Tuesday, March 31, 2009

GCC Tours TORCHED by April Henry

So, this week I'm touring April Henry, one of my girlfriends from the Girlfriend's Cyber Circuit, who is such a sweetheart. It wasn't until I read her bio that I got a little nervous. This is the first line of her bio: April Henry knows how to kill you in two dozen different ways. Yikes!! Kinda scary and kinda cool at the same time, right? It's always the quiet ones, isn't it? Like when I met Tess Gerritsen at a recent event, she was this tiny, sweet little woman with an abundant source of positive energy and she was so excited to tell us all about how to remove a brain from a body prior to mummification. (If you want to know, read her books or email me--it's pretty gross.) In any case, I digress. I'm super-excited to host April on my blog this week and I'm hoping that she can fill me in on a few of ways to kill people--don't worry, it's for writing purposes ONLY!

Here is the info for TORCHED, which is available now in hardcover, so go out and buy one TODAY!!

About the book

When Ellie’s parents are busted for growing marijuana, the FBI gives her a choice: infiltrate the Mother Earth Defenders (MED), a radical environmental group, or her parents will go to jail. At first Ellie is more than willing to entrap the MEDics, but the more time she spends undercover—particularly with Coyote, the green-eyed MEDic that she can’t stop thinking about—the more she starts to believe in their cause. When talk turns to murder, Coyote backs out, but Ellie is willing to risk everything to save her family—even if it means losing Coyote and putting her own life on the line.

Do you (or did you ever) have a writing group? Who are the first people to read your book once it’s completed?
I was once part of a group that spun off from a class. We paid our teacher to moderate it and met in people’s homes. That imploded badly when one member decided he hated the rest of us, and let each of us know exactly how much he hated us. I remember listening to him go straight down the line of us, knowing it was my turn next. Everyone was so shocked that no one protested.

I have some go-to people for reading a book – my agent; Gregg Main, a mystery writer and screenwriter who lives in LA; and lately Debby Garfinkle, who writes funny middle grade and young adult books.

What writers do you consider your “sisters”? Are there any published writers that you hang out or tour with a lot? Call? Email? IM?
The late great Barbara Seranella used to be my go-to girl. She knew everyone in the mystery business and was incredibly generous. She had a backstory you almost couldn’t believe – a teenage runaway who joined a biker gang and became a heroin addict, then cleaned up to become a car mechanic, and then became a bestselling author. But Hepatitis C caught up with her and she died in early 2007. I still miss her.

Lisa Madigan, who will have her first YA out in 2009, lives only a couple of miles from me. I always knew she would be published, and I was so glad to be able to say, “I told you so,” when she got offered a two-book deal.

I also have many, many writer friends on Live Journal. (MKH NOTE: You'll have to tutor me on LJ, because I get so frustrated with that blogging site. I have vented on my LJ page about how much I hate it. Maybe if I learned how to use it, my hatred for the site would go away.)

Who do you find yourself being compared to or are often put together with in reading lists or book clubs?
Gail Giles, Caroline Cooney, Alane Ferguson, Adrienne Maria Vrettos.

What writers do you wish would be in your “clique”? (It doesn’t have to be in your genre….doesn’t even have to be living! For example, I’d pick Alice Hoffman, Jodi Picoult, Sarah Dessen, Oscar Wilde, Stephenie Meyer, Meg Cabot, Stephen King and Joan Didion).

Ooh – can I get Stephen King, too? (MKH Note: Sure, I'll share.) I’d also like Susan Beth Pfeffer, Suzanne Collins, and Scott Turow.

If someone was going to join your book club, what would be a “must read” in order to join?
I’m not too picky or too highbrow. I just want them to read fiction, but no Danielle Steele.

What was your “initiation” to writing?
Taking a writing class where we had to write a chapter a week. It was the most fun ever. It felt like magic, like anything was possible.

When did you first feel that you’d officially joined the “published writers’ club”?
I still sometimes feel like a fraud. Probably the thing I can’t believe is getting emails from people who describe themselves as “fans” – and they are not related to me by blood or friendship.

What was your best/worst memory of high school?
Best: Walking with a guy who took my hand – and became my first boyfriend. We had nothing in common. The only book he had ever read was Thunderball. But he was a boy, and at the time, that was enough. (MKH note: That's okay. My husband has only read my book, a handful of mysteries, but mostly sports and financial books. I read enough for both of us.)

Worst: Being on a three-hour bus trip when my period started unexpectedly. I still turn red – kind of like my pale blue knit pants – thinking about it.

In SISTERS OF MISERY, the last place new members want to go to is Misery Island. But if you had the choice, what island would you go to and what would you take with you?
Kaui (MKH Note: LOVE, love, love Kaui. I'm coming with.). 50 SPF sunscreen, sunglasses, a few good books, and snorkeling equipment.

Finally, what can you tell me about your book? Give me a quick run-down about why I’d want to pick it for my own book club.
When Ellie’s hippie parents are arrested for smoking pot, the FBI sees it as way to infiltrate a group of radical environmentalists. They give Ellie a choice – join Mother Earth Defenders and report back to them, or her parents will go to jail. But Ellie finds her loyalties increasingly tested – especially after she falls in love with Coyote, a green-eyed MEDic.

Thanks for answering all my questions, April. Here's some more info about April and what people are saying about her books:

About the author

April Henry knows how to kill you in 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 writes for both teens and adults. This month Face of Betrayal will be published. It’s the first in a new series for adult mystery series co-written with FOX legal anaylst Lis Wiehl.

What others are saying

Kirkus: "Romance and big explosions … the thrills and action will keep readers interested as she navigates her way between terrorists and self-centered Feds."

Booklist: "The contemporary mix of politics and thrilling action will grab teens, not just environmentalists, as Ellie must decide how to save her parents and save the earth. Romance adds to the conflict as she falls in love with gorgeous MED member Coyote, who is both an activist and an ardent pacifist. Both the MEDs and the FBI have good guys and bad guys, and this suspenseful story will spark discussion about what it means to fight for right “by any means necessary."

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Henry keeps a number of slick tricks up her sleeve, and when the plot takes off with a MED tree sit to stop clear cut logging, a cascade of treachery and betrayal is unleashed that should keep the pages flying. This is a far cry from the more whimsical take on environmentalism of Hiaasen's Hoot, but readers who cut their teeth on that amiable escapade may want to explore the ethical implications of wielding vandalism and violence to achieve a worthy end.”

School Library Journal

“Educators and environmentalists will appreciate the similarities between Ellie’s adventures and the exploits of Julia Butterfly Hill, as it will allow them to engage in a discussion about endangered species, corporate responsibility, and logging.”

Teens Read Too

5 stars

“Torched is an edge-of-your-seat thriller. The book starts with a prologue that puts readers in the thick of the action, and things don't slow down from there.”


April’s Website:

April’s blog:

Youtube video for Torched: