the answers to these questions. =)

MaryLu, I saw you mention your part-black character when I interviewed you last week, and thought how cool is that?

Scribbler said... Wednesday, 25 January, 2012

Like you, I found that living overseae does make us appreciate our home country. Ann Gaylia

April Gardner said... Thursday, 26 January, 2012

Hi MaryLu! What's the name of your next release? I will HAVE to get it. Sounds like my kinda read! And congrats on another release, girl!!

April Gardner said... Thursday, 26 January, 2012

Ann Gaylia, when I read your bio a good while back, I knew if you and I met over coffee, we would never be at a loss of what to talk about. :-)

Julie Arduini said... Thursday, 26 January, 2012

Loved getting to know you better, April. I enjoy meeting people who loved the Little House books as much as I did.

Great interview!

Gail Pallotta said... Thursday, 26 January, 2012

Thanks Michelle and April for the interview. It's great to know more about you, April. I too am a fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder and of natural food. Congratulations on all of your writing successes and the latest book, Warring Spirits.

Joanne Sher said... Thursday, 26 January, 2012

I love the Little House books too - so wonderful to get to know you better, April!

Jessica R. Patch said... Thursday, 26 January, 2012

I loved the Little House books too! And True Seeker. Great, great interview from two of my favorite writers! :)

Jennifer said... Thursday, 26 January, 2012

Love hearing perseverance, overcoming the odds stories. And I loved both your novels! You can write, girl!

April Gardner said... Thursday, 26 January, 2012

Who doesn't just adore the Little House books?! I see I'm in great company.
Gail, I forgot you were a natural foods lover too. We'll have to keep each other posted on our new finds!
Joanne, Jessica, Jennifer (3 awesome J peeps!)--thank you for your kind remarks! Always lovely to see you stopping by COTT.

MaryLu Tyndall said... Friday, 27 January, 2012

April, my next release is called Veil of Pearls.. out in July.

And as chance would have it, I'm also a natural foods lover. Into organic and whole foods.. trying this year to go more vegetarian, much to hubby's dismay!

Item Reviewed: Spotlight On April Gardner! Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Michelle Massaro