Mystery thrillers are, well, a mystery to me. Not only I am in awe of writers who consistently turn out suspenseful, hang-on-to-your-hats stories, I wonder how they sleep at night. Do they wake up in terror that a character they created is going to personally pay a visit? Do they hear strange noises in their quiet house and immediately think they are in danger? Frankly, I couldn’t write those kinds of books. Life is scary enough without having to invent terrifying situations. But that being said, I know that the courageous writers who aren’t afraid to look under their kids’s beds at night or walk through an empty parking garage at 3AM have a great following for a reason.
That is why I am excited to tell you about a new book from my awesome writer’s group, The Girlfriends Cyber Circuit. We are a group of talented women authors who help one another get the word out when we have a great new read to introduce. This month, I am happy to welcome our newest member, mystery writer, April Henry. She has teamed up co-author, Lis Wiehl (a legal analyst on Fox) and just released a Triple Threat Mystery called FACE OF BETRAYAL.
Here is the story: When 17-year-old Senate page Katie Converse goes missing on her Christmas break near her parents’ Victorian home in Portland, Ore., law enforcement and the media go into overdrive in a search for clues. Three friends at the pinnacle of their respective careers–Allison Pierce, a federal prosecutor; Cassidy Shaw, a crime reporter; and Nicole Hedges, an FBI special agent–soon discover that Katie wasn’t the picture of innocence painted by her parents. Did Katie run away to escape their stifling demands? Was she having an affair with the senator who sponsored her as a page? Has she been kidnapped? Is she the victim of a serial killer?
About the Authors
Don’t mess with April. She knows how to kill you in a two-dozen different ways. She makes up for a peaceful childhood in an intact home by killing off fictional characters. April had one detour on her path to destruction: when she was 12 she sent a short story about a six-foot tall frog who loved peanut butter to noted children’s author Roald Dahl. He liked it so much he arranged to have it published in an international children’s magazine.
By the time she was in her 30s, April had come to terms with her childhood and started writing about hit men, drug dealers, and serial killers. She has published six mysteries and thrillers, with five more under contract. Her books have gotten starred
reviews, been on Booksense (twice!), translated into four languages, short-listed for the Oregon Book Award, and chosen as a Quick Pick by the American Library Association.
April co-wrote Face of Betrayal with Lis Wiehl, a legal analyst on FOX. They have a contract for three more Triple Threat mysteries.
“A sizzling political thriller… The seamless plot offers a plethora of twists and turns.”
4.5 stars [and they don’t give out five stars] “Wiehl and Henry have penned a winner that seems to come straight from the headlines. Captivating suspense, coupled with tightly written prose, will entertain and intrigue.”
“Readers are in for a treat as trial lawyer/commentator Lis Wiehl and mystery author April Henry team up for a political thriller.”
April’s Website: aprilhenrymysteries.com
April’s blog: aprilhenry.livejournal.com
Last week, April was good enough to answer my questions:
If you could get a rave review in “People” magazine, what would you want it to say about your new book?
“You won’t want to put down this page-turning crowd-pleaser with a twist you won’t see coming. This is already slated for the big screen next year.”
Writing a letter can be daunting. How do you even begin the process of writing a novel? Does it start with a title? A character?A plot? All or none of the above?
Since I write mysteries and thrillers, I’m all about the plot. I start with a “What if?” Take a stand alone book I’m working on now. What if a pizza delivery girl was kidnapped? How would they search for her? What if evidence convinced the authorities she was dead? What if her friends were equally convinced that she was still alive?
I have to print off every draft page, which means that by the time I’m done, I’ve gone through two trees in Oregon. What is your process of getting out a first whole draft? How long might it take?
Since I live in Oregon, I demand that you show me where those two trees used to be.
I do most of my writing and editing on the computer. Sometimes I outline; sometimes I don’t. For these joint books with Lis Wiehl, we will go back and forth on the plot until we have a basic idea of where we want to go, then most of the writing is done on the computer. It’s only when we’re revising a final draft that I print things out. Now that’s I’m not working full time, I could probably write a book in six months – maybe less.
Do you have show and tell with your first draft? Who do you trust for honest reaction, or is so fragile you show it to one you love who you know will be kind?
When it’s a chapter, I’ll often read it aloud to my 13 year old daughter. She has an impeccable ear for clunkiness, and just hearing myself reading it aloud helps.
Anything I’m not certain about I might show my friend (and author in her own right) Debby Garfinkle. I’m confident enough now of my relationship with my agent that I will also show her a partial and ask her what she thinks. And for my mysteries, I’ll ask my friend and fellow author Gregg Main what he thinks.
What is one of the nicest compliments that you have ever received about your book(s)?
Seeing kids on myspace who say they hate to read but love my young adult books.
Whose writing talent do you greatly admire, and which successful author makes you want to gobsmack your head because you cannot believe they’ve had a bestseller(s)?
Scott Turow writes wonderful books that make me totally believe in them. On the flip side, I loved Scott Smith’s first book, but I HATED The Ruins. With a passion. The thing was, I think the author hated his characters. He mocked them, tortured them, and then he killed them. All of them. They all died.
What has brought you the greatest joy since you were published, and what has caused you the greatest angst?
Bad reviews, even if they are just on someone’s blog. I wince. I can barely look even at good reviews.
Thanks April! Best of look with your mystery series and sweet dreams!