I am so pleased to welcome April Gardner to the blog today!
APRIL W GARDNER writes history with a Christian perspective and a little imagination.
She is a copyeditor, military wife, and homeschooling mother of two who lives in Texas. She writes Christian historical romance with a focus on our Southeastern Native tribes. In no particular order, April dreams of owning a horse, learning a third language, and visiting all the national parks.
Her newest book, Bitter Eyes No More, released February 7th and is the 4th book in her Creek Country Saga series (but is itself a single, complete story)
A man of abiding honor, tested by a woman of ruinous passion. A woman of unspeakable sins, pursued by a God of unquenchable mercy.
Spanish Florida once sheltered Lillian McGirth from her fears. Now, it feeds them. Mercy is for the deserving; for Lillian, an unwed mother accused of treason, there is only battering and defeat, but her fall breaks softly in the arms of an unexpected arrival, a man too beautiful of soul to stain with her lost character.
Captain Marcus Buck sails in on a pledge to save Miss McGirth from herself and from her child’s father, a ruthless don. All the while, he’s to regard her as virtuous and worthy of protection and to guard said virtue from pilfering. But the terms are flawed since he must first guard her from himself. Regardless, he is determined. He will free her, repair her name—simple labor compared to dodging the army’s noose, mending wounds three years deep, and navigating a host of rebel Natives bent on inflicting more.
Through the steady crumble of his pledge, their friendship becomes a consolation, for she knows his pain as no other can or will. Their scars are one; their paths, however, might irrevocably become two…
Hi April! Welcome to the blog 🙂 I’m so honored to be chatting with you today! I start all of my guests out with a fast four:
April: Apples! Preferably Fuji. I’m too lazy to peel oranges.
Carrie: haha! I hear that!
April: When I lived in England, summer. In Texas, I’m much preferring my 70-degree-average winter!
Carrie: Ugh!! Too hot for me lol.
April: Dogs because they adore me. 🙂
Carrie: My dog Zuzu says, “Well of course we do!”
April: Coffee, but England taught me a great appreciation for all kinds of teas. Why coffee? Because it’s comforting (nothing at all to do with addiction, folks! hehe).
Carrie: Coffee does seem to be a prerequisite for authorhood. lol.
Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
April: Growing up, my recurring dream was being able to fly. When I was in first grade, I became convinced this was a real ability and for several days went running through the house, taking flying leaps only to be disappointed with the results. It was so impactful a notion, I can still feel that conviction like it was yesterday. So hands down, if I could pick a superpower, I’d fly!
Carrie: Well and that would be just all kinds of awesome, too!
Which books are “on your nightstand”?
April: Fun question! Currently, I have a four-book stack on my nightstand.
- A 1979 edition of Louis L’Amour’s Bendigo Shafter. My dad mailed it to me from Spain (where he lives) because it has a Native American theme, so it’s super special.
- William Bartram on the Southeastern Indians (research book). Bartram was a naturalist and a contemporary of my early 1800s Southeastern settings. He toured the area before whites influenced it, then wrote about it extensively. The info I get from him is highly accurate and valuable. Yes, I’m a history nerd.
- Settle for More by Megyn Kelly. Another gift from my dad! I haven’t started it, so I’m not sure what to expect with it, except that it’s probably good since Dad recommended it.
- The Chicago Manual of Style. I read a couple pages from it every night. Yes, I’m a grammar nerd, too. 🙂
- My kindle! Right now, I’m reading Broken Butterfly by Cindy Patterson. I’m only 8% in, but so far, it’s really good!
Carrie: I have the AP Stylebook on my nightstand so … yeah… I get it LOL.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever Googled while researching a book?
April: There have been some crazy topics to cross my desktop, but the one that comes to mind first is the 1700s-enema syringe. My latest hero is an 1818 army surgeon who pioneers blood transfusions. I needed the history of syringes. In case you were wondering enema syringes do NOT work for blood transfusions… Haha!
Carrie: Do I want to know what they DO work for? Hmmm… Probably not haha!!
I am completely enraptured by Bitter Eyes No More’s premise. Both main characters find themselves in pretty impossible – and seemingly irredeemable – situations. What inspired you to write their story?
April: Yes, they do! The historical event was the basis for the plot. It’s a rich setting and a such a tragic period that it lent plenty of conflict on its own. But I did try to come up with the most complex way to portray it. Shoving the main characters into the center of all that cultural and political upheaval did precisely that. I got them into as deep of water as I could and let them flounder. I’m so cruel!
Carrie: I’m convinced all writers have a cruel side – the side that likes to torture their characters and their readers 😉 LOL
Between Lillian and Marcus, which character surprised you the most once you started writing this novel?
April: Probably Marcus because he eluded me like no body’s business. Going in, I thought I knew him, but nope! Marcus is like ogres and onions—they all have layers. Took me a while to unpeel Marcus’s to get down to the core of who he was, but I finally managed it, and now, I feel confident he was worth all the effort!
Carrie: haha! I laughed out loud at this part of your answer – “Marcus is like ogres and onions—they all have layers.” What a great phrase!
What do you most want readers to take away from Bitter Eyes No More?
April: My passions are history and Jesus’s redemptive power, so that’s what my readers will find in Bitter Eyes. Most readers will be unfamiliar with Fort San Marcos of Apalachee and the events that took place there in 1818-19, but that forgotten corner of Florida changed the course of American history.
The spiritual themes are mercy and justice. Lillian seeks mercy for her many sins. Marcus seeks justice for having been press-ganged by the British Navy. Both are attributes of God that shine loud and clear throughout the story. This is the scripture etched into Justice, Marcus’s sword: Thus, speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother. (Zechariah 7:9)
Carrie: History and redemption – two of my very fave things as well! I can’t wait to read this book!
April, thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.
April: I’m already hard at work on the second book in the Drawn by the Frost Moon Trilogy, Love the War Woman. It will follow the life of Fierce Mink, a war woman who is bodyguard to Chief Tall Bull. He is every unwed woman’s desire, and she is not exception, but he is far too prestigious to bind his life to the “husband killer.” The story’s tagline: Love him, shield him, die for him. They are one and the same. Readers of Bitter Eyes will be introduced to both of these characters!
Thanks for having me, Carrie! Loved these questions. Fun times!
April Gardner is giving away a digital copy of Bitter Eyes No More to one of my readers! This is open internationally, except where prohibited by law. Giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What most interests you about Bitter Eyes No More?