7th Grade Revolution
by Liana Gardner
on Tour October 23 – November 27, 2017
WHEN UNEARTHING A NATIONAL TREASURE BECOMES A NATIONAL INCIDENT.
Inspired by True Events
Dennis Alexander: Washington Academy Middle School promises to be another in the long line of boring schools he has been expelled from.
Rhonda Snodgrass: Although trained from childhood in survival tactics, she tries to stay off the radar of the “cool” kids who think she’s weird.
7th grade turns out to be anything but normal when teachers announce the students’ bloodless revolution succeeded and they are now in charge. After conducting a secret-ballot vote on policy, the 7th graders emerge to find the school evacuated and the FBI lurking outside with the task of unearthing a treasure of national importance.
The students’ mission is clear—discover the treasure before the FBI locks down the building. Dennis and Rhonda lead the revolt and must work together to follow century-old clues left by a crazy Revolutionary War buff.
To stay one step ahead of the FBI, they must delve into history and amass an arsenal to defend their school … because this is WAR!
Liana Gardner is the two-time teen choice award-winning author of the Misfit McCabe series. Daughter of a rocket scientist and an artist, Liana Gardner combines the traits of both into a quirky yet pragmatic writer and in everything sees the story lurking beneath the surface. Born in Seattle, WA and raised in southern California, Liana is definitely a west coast girl, but loves to travel.
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.”
Writing and Reading:
Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
It depends on the book. As far as personal experiences are concerned, I’d say I draw from emotional depth of experiences I’ve had where the character is experiencing something similar rather than actual occurrences.
As far as current events are concerned, 7th Grade Revolution sprang from an article I saw floating past in my Twitter stream. It described a classroom experience where the teachers at Exploris Middle School told the 7th Graders there had been a bloodless revolution over the weekend, the students won, and now they had to create the policies and schedule to run the school by. I loved the idea and immediately followed it with a “what if” scenario and as a result we have true events blended with fiction and history.
I also have a series I am working on which started from an article, though not a current event as the article was published in 1997.
Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
Most of the time, a story springs into my mind where I know the beginning and the end. Then I write a loose bare bones outline to connect the two, put the outline to the side and start writing. In almost every book I’ve written, I have deviated from where I thought the book was going because the characters insisted on a different path than the one I had planned. The characters are always right.
Are any of your characters based on you or people that you know?
I can honestly say none of my characters have ever been based on me. Nor do I ever plan to write a character based on myself. As far as basing characters on people I know, I don’t usually do so. Characters come to me and I see them as individuals, as fully rounded as the people I meet in person. I have two exceptions to this, one of which occurred in 7th Grade Revolution. I mentioned the book being inspired by an actual classroom experience. The teacher who developed the teaching module gave me some invaluable assistance by providing some of the background information and as a way of honoring her, I made her a character in the book—with her permission. But even that was more of a “in name only” because I really didn’t know anything about her as a person, only that I wished I could have had her as a teacher when I was in 7th Grade.
Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?
I’m not sure you could class anything with my writing as a routine. I used to write by starting at the beginning and writing until I reached the end, so everything was written in book chronological order. But I have since learned that honoring the scenes I’m being given by the characters when they are presenting them works better. So sometimes I do write out of sequence, though most is still chronological.
The only drafting idiosyncrasy I have is that I listen to music while writing, but the POV (Point of View) character picks the playlist. If they pick the list instead of me, the writing goes MUCH more smoothly.
Editing idiosyncrasies abound. To share one, I do a round (or two) of editing that I call confetti vomit because I highlight the manuscript based on keywords needing to be dealt with, like that, just, was, could, it, and sense words (see, feel, taste, smell, hear)—anything I use on an over repetitive basis which can be made stronger. I highlight the document with different colors for each type so I am able to see each instance. Authors become blind, especially to their own foibles, so I force myself to look at them. When all the colors have been added, it looks like someone threw up confetti all over the manuscript.
Tell us why we should read this book.
It’s inspired by true events that made me want to go back to 7th Grade just so I could participate. And honestly, I never thought anything would make me want to go back in time for school. And the novel is part adventure and part history, so not only educational, but most importantly, it’s fun to read.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
I have eclectic tastes, so it would take me a really long time to list them all, so I’ll pick a few. As a kid, I devoured Louisa May Alcott, Carolyn Keene, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Beverly Cleary, Louise Fitzhugh, E. L. Konigsburg, and Agatha Christie. One of my favorite Gothic novels was by Barbara Michaels, and later I fell in love with Elizabeth Peters work and was delighted to find out they were one in the same. JK Rowling, PD James, Dick Francis, Rita Mae Brown, Dr. Suess, and Dean Koontz.
What are you reading now?
Much of my reading these days is on books which have not been released as yet. Current book is The Royal Order of Fighting Dragons by Dan Elish which will be out Spring/Summer 2018. A fun, action-filled Middle Grade.
Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?
I am currently alternating between two projects, something I normally don’t do, but I have producers waiting for both books, so need to get them done.
The first is the third book in the Guardian Angel Animal series (Children’s Chapter Books) called Luna and the Sloth in Shining Armor. The Guardian Angel Animal Series is a forthcoming illustrated chapter-book series that introduces rare and endangered animal “angels” into the lives of children who are experiencing emotional or physical challenges. The issue faced by Luna is autism and her hero is Sergio, a pygmy three-toed sloth.
The other book is the first book in the Homeless Myths Series called The Star Warriors and the Secret of the Red Key. 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.
Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?
Believe it or not, this is a hard question for me. When I wrote the book in 2012, I did have a few kids in mind as far as casting goes, but as twelve is a very specific age, those kids I would have cast are now too old for the parts and I haven’t recast it recently and I have been so busy, I’m out of the loop with the latest crew of child actors. But there is Hollywood interest in the property, so that question may come up sooner than I expected.
Favorite leisure activity/hobby?
Singing. Karaoke will do, but there is nothing better than getting on stage with a live band and belting one out.
Wow. The fun questions are the hardest. 🙂 Most of the things I really enjoy, I cannot have anymore, so while these aren’t a meal the things I enjoy eating the most are watermelon, Rainier cherries, and dark chocolate.
Thank you for stopping by CMash Reads and spending time with us.
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