Monday, November 12, 2018

Liana Gardner Interview - 7th Grade Revolution

Photo Content from Liana Gardner

Liana Gardner is the award-winning author of 7th Grade Revolution and the Misfit McCabeseries. Daughter of a rocket scientist and an artist, Liana combines the traits of both into a quirky yet pragmatic writer and in everything sees the story lurking beneath the surface. Engaged in a battle against leukemia and lymphoma, Liana spends much of her time at home, but allows her imagination to take her wherever she wants to go.

She fostered her love of writing after reading Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women and discovering she had a great deal in common with the character Jo. The making up of stories, dramatic feelings, and a quick temper were enough for her to know she and Jo would have been kindred spirits.

Liana volunteers with high school students through the International Trade Education Programs (ITEP). ITEP unites business people and educators to prepare students for a meaningful place in the world of tomorrow. Working in partnership with industry and educators, ITEP helps young people “think globally and earn locally.”


Print Length: 285 pages
Publisher: Vesuvian Books (September 24, 2018)
Publication Date: September 24, 2018
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English


"Gardner has created a likable character in Angela, who faces off with the class bully in defense of herself and her best friend. Alternately full of sass and seriousness, Angela quickly learns that writing in her new journal may lead to some unintended consequences, some hilarious and some grave. An enjoyable tween romp about the familiar world of bullies mixed with a bit of magic, this one would be great for a class read or group discussion." Seattle Book Review

"The Journal of Angela Ashby is a middle grade fiction by Liana Gardner and is perfectly written for the target audience. A combination of magic, childhood troubles, social messages, and the need to think before acting is prevalent, and a lesson well ingrained into the pages, There is some good tension building, injections of humour, and character development. Angela and Mallory make a great team, perfectly complementing each other in the way close friends do. This is certainly a book I will read with my son when he is older, as I think it instills some important lessons and values,much like the old 80's and 90's cartoons used to do. While the book itself has a clear beginning and end, there are hints that a sequel may follow, and it's certainly something I would consider picking up. If you're looking for a story of friendship, childhood problems, and a healthy sprinkling of magic in everyday life, then look no further." K.J. Simmill, Award-Winning British Author

"The Journal of Angela Ashby by Liana Gardner is a charming story of action and consequence. Gardner presents her characters and their problems with an equal touch of magic and reality. This allows the message of the tale to come through while entertaining instead of preaching. Gardner does a great job of taking what could be a clich├ęd story and putting a few twists in it to keep it fresh and humorous." Kris Moger, Readers' Favorite

"The Journal of Angela Ashby is an engaging and fun coming-of-age story about a twelve-year-old girl who is suddenly the possessor of great power. I loved following as Angela began to appreciate her journal's powers and realized the importance of carefully considering everything she wished for.Throughout the story, Gardner addresses the issue of bullies and bullying, which is something all kids and most adults have to deal with at some point, and she shows how Angela learns to differentiate between solving the problem and descending into bullying behavior herself.Gardner also admirably addresses the stress and confusion felt by kids and tweens when their mom and dad get divorced. The Journal of Angela Ashby is a marvelous fantasy that brings up real-life issues without lowering the magic and fun potential for a moment, and Sam Shearon's illustrations really make it all come alive most brilliantly." Jack Magnus, Author

Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?
When I was 9, I had just finished reading a book that didn’t satisfy me. It wasn’t that there was anything in particular wrong with the book, but it wasn’t exciting enough and I didn’t connect with the characters in the way I thought I should. A group of friends and I talked about it, and we decided that all the books written for our age group were either talking down to us, because of course we felt far more mature than our age, or had older characters who acted immature. So we decided to write a book together and it was going to be fantastic!!! We chatted about what we wanted the book to be, and were supposed to take turns doing the writing … except I’m the only one who put words down on the page. But I learned that I loved diving into other character’s worlds and could spend hours there entertaining myself.

What is your happiest childhood memory?
My childhood was pretty idyllic and I have so many happy memories it’s hard to put one above another—building forts, playing tag, dodgeball, hide and seek, having sleep-overs, etc. with the whole neighborhood. But I guess I’d have to say the birthday when we went to the Grand Canyon. My mom always made these fantastic three-dimensional cakes and one of the best parts of our birthday was to get to pick exactly what that cake was going to be. Up to that point in my life (I think I was six or seven), the only “Barbie” dolls I had were hand-me-downs from the next door neighbor, and I loved dolls (always making up stories about them), so I wanted a doll cake, but I thought I would have to wait until we got back, because wizard that she was, even my mom wouldn’t be able to bake a cake in a motel room. I remember the lights being turned off before she brought the cake out, and my very first brand-new Barbie doll with a huge cake hoop skirt lit only by the glow of the candles. It was an enchanting moment.

What made you decide to write books for children?
Writing for children was never something intentional. I’ve always said I write the stories that come to me. I suppose one day an adult character could show up with a story for me to write, but so far it’s all been kids. The possibilities for stories about kids are far more interesting to me as well. The emotions, situations, potential for growth all call to me, along with hope. Adults have often stifled their wonder, emotions, shoving everything down to “face reality” … and who wants to do that? I also write characters who hopefully connect with the reader—someone they can see some of themselves in. Sometimes that makes all the difference.

What was the most memorable toy you played with from when you were little?
Well, I dragged a pink stuffed dog with me everywhere as a child and the world would stop if it were lost or getting washed, but as far as a toy, I’d have to say a chess set. As a child I was frequently sick and had to stay indoors a lot and what got me through were my books and the chess set. Now, I don’t have any clue how to play chess … well, I have a vague idea, but the actual rules bored me compared to my game. When I read Through the Looking Glass for the first time it was amazing. Lewis Carroll understood how to play chess. His stories were different than mine, but the concept of the pieces personified and players in the game were the same.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
Goodness. This is a tough question for me because I learned more through reading on my own than I did in school. I’d have to say the most valuable thing I learned was recognizing that the truly great teachers I had, had some common traits, the biggest commonality was they taught the individual and not to a test or by standard texts. From that I learned if you take the time to get to know someone, you have the knowledge to help bring out their best. Not everyone learns the same, and until we adjust our education system to allow for teaching to bring out the best in the individual instead of to a standard, our education system will fail us.

In your new book; THE JOURNAL OF ANGELA ASHBY, can you tell my Book Nerd Kids Community a little about it.
Twelve-year-old Angela Ashby has a pretty good life, except she feels like she never gets to see her parents since their divorce because mom is working all the time and dad is too busy with his new wife, who Angela cannot stand. She is also tired of the way the bullies at her school pick on her friends. But then, during a school carnival, a mysterious fortune-teller gives Angela a journal and whatever she writes in it comes true. Once she realizes the power of the journal, she uses it to stop the bullies in their tracks and to get her parents back together, so things can be the same as they were before. Only things go wrong and her best friend isn’t talking to her, her favorite teacher is about to lose her job, and she’s going to destroy an important part of her family when the journal is stolen. Angela must get the journal back before she loses everything she holds dear.

What part of Angela did you enjoy writing the most?
Without a doubt, writing the parts with Tatiana, or T as she calls herself later in the book, were my favorite. Who wouldn’t love writing the part of a farting fairy?

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
My first thought when reading this question was a character from The Journal of Angela Ashby into another of my books. In which case I would introduce Mallory into the Misfit McCabe series because I think Katie could really benefit from a friend like her. But when thinking about any other book, I’d have to say, move over Tinkerbell … I’d love to see T in Neverland dropping a big ol’ stink bomb on Captain Hook and Smee.

What was the most magical thing that happened while writing THE JOURNAL OF ANGELA ASHBY?
The most magical thing while writing The Journal of Angela Ashby was Tatiana. Up to that point in the book I had written a gnome and a unicorn, but they both faded quickly. Once Tatiana arrived, she simply refused to go away and her story line developed in such an unexpected way. The moments with T and Mallory are simply put, pure magic.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
I love this question because it is so near and dear to my heart. The advice I want to give all readers is to follow your passions and don’t let obstacles keep you from achieving your goals. As an author with leukemia and lymphoma and currently undergoing chemotherapy, I can say I’ve had to deal with a few obstacles. For far too long, I listened to people who told me that writing wasn’t a way to support myself, or that it was too difficult to get the elusive unicorn of a book deal. Then one day I finally decided enough … writing is what I want to do. Beyond making me happy, I feel my stories have value to my readers, so I pursued my dreams. The road is never like an open highway, but I wouldn’t have my journey any other way. The obstacles are there to be overcome as we prove to not only ourselves, but the universe how much we want to achieve our goals.

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a kid?
I’ve always had a fondness for the 1930s and I would have liked to have been a child during that time. Just post Great Depression in the US, it was a time of hope and courage as this country pulled itself out of the ashes. Horizons opened and possibilities were endless. Life was a great adventure.

Name one thing you miss about being a kid.
The stretching of time. As a kid time stretches before you in an almost endless supply, but the older you get, the shorter that time becomes because it is consumed by deadlines and obligations. Not many adults take the time to lay on the grass on a warm summer day to gaze at the clouds and wonder.

If you could have any 6th sense, what would it be?
Hmmm, while ghostbusting does appeal, I think I’d have to go with being able to understand what trees are saying. Trees help me feel peace and since we know talking to plants can influence their growth, it presupposes language ability and I think trees would be wise and I’d love to hear some of their wisdom.

In one sentence, how would you sum up the internet?
The internet is the biggest repository of information and misinformation that connects people from all walks of life to express their views behind the veil of supposed anonymity. 

What is your greatest adventure?
I’m in the middle of it now—life is the biggest adventure there is. The question is: Are you going to join in or sit on the sidelines. I’m all in.

What was your favorite book as a child and why?
This is always the hardest question for me to answer. I have always consumed books and re-read several over the years. Depending on my age, it could be Harriet the Spy, Little Women, The Chatterlings, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, Heidi, Tom Sawyer, The Phantom Tollbooth, The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, Encyclopedia Brown, or almost any book of Agatha Christie’s—though I was more partial to Miss Marple and Tommy & Tuppence mysteries than Poirot as a child.

I don’t believe in writer’s block because if you tell yourself you’re blocked, you will be. But sometimes the work isn’t flowing quite the way I would like, so I use the below techniques to get the creative juices flowing at a better speed.
  • 1. Listen to music
  • 2. Go for a walk
  • 3. Take a bath
  • 4. Get a massage
  • 5. Read
  • 6. Research
  • 7. Clear the mind through meditation
  • 8. Watch a show
  • 9. Stare at the ceiling — I have projectors that display pretty colors on the ceiling
  • 10. Do mundane tasks around the house
Notice not one thing on the list involves forcing the writing. Some of the above can be done in conjunction. For example, my number one go to when hitting a sticking point is to go for a walk while listening to music. Or read in the bath. But I can also all of these things separately. 

When I hit a point where the writing is getting bogged down, I know that somehow I’ve made a mistake or I’m trying to force things in the direction I want them to go instead of where they need to go. There is a problem, I just need to figure out the cause and then the jam clears and I’m sailing on the keyboard again. But if I sit in front of the blinking cursor cudgeling my brain for the answer, it always seems to run away from me. The key is to clear my mind and create an environment where I can hear my characters more clearly—they always have the answer, while I rarely do. 

My brain is a little on the hyperactive side and I wind up interrupting myself, so the best thing I can do is to occupy the part of my brain that would be interrupting me with something that doesn’t require a whole lot of thought, and the answer to what I need to know appears. 

Besides, it gives me an excuse to say, “I’m working here,” while getting a massage. ;-) 

I have great power.
That’s what she told me. The old fortune-teller at the school carnival.
I thought I was doing the right thing … with the magic journal she gave me. But nothing could prepare me for what happened next.
Or, for what I unleashed.

At a school carnival, a mysterious fortune-teller gives twelve-year-old Angela Ashby a journal and warns her to use it wisely. Nothing prepares Angela for the journal’s power—when she pours her heart onto its pages her desires come true.

She tests the journal by conjuring a gnome, a unicorn, and a farting fairy and then uses it to stop the school bullies in their tracks. But the unintended consequences alienate her best friend and puts her favorite teacher in danger of losing her job.

After she shares her deepest desire of all—that her parents get back together—her adversary steals the journal, and Angela fears she will use it to bring mayhem to the entire school if she doesn’t get it back.

You can purchase The Journal of Angela Ashby at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you LIANA GARDNER for making this giveaway possible.
Winner will receive an Award-winning 2017 MG, 7th Grade Revolution Swag 
(Mugs, Playing Cards, T-Shirts) by Liana Gardner. 
Winner will receive a $25 Dollar PayPal/Amazon Gift Card.
NOVEMBER 16th FRIDAY Sabrina's Paranormal Palace REVIEW

NOVEMBER 23rd FRIDAY Movies, Shows, & Books REVIEW & 

NOVEMBER 26th MONDAY RhythmicBooktrovert REVIEW


  1. Thank you so much for the interview and hosting this tour. I greatly appreciate it.

  2. Right now I'm reading Grilling the Subject by Daryl Wood Gerber.

  3. I'm re-reading the House of Night series

  4. Although I do love a big book, I have arthritis and carpel tunnel so holding this baby is tough.

  5. I am currently reading Salem's Lot by Stephen King.