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Friday 3 November 2017

ℚ 7th Grade Revolution - Liana Gardner

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about 7th Grade Revolution (, Vesuvian Books, 301 pages), a Middle Grade Detective Mystery.

“... a stunning new Middle Grade novel that is part historical fiction, part action adventure mystery, and all around fun. Featuring a cast of wacky, interesting kids I was hooked on page one and enjoyed every twist and turn of the creative plot. Gardner is a writer to watch.” ~Dan Elish, Award-Winning Author of BORN TOO SHORT: The Confessions of an Eighth-Grade Basket Case

|| Synopsis || Trailer || Teaser: KCR Preview || Author Q&A || About the Author || Giveaway & Tour Stops ||

A very warm welcome to Liana Gardner; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter!

What was the inspiration for 7th Grade Revolution?

"The inspiration for 7th Grade Revolution came from an article I fished out of my Twitter stream. I don’t even recall what about the Tweet caught my attention, but something did, and I followed the link to a short article on a classroom exercise.

Exploris Middle School brought in all the 7th Grader’s on a Monday while they were completing a module on the American Revolution, and told the 7th Grader’s that they had been dissatisfied with how the school was being run, so a bloodless revolution had been fought over the weekend and the 7th Grade won, but now had to form their government, determine policies, and run the school.

I absolutely loved the concept and it took about half a second for my writer brain to kick into gear and ask the simple question: What if what started off as a classroom exercise became real?

I contacted the teacher mentioned in the article, Karen Rectanus, and she helped supply the background of the classroom experience, along with the “media feed,” as the teachers were live tweeting the experience throughout the week.

While the book does depart from the classroom experience about a quarter of the way through, it is the spark that lit the inspirational flame."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"While I do believe that every writer puts something of themselves or their experiences into a book, for the most part, I’d have to say not much of me is reflected in this or most of my works. While there are points of similarities with my characters, just as you’d have points of similarities with any group of people, I do not write manifestations of myself.

For example, as the book opens, Dennis is sitting near a window wishing he were outside. At the same age and younger, I felt cooped up in the classroom, and didn’t like sitting inside for so long.

Another example is Rhonda being a klutz. I have never been able to figure out how, when I was fairly athletic as a child, playing softball, being a champion swimmer, etc. I managed to trip over thin air, when not engaged in athletic events.

Or being an outsider, not fitting in with any of the cliques—these are experiences I can draw on, but feel they are somewhat universal in nature and not specifically me. My characters become their own fully-fledged personalities, separate and distinct from who I am. My job is to convey their story."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover. Can you tell us about your cover for 7th Grade Revolution - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"First off, I am terrible when it comes to cover concepts for my own work. Deer-in-the-headlights bad. Once I see something, I’m pretty good at picking out what needs to change, and I know what I like or don’t like.

For 7th Grade Revolution, the cover came about a little differently. We needed a temporary cover to go with a pitch package for something and we weren’t planning on creating the final cover. So my literary manager, Italia Gandolfo, and I put our heads together and brainstormed and sent off the concept to the cover artist, Michael Canales of MJC Imageworks.

Michael came back with a cover that held so many elements of the book, it blew my mind. Later when it came time to discuss the “real” cover, the temporary cover had become the cover and I couldn’t imagine another one, so we decided to keep it."
Why should we read 7th Grade Revolution and what sets it apart from the rest? What makes your book unique?
"7th Grade Revolution is a fun read that blends a true life experience, with history, and complete mystery/adventure fiction."
Can you tell us something quirky about 7th Grade Revolution, its story and characters?
"Prior to writing 7th Grade Revolution, I knew nothing about Patience Wright, America’s first Sculptor. I wanted to find an artifact of historical significance from the Revolutionary War period which could be used as the “treasure” … and something that would have implications of national importance even today, should it be discovered.

This was during the research phase for the book and I hadn’t yet started writing. So, I surfed the net looking at art objects and generally getting discouraged until I found a wax cameo of George Washington mounted on wood created by Patience Wright.

Not sure how, I thought the cameo might be of use, so I Googled Patience Wright and was astounded to find that not only was she America’s first sculptor, but was also a Revolutionary Spy. Serendipity in spades, and with that I knew I had found the right object for the story."
Who would you recommend 7th Grade Revolution to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"Recommended for 9-12 year-old boys and girls."
If you could / wished to turn 7th Grade Revolution into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"Tough question for me right at the moment because the project is being reviewed by a production company and I don’t want to jinx it by even thinking about casting, etc.

I would hope that if it does come to the screen, the shooting would be done in the North Carolina Mountains, which is the setting for the story."
We have our fingers crossed for you!

What do you like to write and read about? Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?

"My Young Adult writing is usually darker, plumbing the emotional depths and issues of our adolescent years.

I also am working on a children’s chapter book series with a team, which combines different social issues with endangered species, who become the lead character’s “guardian angel animal” to help them deal with the social issue.

My next Middle Grade will be a 5-book series that is reality-based urban fantasy featuring homeless kids."
What is your writing process?
"My general process is to get the idea, start a document where I throw everything related to the story idea as it steeps in my minds (while I’m working on other stories), figure out what needs to be researched to help me flesh out the story, do the research, let the idea marinate some more. Then once I know my characters and am ready to start writing, I put together a loose outline with the major bones of the story.

Then I tuck the outline away, and start writing. Usually more research is required because something will crop up that I need more information on.

When I’m done, I put it away, and work on other things for a few weeks. After enough time has passed to give me fresh eyes, I take it out and read it.

Then I run it through the mill of several editing rounds to look at pace, flow, character development, word usage, killing all the words I didn’t think I used, but invariably sneak in. Tightening the phrasing, snipping out what doesn’t belong. I read it aloud. I have my Kindle read it to me while working on my big screen and making edits when I hear something I don’t like. And I’ll often read it backwards to make me focus on the paragraph level and help me see things I’d otherwise be blind to.

Then, when my literary manager gets impatient and tells me I’m done and to hand it over, I do. :-)"
What is in store next?
"At the moment, there are no plans to continue 7th Grade Revolution as a series. However, should something come up, and we need a second book, I may have left a little opening at the end to allow for another story to develop. ;-)

I am currently working on two books, something I normally don’t do, but need to get both done, so have been juggling them. From the children’s side of my writing plate, I’m working on Luna and the Sloth in Shining Armor for the Guardian Angel Animal Series, Timmy and the Golden Lion Tamarin.

I’m also working on the first book in the Middle Grade Homeless Myths series called, The Star Warriors and the Secret of the Red Key. The short summary for the series is: Five homeless kids struggle to survive the streets of Los Angeles and unwittingly wind up as key players in a life and death struggle to give humanity a second chance."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"The word quirky brings to mind Sergio, the sloth character from Luna and the Sloth in Shining Armor—he is an absolute hoot.

Last year, my best friend sent me a stuffed sloth as inspiration for working on the story. Next thing I know, I’m scouring for all the Halloween costumes available in newborn size. I may have gone a bit overboard.

Then I wound up doing Sloth on a Shelf (instead of Elf) with Sergio on my blog starting December 1 through the 24th last year and created a story line of his quest to find Santa to ask for Santa to give Luna her greatest wish.

So to say this little guy inspires my imagination is putting it mildly."
It all look wonderful. I love what you did with Sergio ;-)
Thank you for sharing. It's been great having you here!

"Thanks so much for hosting me today at Book Chatter."

7th Grade Revolution
Available NOW!

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1 comment:

CMash said...

I enjoy reading where a concept for a book originates, and to think it was from Twitter! Love the pics.