When APRIL HENRY 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.
Her dream of writing went dormant until she was in her 30s, working at a corporate job, and started writing books on the side. Now she’s a New York Times bestselling author who makes a living doing what she loves. She has written thirteen novels for teens and adults, with four more under contract. Her books have gotten starred reviews, been picked for Indienext, optioned for TV and film, translated into seven languages, and short-listed for the Oregon Book Award.
April’s books for teen include Girl, Stolen and The Night She Disappeared, both from Henry Holt. Girl, Stolen is on the American Library Association’s lists for Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers and Best Books for Young Adults, and is a finalist for many state awards. The Night She Disappeared is a Junior Library Guild selection. Her other YA books are Shock Point and Torched, both from Putnam.
April also reviews YA literature and mysteries and thrillers for the Oregonian, and has written articles for both The Writer and Writers Digest. For more info, visit her website.
Let the conversation begin!
Can you share some writing wisdom?
Good writing is re-writing. You can always edit crap; you can’t edit nothing.
When are you the most productive?
When I turn off the Internet.
What was the first live concert you ever attended?
Is the glass half empty or half full? What is in the glass?
Water, because it’s plain and refreshing and necessary for life. I always see the glass as half-full. I joke that my husband looks at that half-glass and says, “Who in the hell drank my water?”
What do you miss about being a child?
I think I work better as an adult.
How long have you been writing? Does it feel like yesterday?
I’ve been writing for a long time. I started looking for an agent in the late 1980s, and got published about 10 years later. It helps having been through everything at least once.
If you could snap your fingers and appear somewhere else, where would you be?
The Cinque Terra, Italy.
What specific thing have you done that impressed yourself?
Taking martial arts and passing a belt test. I am not the most coordinated person.
What Internet site do you surf to the most?
New York Times.
If you could only wear one color for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Purple or teal. I love rich vibrant colors.
What is the craziest (or stupidest) thing you have ever done?
Watch my teenager go out the door for the evening. (She still lives here. At least on paper.)
What is your favorite season?
What’s the best dinner you ever had?
My mom’s pot roast with milk gravy. She has a way of cooking the carrots where they turn black and garlicky and sweet. And my last meal would be those carrots and the potatoes and the gravy. I don’t care so much about the meat, although it does flavor everything.