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Don't wait for an invitation! We're thrilled to have everyone at the weekly Coffee

Especially the guest authors! Join me in greeting ML Gardner, an author of historical fiction, including the 1929 series.
Welcome! How do you take your coffee?

ML: Black with Stevia.

Ally: You're taking it easy on my magic pot this morning. :) I'll pour while you show readers your bio.


M. L. Gardner is the bestselling author of the 1929 series. Gardner is frugal to a fault, preserving the old ways of living by canning, cooking from scratch, and woodworking. Nostalgic stories from her grandmother's life during the Great Depression inspired Gardner to write the 1929 series-as well as her own research into the Roarin' Twenties. She has authored eight books, two novellas, and one book of short stories. Gardner is married with three kids and three cats. She resides in northern Utah.

Something unique not in her regular bio:
"I learned how to fly when I was 17 and always dreamed of becoming a commercial pilot."

Author contact links:



Ally: What inspired you to write the 1929 Series? What common thread ties the books together?

ML:  I was inspired by the stock market crash of 2008. The idea hit me while I was watching the day market dropped 777 points. The similarities were to the great depression, which had always interested me, were too eerie. I saw a man on his knees who lost everything and I had to find out why and what he was doing there. I started 1929 that day. I open 1929 with that vision. The group of friends is what ties all the books together. Readers are sometimes thrown with Elizabeth’s Heart, Drifter and Purgatory Cove because it takes them away from Rockport, but still has everything to do with the original six cast of 1929.

Ally: I understand book 2, Elizabeth's Heart, takes a turn into the paranormal when one of the characters has prophetic visions. What can you tell us about this character and his abilities without spoiling the plot? :)

ML:  Simon is one of my favorite characters. He’s a bit cheeky and uses humor and sarcasm to deal with the tough hand life dealt him. He is overcome with visions that leave him oblivious to the world around him, a captive audience until it’s over. Because of when he was born, he was labeled with a mental disorder instead of a gift. His visions are always prophetic, but when he falls in love with Elizabeth, a woman who suffers from multiple personalities, his interpretation of them becomes skewed. He also journeys deeper into the paranormal than he ever dreamed.

Ally:  Have long have you been writing and publishing books? What was your journey to publication?

ML:  I have been writing for seven years, self-published for six. I love running my own business and sending out queries for 1929 was an afterthought. I ran headlong into being independent. I plugged along for a while, clueless, and learned by trial and error. I really struggled for four years. This industry doesn’t come with a how-to manual and it’s always changing. It was almost impossible to get advice, especially from other experienced authors so it was the school of hard knocks for me. (Sidenote: It was for this reason that I recently started the Enlightened Indies Network on Facebook. I’m trying to be what I didn’t have when I started, which is someone with experience, willing to share, or just listen, with full disclosure on my marketing and writing. My little group is small but growing!)

In 2013 I got serious. It was either quit or go all in and make a living from this. I hired Monica Haynes, who came in and cleaned up my digital house, set all my social media straight and handled so much of the technical side of this business I was able to work on producing. She also began creating my covers and graphics (launching her own design business The Thatchery in the process) and arranged a promotion schedule that really turned things around.

I’m happy to say I no longer flirt with the idea of getting a job at Taco Bell just to make ends meet.

Ally:  What is your next writing project?  Will it be out in 2016?

ML:  My current project is Purling Road Season Three which is the serialized extension of The 1929 Series. When the series ended, readers wanted more. I had wrapped things up pretty neatly in 1931 and couldn’t really top what I’d already done (crisis wise). Continuing in a serial with episodes allows me to give the readers more of these characters’ day to day lives and challenges without the traditional story arc structure or continually having to raise the stakes. I don’t have a release date yet, but it will be released this year.

For those that do fall in love with Simon and Elizabeth, I have always planned on adding a Book Seven, Simon’s Watch to the series. I have no idea when I can fit that in, but it’s coming eventually. (Monica insists. She adores Simon and Elizabeth.)

Ally: It's time for a few quick answer questions:
  • a. pantser or plotter: Both. Plot with my best friend, Lisa, then pants it when the characters take over.
  • b. a guilty pleasure: Cheese. Way too much cheese.
  • c.  a book you've read more than once: Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. Four times.
  • d. something that moved you to tears (good or bad): Any animal rescue or reuniting.
  • e. manicure or pedicure: Pedicure.
Ally: Thank you for visiting the blog. You've been a terrific guest. Good luck with your books. Before you go, tell readers a little more about Elizabeth's Heart and where they can find it.

Elizabeth’s Heart

The 1929 Series takes an unexpected turn when Simon Sinclair finds himself under the doctor’s radar after his prophetic visions land him in a Massachusetts asylum. In 1929, mental health treatment was anything but a solution. With no recovery, Simon faces extremities like shock therapy, mind-numbing medications, and torture. But nothing tortures him more than his feelings for the newest patient in the insane asylum: Elizabeth Williams. 

With one look into her eyes, Simon finds himself lovestruck. But his pining leads to more visions, which leads to more treatments. Unable to stop the dreams, he must bear it all for her. 

Like every patient there, Elizabeth is a troubled young woman—with a dark secret. But nothing could prepare Simon for the darkest secret of all: Elizabeth suffers from a personality disorder. Devoted to her, Simon only sees the real Elizabeth, not the violent version of her. While the new couple falls deeper in love, the wards grow concerned that they’re making their conditions worse—as if they’re feeding off of each other. 

Realizing freedom is the only way for them to be together, Simon and Elizabeth escape with the help of an unlikely hospital source who’s hiding his own secrets. Their escape proves to be temporary, as they’re sent back to the asylum, where Simon’s worst nightmare comes true: Elizabeth’s violent personality makes an appearance and triggers repeated visions that Simon can’t decipher. 

After a selfless act of love, Simon’s actions place one of the main characters from the novel 1929 in serious danger.

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03/09/2016 10:14am

Great interview!

Pauline Crawford
03/09/2016 5:49pm

Love, and have read, Ms. Gardner's "1929" series. It should be made into a movie with the producers staying true to the books. I could see this as becoming one of the great ones. Am happy she had this interview, it was a good one and she is so well deserving. !

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