Liana Gardner is the multi-award-winning author. The 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.
7th Grade Revolution (2017)
The Journal of Angela Ashby (2018)
Speak No Evil (2019)
Biggest literary influencers:
Louisa May Alcott, Agatha Christie, Mark Twain, Rita Mae Brown, Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters, Torey Hayden, Joseph Heller
The book that changed your life:
Ammie Come Home was the first adult novel I read that brought the characters to life and invaded my dreams. While reading, my life became entwined with the characters in the book and I realized the power of the words on the page. It made me want to be that kind of writer—one who pulls the reader into the middle of the story and allows them to experience all sorts of emotions they may not otherwise have. With every book I write, I strive to make that connection available to the reader, to provide the reader with the means for catharsis.
Your favorite literary character:
I’m so torn with this question because I have so many favorite characters, but will settle for the one I usually do… Jo March from the Little Women trilogy. Primarily because Jo and I are, in her words, kindred spirits. The passion with which she lived her life, her willingness to try and fail, knowing she wanted to be a writer and all other goals were secondary, love of family, her sense of duty, and never truly giving up. These are the traits I identify with and why I connected with her character so strongly.
Currently working on:
The Star Warriors and the Secret of the Red Key, the first book in the Middle Grade Homeless Myths Series. 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.
Words to live by:
Be the Cat is my mantra because if there is something you are passionate about, think about the cat when the cat has a goal. The cat is consumed by what it is trying to achieve; it remains undaunted in the face of obstacles; you can tell it, “No!” a hundred times, and it might twitch an ear and wait for you to get tired, but it never once loses sight of its goal. This is how we need to approach those things we are passionate about … ignoring the naysayers, keeping our focus, and being persistent until we figure out how to best achieve our goals.
Advice to new and aspiring authors:
Read, study, work on your craft in bite-sized pieces because the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time, and never ever give up.
Articles / Reviews:
- PW for The Journal of Angela Ashby
- School Library Journal for 7th Grade Revolution
- Readers’ Favorite for 7th Grade revolution
- Readers’ Favorite for The Journal of Angela Ashby
- Splash Magazine for 7th Grade Revolution
- The Pirate Tree (Social Justice and Children’s Literature) for 7th Grade Revolution
- Kids BookBuzz for The Journal of Angela Ashby
- “I read and review lots of books but it’s not long before I forget most of them. Such will never be the case with Speak No Evil. Gardner has chosen to tell this story in a most unusual and powerful way … a very clever way to keep readers in suspense about what really happened. It’s made an indelible impression on me, as I’m sure it will on most readers. There are too many Melody Fisher’s in our homes and schools who lock themselves away in a world where they are both desperate to be heard and afraid to speak up. Though circumstances won’t be identical, Speak No Evil is their story. It’s not my job to tell them that story but to encourage them, and those who care about young people’s mental health, to read this for themselves. I have no doubt they will find this book unforgettable. A brilliant and novel approach to addressing important social issues. Bravo!” ~Viga Boland, Readers’ Favorite
- “… a very sensitive subject has been handled with the utmost care and consideration. Any victim of abuse or those who blame themselves for events out of their control needs to read this novel … This book should be in every school library and youth centre. I cannot recommend it highly enough.” ~ Lesley Jones, Readers’ Favorite
- “… alternately beautiful and troubling—and a totally compelling read … Gardner’s characters are ﬁnely drawn and credible, and her plot is so relevant considering the thousands of children lost in the foster care system and at the mercy of those charged to care for them … It’s one of those books you want never to end.” ~ Jack Magnus, Reader’s Favorite