Today’s featured guest is historical fiction author M.L. Gardner. We’re focused on her novel, 1929 Jonathan’s Cross Book One.
M.L. Gardner is an American author currently living in Northern Utah after spending a decade in the Pacific Northwest. Having grown up a Navy brat, she’s lived everywhere and considers no one place home. Gardner collects cats and dreams of opening a no kill shelter in her backyard where she can be surrounded by her feline friends all the time, despite their love of sitting on her keyboard.
She is married with three kids and four cats. She writes full time, living on cheese and Bing energy drinks.
Welcome, M.L. Please tell us about your current release.
1929 Jonathan’s Cross Book One is the first in a Depression era historical fiction series.
What inspired you to write this book?
I was sitting at home watching the bloodshed on Wall street when the market crashed in 2008. I remember the horror the day it dropped 777 points. I had always been fascinated with the Great Depression and had read everything I could get my hands on about the period. And the way things were shaping up in this country financially, I was seeing an encore performance of those hard years. I grabbed my books, compared charts and graphs and had this feeling of dread wash over me. The roaring twenties were definitely over for us. After several hours of being glued to CNBC, I had to change the channel. It wasn’t getting any better and I just couldn’t look at the train wreck any longer. I flipped through the channels with my mind floating off to one of the many far off places it loved to roam. But this one wouldn’t leave me alone. Plot lines and ideas started swirling around and quite literally haunted me. It wasn’t long before I had to force myself to sit down and start the story. It wasn’t enough to see it in my head.
Jonathan Garrett has just lost everything. He and his two best friends were operating one of the top brokerages in New York City until the stock market crash of ’29. With nothing but the clothes on their backs, these men must start over. Renting a shabby apartment from a business rival with his eye on tormenting Jonathan, they begin to rebuild as best they can. Their wives struggle to make the best of their situations, each coping in her own way. They begin to make friendships that promise to last a lifetime. As the jobs become fewer and danger is at their backs, the stakes get higher for these men to find a way out. Their current poverty, their respective pasts, and their own struggles all threaten to ruin them. With hope, close friends, and a lucky twist of fate, they escape the city just in time. They return to their hometown of Rockport, Massachusetts to begin a new life. Living modestly, and faring better than the friends they left behind in the city, they begin to think things are taking a turn for the better. But tragedy is never far behind…
What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m working on Purgatory Cove Book Five. It’s a novella that takes a peek into the fractured mind of Elizabeth as she splits into a third personality. I’ve also chipped away at 1931 Caleb’s Err Book Six and am nearing the half way mark with that. I often write more than one book at a time.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I started getting email asking about the third book and a few readers complained I was taking so long. It clicked then along with the realization that I have a responsibility and an obligation to these people who have taken the time to read what I have put out in the world and have become emotionally invested in the characters. .
Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I am home to write full time, however I don’t write every day. I’d love to but that’s just not how I work. I’m rather compulsive with everything I do and will often write like mad for a week and then take a week off. I do a lot of woodworking on my off weeks and make most of my own pioneer style furniture.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
It’s not really a quirk but I do have to listen to music when I write. I create ‘soundtracks’ for every book and run those on a continuous loop while I’m working on a project.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A pilot. I took aeronautics and actually flew a few times but when I had children I decided to give it up. I hope to re-learn how to fly after my children are grown.
Ways to connect or find out more:
Thanks for chatting with us today, M.L. Happy writing!