LJ Hardwicke Red Watson and the Gifted Lands
LJ Hardwicke of Gilroy has released her first novel, “Red Watson and the Gifted Lands.” Contributed photo
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LJ Hardwicke will celebrate the release of her first novel, “Red Watson and the Gifted Lands,” with a book signing event on Jan. 27.

The 14-year-old Gilroy resident said it’s taken a while for this day to come.

“I’ve always loved writing and creating stories, so I was ecstatic once I found out that I could turn my thoughts and feelings into an intricate storyline,” she said. “I had gone through four novel ideas, but they never truly made me feel accomplished or proud. I feared that I would write a story that felt cliché, considering my age and experience.”

But with “Red Watson,” Hardwicke said she found the perfect story that will allow her to grow with the characters in future planned books.

The novel follows 13-year-old Red Watson, who has a power known as a “gift.” Looking to discover her past, she embarks on a quest with family and friends to defeat an evil man blinded with power.

The more than 200-page book is geared toward readers ages 11 to adult.

Hardwicke will be at Barnes & Noble, 6825 Camino Arroyo in Gilroy, on Jan. 27 from noon to 4pm to sign copies of her book.

She said she is inspired by the work of J.R.R. Tolkien, famed author of “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings,” particularly the way his stories “profoundly impact people” by creating relatable characters and situations.

“I love how I can completely immerse myself in a unique world I had put out on paper, and even incorporating my experiences into my work has been an absolute joy,” she said. “The feeling of reading a good book or watching a movie that made you feel different was the ultimate goal.”

Hardwicke, who is planning a trilogy for the series, shared some advice for potential authors.

“If you have a story in your mind and heart that you love and connect with, then there is no reason why you shouldn’t be allowed to share it with the world,” she said. “Do not limit yourself because of minorities or reluctance; you’ll never discover how far your abilities can stretch. Every great author had to put themselves in the world without a shield; otherwise, they wouldn’t have become the inspiration they knew they could always be.”

“Red Watson and the Gifted Lands” is available at ljhardwicke.com, the Writer’s Republic website, Barnes & Noble Gilroy, Amazon and other online retail stores.

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Erik Chalhoub joined Weeklys as an editor in 2019. Prior to his current position, Chalhoub worked at The Pajaronian in Watsonville for seven years, serving as managing editor from 2014-2019.


  1. LJ Hardwicke writes in a bold way, using dialogue and contrast that’s never existed before. Her writing style has elements that are new and before-unseen.

    She explores many human and literary themes that are both Classical and modern, new age. “The royal land would only show its face to people who had faith…”

    “… you still don’t know the definition of possible yet.”

    At the forefront of New Age thought, philosophy, and even science, is the “Law of Attraction” (eg Esther Hicks) and “Manifestation.” LJ is able to weave these topics of universal law, faith, and mental / psychological awareness into a story you can’t put down. Her creativity is profound. For example, physical doorways opening through ancient libraries, and even paintings.

    Our comments from another site featuring Hardwicke:

    We Love Hardwicke’s Book and so do our Cats!

    ALREADY A PLUME AWARD WINNER — Literally from the first page until the very last, WE COULD NOT PUT DOWN LJ’s book!! Check out the photo! “Reincarnated Daddy James Cat” or RD for short is on the 4th chapter! Hardwicke maintains a good rhythm throughout the amazing and spontaneous novel. There’s a musicality to it. She is masterful at character development of Red, Claire, Will, and the other family, friends, and not-friends. If LJ can continue to write from the heart and take risks in her bold style of writing, YOU WILL SOON SEE HER ON NY TIMES BESTSELLER LIST #1 !!!!

    Hardwicke is not only a great writer, she writes in a completely new style that will one day become or effectively shape new genres.

    # Tags: Emotional, Family, Cult Following, Famous Author, Instagram-able Cover, Tear Jerker, Trending, Action Packed, Literary Aclaim, Couldn’t Put It Down

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