A Look At Author James Gardner
Seaplane pilot, sailor, scuba diver, fisherman, conservationist, world traveler and avid golfer, James Gardner could easily be the hero of his own book, “The Lion Killer”.
Yet Gardner says his lead protagonist, Rigby Croxford, is a compilation of the
extraordinary characters he’s met on his 25 safaris to Africa.
You can learn more about James' connection with Africa on his Facebook page, Facebook.com/JamesGardnerNow and his blog at jamesgardnernow.blogspot.com.
Raised in Florida, where he continues to live, Gardner took his first trip to Africa in 1968. He landed in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in the midst of the Rhodesian Bush War, which proved to be disconcerting when he confused body bags for golf travel bags at an airport. Flying to Entebbe, Uganda in 1972 proved even more disturbing when a riot ensued because Idi Amin declared that all Indians must leave the country.
Gardner continues to go back to Africa. The resilience of the African spirit is his inspiration. “Africans are superb survivalists. If they weren’t, we wouldn’t exist.”
Born in Albany, New York, Gardner moved to Florida in 1947. He attended the University of Kentucky and Florida Atlantic University where he received a BA degree and met his wife of 45 years, Barbara. They have one daughter Jennifer.
At times, Africa must have seemed tame to Gardner who made his living in Palm
Beach County as a Senior Vice President with Smith Barney for forty years. His
intimate knowledge of the national and global economy plays a key role in his book.
Gardner began to write “The Lion Killer” three years ago. He was motivated, in part, to bring attention to what is happening to African countries, like Zimbabwe and the Sudan. “Zimbabwe was once called the bread basket of the Dark Continent and now it’s reduced to a basket case. The unemployment rate is 94%. The annual inflation rate peaked at one billion percent per month until the currency finally collapsed. The AIDS pandemic has dropped the average Zimbabwean woman’s life expectancy from 63 years to 37 in only 10 years.”
Gardner believes the genocide in Darfur is a byproduct of the Sudan’s natural
resources. “It’s easy to exploit people when they’re cutting each other up with $3 Chinese machetes. China has invested ten billion dollars in Sudan’s oil infrastructure. After they discovered oil in the Darfur, it became obvious their motivation was to steal the land from the indigenous tribes. The Khartoum government has condoned the killing of 400,000 Africans and the displacement of 2 million people from their ancestral lands.
He is active in conservation and is donating proceeds from “The Lion
Killer” to the Helping Hands Matabeleland North and the Rose of Charity Sanctuary.
“The Lion Killer,” released by Pennington Publishers, is the first in his “Dark Continent Chronicles” trilogy. The second book of the trilogy is The Zambezi Vendetta, The HoneyGuide number three and The Last Rhino the gripping fourth book.