Saturday, May 7, 2016

0 April Henry, author of THE GIRL I USED TO BE, on tenacity being as important as talent

We're thrilled to have April Henry stop by to tell us more about her latest novel THE GIRL I USED TO BE.

April, what was your inspiration for writing THE GIRL I USED TO BE?

It was inspired by a real-life mystery in Washington State. Thirty years ago, an unmarried couple and their daughter went into the woods to find a Christmas tree - but they never came back. Meanwhile, a little girl, too young even to tell people her name, was found in a Kmart an hour away. It took authorities a while to figure out she was the daughter of the missing couple. When the woman was found stabbed to death in the woods, they thought she must have been killed by her boyfriend, who must have dropped their daughter off before going on the lam. But a few years ago, a human bone was found in the same area of the forest, and DNA showed that it belonged to the missing man. Police now believe the couple was killed by the same unknown killer that day in the forest, and it was the killer who dropped the three-year-old off at the K-Mart. When I read that in the paper, I knew that could be the beginning of a story.

What scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?

At one point the main character is being chased by her parents’ killer through the woods. Oh, and she’s handcuffed. I wanted to see how hard that would be, so I drove to a forested park, put on a pair of handcuffs and ran around. Normally that section of the park is empty, but for some reason there were tons of runners that day. I was ready to explain that I was okay. But even though I got some weird looks, no one asked. I think if you don’t look in distress, people don’t want to get involved.

How long did you work on THE GIRL I USED TO BE?

About two years. It was my “affair book” for a while. I usually have one book I’m supposed to be writing, and one book I really shouldn’t be writing but can’t keep away from.

How long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?

It took me about eight or nine years to get published. My fourth book that became my first published book. There have been four or five since then that haven’t been published. They’ve all been out of the mystery/thriller genre.

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

I got a treadmill desk about 18 months ago. It has changed my life. Not only do I think that movement keeps my brain active, but I also lost 20 pounds without changing my diet. I walk three to four hours on it.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

Tenacity is as important as talent. I’ve seen writers who were better than me fail, because they gave up. I never gave up and I kept trying to make my writing better.

What are you working on now?

Run, Hide, Fight Back. It’s about six teenagers caught up in a mass shooting at a shopping mall. Think Die Hard meets Breakfast Club.


The Girl I Used to Be
by April Henry
Henry Holt and Co.
Released 5/3/2016

When Olivia's mother was killed, everyone suspected her father of murder. But his whereabouts remained a mystery. Fast forward fourteen years. New evidence now proves Olivia's father was actually murdered on the same fateful day her mother died. That means there's a killer still at large. It's up to Olivia to uncover who that may be. But can she do that before the killer tracks her down first?

Purchase The Girl I Used to Be at Amazon
Purchase The Girl I Used to Be at IndieBound
View The Girl I Used to Be on Goodreads


New York Times-bestselling author April Henry 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. There was one detour on April's 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 started writing about hit men, kidnappers, and drug dealers. She has published 20 mysteries and thrillers for teens and adults, with more to come.


Have you had a chance to read THE GIRL I USED TO BE yet? Have you ever tried something in real life that you wanted to accurately write about? Have you tried writing on a treadmill desk? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy reading,

Jocelyn, Shelly, Martina, Anisaa, Sam, Erin, Susan, Lindsey, Sarah, and Kristin

No comments:

Post a Comment

Tell us what you think. We'd love to hear from you! :)