April Henry is a New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen mystery, thriller, and young adult (YA) novels. The first of her novels that I read was Shock Point when I was fifteen, and it terrified me. I remember sitting in my room on the verge of tears because I was so concerned about the protagonist Cassie who was trapped in a prison camp, desperately trying to plan an escape. I talked to April briefly about her writing and she also shared with me some links to her blog to help further answer some of my questions. April Henry is rather unique in that she actively discusses her life and work with fans on Facebook, and she promises to reply to all of her emails, letters, and messages. Although many of my questions have been answered by reading her blog posts, it was nice to actually connect with her and hear what she directly had to say.
Allison: Shock Point remains one of my favorite novels to this day and I read it about 8 years ago! What is it about scary stories that you love the most?
April: Thanks! Shock Point was my first YA. I like to imagine how I would react in any given situation.
Allison: What inspires you or sparks ideas for writing in this genre?
April: Almost all my stories are sparked by real life. Shock Point was inspired by a real chain of overseas boot camps, Torched by Earth Liberation Front, (very active at the time in Portland), Girl, Stolen by a real local blind girl that was briefly kidnapped when someone stole her mom's
Allison: Do you think you'll always write mysteries/thriller stories?
April: I think I will always write mysteries/thrillers. I may write other stuff and use a different last name.
Some links provided by April:
1. From her blog post titled, “What if? Ideas are all around us,” where April explains, “Sometimes people ask me where I get ideas. All you need to do is watch the news, or read a newspaper or online newspaper, or just watch what's happening around you.” April herself has been in some pretty terrifying situations.
2. “Homicide on the street I walk nearly every day,” a blog about a man who was wanted for burglary as well as kidnapping a young girl who escaped from his van. The theme of escaping and surviving in extremely terrifying and dangerous situations is prominent in all of April’s works.
3. “Standing in the shower and hearing someone break in to your apartment,” is a blog post that in my mind ties it all together. April tells how there is that one night in her life that she keeps coming back to, and what haunts her more is the “girl she could have been,” which plays out successfully in all of her stories.
Horror is such a broad term, and that’s what I love most about it. It can be gore and guts on a movie screen or it can be a young girl running for her life on a page inside of a YA book. When it’s all said and done, horror is just another feeling on the spectrum of emotion. It makes us think, it makes us wonder what we would do in certain situations. It’s this weird love-hate relationship, especially when we lay awake at night in our beds, grateful to be safe and under the covers while simultaneously staring at that dark thing in the corner, telling ourselves it really is nothing.