A Killer of a Novel

When 17-year-old Senate page Katie Converse goes missing on her Christmas break fob20cover1near her parents’ white 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
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. 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.

In March, April’s young adult thriller, Torched, came out from Putnam.

What others are saying
Publishers Weekly
“A sizzling political thriller… The seamless plot offers a plethora of twists and turns.”

Romantic Times:
4.5 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.”

Ingram:
“Readers are in for a treat as trial lawyer/commentator Lis Wiehl and mystery author April Henry team up for a political thriller.”

Links:
April’s Website: aprilhenrymysteries.com        
April’s blog: aprilhenry.livejournal.com

Tell us about your latest release and the inspiration behind it.
In Face of Betrayal, Katie, a 17 year old Senate page, disappears. The prime suspect: the Senator who may have been more than just a mentor. Three women – an FBI agent, a federal prosecutor, and a TV crime reporter – team up to find out what really happened. Lis and I wanted to weave in some of the experiences she has had as a federal prosecutor and a TV reporter.

Any fan/fan mail stories you care to share? The good, the bad and the ugly.
The good: Once I was recognized in a grocery store – and when the guy doing the recognizing told me his name I realized he was a well-known local chef. He talked to me for a minute, praising my books to the skies, and then said, “I’ll let you go. I’m sure you’re tired of being bothered.” I wanted to throw my arms around his ankles and beg him to stay.

The ugly: Having a guy come to a signing at Borders one time who thought my main character was a real person. He kept asking me, “Does Claire like to run in Forest Park?” Finally I said, she might, if she were real… The coordinator ended up walking me to my car. And a few weeks later, the bodies of three murdered women were discovered in Forest Park. My questioner, though, was not the killer.

Are your children readers and have they become more so because you write? What do they think about what you do and the pursuit of your dream?
My daughter is a reader, but I have to be careful not to push the books I love or she won’t read them. I write young adult books as well, so I read them, but I can’t walk in and say “You have to read this book.” I have to leave it lying around or get caught reading it. Her friends think that what I do is cool, but she tells them it’s boring – I just stare at computer all day. She still comes in very handing for critiquing. Since she was little I have read aloud chapters to her, and her comments have always been good. She’s told me when a phrase was too over the top or commented that a chapter ended in a “nice cliffhanger.”

When deadlines hit, what happens in your house?
We eat a lot of already prepared food from Costco.

Do you put your friends in your books? Names, incidents, characteristics? Have any of them recognized themselves in a not-so-good way?
I have used the first names of friends. In my first book, Circles of Confusion, nearly all the last names came from kids I went to grade school with.

If you weren’t writing, what would you be doing instead?
I thought about doing so many things: lawyer, doctor, researcher. But please don’t take writing away from me. It is the best thing ever.

What is the most memorable first line you’ve ever read in a novel?
They shoot the white girl first. —Toni Morrison, Paradise (1998)

Which do you most like writing–dialogue, action, or description?
Since I write mysteries and thrillers, I’m all about action.

Do you think about writing series or do you prefer stand alone titles?
I do both, so I have the best of both worlds. My adult mysteries with Lis Wiehl are part of a series (we signed a four-book contract). My young adults so far have all been stand alones.

Have you given your favorite names to characters yet or are you waiting for that special character and book?
I have written enough books (eight so far, with four more on the way) that I’m having trouble not re-using names. When I was writing my first published book, I was pregnant, and my husband and I argued over what to name our baby. For a girl, he wanted Sadie and I wanted Claire. Since I was sure it was going to be a boy, I told him he got to pick the girl name. So now we have a daughter named Sadie, and I published a four-book series with a main character named Claire. Looking back, I’m kind of glad he won.

Thanks for stopping by, April!

Link to buy Face of Betrayal:  amazon.com

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4 Responses

  1. Sounds like a fascinating read! And that story about the guy at the book signing. Chilling! I have goosebumps just thinking about it.

  2. I enjoyed reading your post. Your book sounds interesting. Good luck with your new release!

    Best–Adele Dubois

  3. Heh – the first time I read this, I thought that April had had a difficult childhood and I wanted to know more. Oops!

    Sounds like a great read!

  4. April and Judi, very nice article!

    I do enjoy reading a good action based thriller. They don’t have to be gory or dip into horror to acheive the edge of your seat read. There are several women authors that write them well and I can see I’m going to have to read yours April.

    I thought that was cute about the chef, lol! And I have 14 year old and he’s a reader, but If I push a book, forget it. But he is very good with critiques when it comes to action scenes and you feel like a millions bucks when he says, “wow, that was really cool (although he tends to use other words of the month for ‘cool’)”

    Thank you Judi for calling attention to what looks like a great read, and to April for taking the time to share a bit about herself with us. 🙂

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