The Writing Job: April Henry on The Writer Files

The Writing Job: April Henry on The Writer Files

Image from Spotify 2024

It was just a normal day and I was just driving my ’17 Forester (named Smokey) along the Triangle freeways and highways when the latest episode of The Writer Files came up on my podcast player. I was like okay, that sounds good, and Kelton Reid started telling me (in his deep, dulcet, and mellow voice) where I was and how I could subscribe and what I was about to hear: an interview with author April Henry. Sure. I had’t heard of her, but that had never stopped me from listening to an author interview before.

By the time I pulled into my driveway at the end of a very long day, the episode was ending. I burst in the door and was like, “Kevin, I just heard the most unassuming podcast about the most interesting person I have ever heard and may ever hear. I have to tell you—”

Image from Wikipedia 2024

Look, I haven’t read a word of Henry’s work. I also don’t want to talk the episode up too much, though I wouldn’t discourage you from checking it out HERE on iheartradio or just looking for the “How NY Times Bestselling Author April Henry Writes” (May 17 2024) on The Writer Files podcast on whatever app you use to listed to podcasts. But I wanted to share some amazing things from the interview because I am bursting with them.

  • April Henry writes every day on a treadmill desk. Meaning she spends hours typing while walking in place. I can’t even imagine but now I want to try.
  • She was published at age 12 by Puffin when Roald Dahl pitched her over a lunch. She didn’t even try again for many years.
  • The woman writes crime. Instead of just doing some research like a normal person, like on the internet or in a library, she has taken classes on things from firearms to knife-throwing, fighting to “urban escape.” At the end of the urban escape class, she was freakin’ abducted (as part of the course), bound, blindfolded, tasered and thrown in a trunk. She was expected to escape and do a number of tasks to demonstrate she could evade bad guys and authorities and survive on the lam.
  • She was recently attacked by a knife-wielding woman in the middle of a road, stabbing the trunk of her car as her husband reversed it out of there to take refuge with the other people whose cars had been attacked.

It does not end there. And these were only the random stories that happened to come up. She is so hard-core as a writer. Sure, we’re not all going to do our writing this way, but I love it. So inspiring and so interesting. And the thing is that she delivers all these stories in this sorta dysthymic tone, and when you look her up she looks like the most normal, middle-aged lady in the country. Don’t be fooled! She’s one of those people who doesn’t know what boring is; she reminds me of an old friend who I would swear things just happened to her (every single day) and she was more than happy to meet this strange life half-way.

Actually, a great place to get more of Henry’s story is at her WEBSITE, which I have taken a peek at. The banner along the top welcomes you with, “I kill people, but only on paper” and if you do some clicking around you’ll find all sorts of interesting biographical information and stories.

That’s all I have to say. Except this: if your kid is doing a project about a famous person and is interested in writing or books, this is the author you want them to research (keeping in mind she only writes for teens and adults). It’ll make for one great posterboard.