And while I miss him profoundly, there's a joy and a connection that comes in giving his tools a new life.
Less than two months ago, I got this note:
April, I can't begin to explain how much of a role model you are to me. I love all of your books; especially Girl, Stolen:) Recently, my dad passed away and my house burned down. And I look to your books and you inspire me to finish and accomplish a book I have been working on. I have been writing a kidnapping novel hence you are my favorite. I never thought i would see myself as a writer, and you have showed me that you can do anything and accomplish my dreams. One day I hope to have my book published and I would LOVE to send a copy to you and get your approval. I can't begin to explain again about how much you mean to me and how skilled you are.
Thank you so much
Your #1 fan, Carlie
When I wrote back, I found out that Carlie was only 13, and that just a month earlier her dad had set their house on fire and then killed himself. This girl had lost so much, yet she was sending love to me.
Wow! Meet Isabelle Varga, the model pictured on the cover of The Body in the Woods. She recently contacted me to let me know that she is not only on the cover, she is also a fan. So of course I asked her a bunch of questions.
Q. How did you get into modeling?
A. I started modeling right before I turned 15. I was competing for Miss New Jersey Teen USA and a photographer who was doing my headshot for the pageant called an agency and I was signed as a model.
Q. Are you still in school?
A. I go to high school and take off when I get called to work. It was hard at first to balance modeling and school but I learned to do all of my homework in the car or on set at lunch break. I also learned to get ahead of assignments on weekends if I knew I was booked for a job that following week. My time management skills are really good from working.
Q. Do you have to be accompanied by an adult?
A. My mom always came with me to the shoots. Now that I am almost 19 I drive myself to most shoots. I am fortunate to work with the same clients so I know the team very well.
Q. How much did you know about the book before you did the shoot?
A. When I was called to shoot for your book cover I didn't know much until I got to the studio. The photographer, Jonathan Barkat, was shooting several different covers at once. I was told the name of the book at the shoot. I was not allowed to take any pictures since it was not going to be released for several months.
Q. How much of what you see on the cover is real and how much was done in Photoshop?
A. It was an awesome shoot....the dirt and ferns were real and they were piled around me and on me as I lay on the floor. They did several different poses until they found the one they liked best. The eyeshadow was real and it was super cool to see the images on the computer. I did not see the final image until it came out.
Q. How long did it take?
A. The shoot took about 7 hours because several covers for other books were shot simultaneously. Your cover probably took about 2-3 hours. It was a lot of putting the dirt and ferns on me then taking them off to move positions then covering me again.
Q. Do you like modeling? What do you plan to do after you graduate high school?
A. I absolutely love modeling. It has been an amazing experience to work with some of the best photographers and makeup artists in the world. I absolutely loved shooting your cover. The first time I saw it in Barnes and Noble was incredibly fun. All of my friends texted me when it came out. I also loved shooting a Canon commercial which aired in Tokyo. I am very fortunate to have been exposed to different cultures and amazing adults who have helped shaped me into the person I am today. I have a very strong work ethic which started when I began modeling. I was just accepted into college and I will attend Bentley University in MA in Sept. I am going to study Marketing and Media and Culture in college with a minor in management. I hope to work for a major fashion company one day in their marketing department. I also plan to compete in more pageants and hope to be Miss USA one day.
हॉरर धारावाहिक, हमारी जिंदगी और मृत्यु का रहस्य Tv पर चाहे खबरों हो, बहस हो या चैनल पर आने वाले धारावाहिक हो हर तरफ हॉरर ही हॉरर है .. देख कर डर ही लग जाता है… इसलिए सोचा कि थोडी देर मणि से मिल आती हूं… मणि अपने पडोस के घर से अभी लौटी थी. […]Add a Comment
Question from a reader
I am an aspiring author (I checked out your FAQ page so don't worry about me asking you to read something of mine). I loved Girl, Stolen! I wanted to ask how you wrote about Cheyenne being blind? I was wondering if you knew someone who was blind, if you did extensive research, or if you just trusted your gut and thought about how you would feel? I was reading something from another author who said you should only write about things you've experienced, but as a pretty sheltered 16 year old there isn't a lot I've experienced. I was wondering if you followed the same rule.
You don’t have to write only what you know. I’ve heard “write what you want to know” and I think that’s more true.
Years ago, before I was published, I started writing a book from the POV of two middle-aged male Southerners who are identical twins, one of whom is paralyzed. (Not sure I had even been to the South - and I was younger, female, and not paralyzed. Oh, and not a twin.) That wasn’t the best idea. I think I thought it was more “writerly” to write a character I totally had to make up.
I am not blind and at the time I started writing Girl, Stolen, I did not know anyone who was. But I had just seen a news story that was basically the first few minutes of Girl, Stolen (the real girl was let go after 10 minutes) and I knew it would make a great book.
I think if you are going to write about someone who is not like you (especially someone who is in the minority), you should try really hard to get it right. So while I could walk around my house with eyes closed and think about what it would be like to be blind, I knew that wasn’t enough. So:
- I read books by people who had gone blind. (And I was lucky, because there are a LOT! Understandably, it’s a dramatic thing)
- I interviewed blind people and asked them to read the book when it was done.
- I got a white cane and learned basic caning technique.
- I went to the guide dog school for the blind and spent a day there.
And I also trusted my gut and thought about how I would feel.
I think it’s good to experience something yourself if you can. I have fired a gun, I have been handcuffed, and I have learned how to pick my way out of handcuffs with a bobby pin. When a copyeditor questioned whether the killer could really put a body under the kitchen sink, I pulled out everything and climbed in and took a selfie.
So you can combine trusting your gut, thinking about it logically, doing research, interviewing people, and having real life experiences. If you are writing fantasy, it is likely you are never going to experience what it is like to be a were-dragon or cast spells or whatever. So that’s going to be more thinking about it and trusting your gut.
I was a pretty sheltered 16 year old myself. Nothing wrong with that. You don’t have to become a serial killer to write about them (or do you…?). (Nope, pretty sure you don’t.)
Our only child got sideswiped by a truck on the freeway Saturday night. If you believe in string theory and alternate universes, there are so many where something much worse happened.
Reminds me to appreciate every day where all my family and friends are fine.
I'm a native Oregonian. In the early 1980s, my dad, a county commissioner in Southern Oregon, received death threats from a group called Posse Comitatus. At one point, the police advised my dad to leave town and go into hiding. And my father, who was the most mild mannered man I've ever met, actually thought about whether he should get a gun.
A lot of their philosophy lives on in the armed extremists - pretty much of all of them from out of state - who have taken over Oregon's Malheur Wildlife Refuge. And you can trace the Posse Comitatus back to the Silver Shirts, a group modeled after Hitler's Brown Shirts.
Plus I love the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. It's a beautiful spot with a cool little museum.
Ammon Bundy and his crew of armed occupiers who have taken it over the scare me. A lot.
Learn about historical linkages to earlier groups, like Posse Comitatus.
Learn about how one of the main occupiers believes "slavery never really happened."
Learn about how one of original occupiers, and a close confidant of Bundy, made up his military service - and another one has claimed to have been in the Marines.
Learn about an occupier who is a convicted murderer.
Learn about the occupier and spokesman who has threatened to shoot Hilary Clinton in the vagina.
Learn about the main occupier who makes a living off his foster kids - who he admits were his main source of income.
Now they have their own "jury" that they created to "try" public officials, and it's quite possible they will put liens on public officials' personal property. It's what the Posse Comitatus did in Southern Oregon.
I am so sick of these folks. And when I posted something on my Facebook page, I was accused of being a paid goverment shill.
|The cover illustration of KOOKY CRUMBS in progress|
|With a posse of illustrators at the Midsouth |
SCBWI Picture Book Dummy Retreat at Pickwick Landing State Park
|Meeting Dan Santat and Michelle Knudson |
at the National SCBWI conference in LA
|My launch for THE LITTLE KIDS' TABLE !! On September 11th, the day |
after my 43rd birthday. This is probably my favorite picture from all of 2015.
All the ladies in this picture are accomplished artists as well as amazing friends.
|Dulce Desserts provided this amazing cake!|
|Reading my book at Parnassus during the launch. |
I was so happy I didn't have to use a microphone.
|And this is the my other favorite picture from 2015. |
After the party was over the very last picture
was taken with me, Jim Dear, Fry and Sprout
|Then two weeks after that we boarded the Disney Wonder |
for some much needed relaxation from Vancouver to San Diego.
|Launching POPPY'S BEST PAPER by Susan Eaddy|
|Launching DUNCAN THE STORY DRAGON by Amanda Driscoll. Also|
pictured is Jessica Young who launched SPY GUY and FINLEY FLOWERS
|KOOKY CRUMBS arrived on my doorstep on January 11th, 2016!|
I think my word for 2015 will be
Because it all is. My time, my energy and attention, my health, my family, my friends.
I want to act like it. To remember that everying is fleeting.
Instead of coming up with a dozen resolutions for 2015, I decided to have just a single word.
Risk turned out to be a great word. It helped nudge me to do some things I wouldn't have normally done, including:
- Attending Urban Escape and Evasion - a slightly crazy three-day class in LA where I learned how to get out of duct tape, rope,and zip ties, how to pick locks, and how to pick and shim handcuffs. All the books I wrote this year have featured handcuffs. Coincidence? I think not.
- Taking BJJ classes at strange schools where I was ususally the only woman on the floor and older than everyone else by twenty plys years.
- Telling an instructor I did not know well that I found one of his "funny" voices offensive. It swooped up and down and included a lisp and a limp wrist. The conversation went differently than I expected, but I was so scared to speak up - and so glad i did.
Our first real vacation in 8 years
In November, we went to New Zealand, Fiji (for 24 hours) and Kauai. (I've been travelling so much we were able to do airfare with miles!) New Zealand is truly as beautiful as they say. For me, the two most memorable experiences were spending the night on a boat in Milford Sound (and seeing penguins, seals and even a humpback whale), and taking a helicopter to the top of a glacier.
School visits in Virginia
I've been doing a ton of school visits. This school year I will spend about six weeks doing visits talking to thousands of kids. So far, I have been in Washington state, Washington DC, Oregon, Iowa, and Virginia. The new year will bring more Oregon visits, as well as two trips to Texas, and visits to Illinois, Nebraska and Missouri. There's even going to be a tour for my new book, The Girl I Used to Be, in May.
On Friday, I got home from spening two weeks in the Virignia area. I gave versions of the same talk 26 times, plus taught eight writers' workshops. The last time I spoke, I think I actually had a mini panic attack. The mike was heavy and I started worrying that I was repeating myself, then that I would faint, which made me worry even more about fainting, which made me feel fainter....
Near-faint aside, I had an amazing time. I felt like a rock star (which isn't necessarily a good thing). I ate lunch with students at nearly ever school, and one librarian told me that a girl was worried that her lunch wouldn't be "sophisticated enough." Two different times girls broke into tears when they met me, which made me feel honored and also slightly discombobulated. I got asked to sign books, pieces of paper, and phone cases.
I thought of all the years I wrote when only my mom read my books. All the times I worried my career was over. I'm resolved to enjoy this while it lasts.
Did you learn about Mrs Gren at school? She was a useful person to know when you wanted to remember that Movement, Respiration, Sensation, Growth, Reproduction, Excretion, and Nutrition were the defining signs of life. But did you ever wonder how accurate this classroom mnemonic really is, or where it comes from?Add a Comment
I wrote this for the Oregonian back in 2006. Nearly 10 years later, it's all still pretty true. Sadly the Oregonian is a shadow of its former self.
I'm a mystery writer and now I have a clue.
I used to imagine what my life would be like when I was finally a published writer. I envisioned fancy book parties. Standing-room only crowds at signings. Seeing piles of my book at Costco. But I didn't really understand the true pros and cons.
Pro: I will no longer get up to the blaring of my alarm.
Con: I get up to the blaring of my husband's alarm.
Pro: Good riddance to co-workers. No more hearing one clip his fingernails in his open-air cubicle, or being forced to look at another's endless vacation photos.
Con: It's lonely, being by yourself. You can't ask someone which word sounds better. You can't discuss bad reality-TV shows. When you start work on Monday, no one asks about your weekend because no one else is there. About all you can do is blog. And talk to the UPS guy every now and then.
Pro: No boring meetings! No buzz words! No pretending to care about the latest branding strategy!
Con: That's all true. But I sure used to get a lot of writing done in those meetings. I furrowed my brow and looked like I was taking detailed notes. But in my notoriously bad handwriting, I was really scribbling things like "Poison? What's untraceable?" You can write a lot of murder scenes in meetings. Some meetings even inspire them.
Pro: Everything is material. Writing a book opens you up to the world. In search of information about characters and plot possibilities, you'll read stuff you wouldn't have read in a million years. For example, because of Torched I learned how to build a pipe bomb. I cried about something the other day and I actually remember wanting to take notes about how my nose burned right before I started crying.
Con: Everything is material. When bad things happen to you, everyone says, "Just think of what great material this is --you'll be able to put it in a book someday!" People say this after my car breaks down hundreds of miles from home, or we end up sheltering a neighbor when her husband turns out to be an abusive nut case. Then they smile as if this silver lining completely negates the cloud that has just rained all over me.
Pro: You'll be a mini-celebrity. When we bought a new sideboard, the salesman asked me my name. "You're the April Henry? The author?" A fan in the furniture store! And he even waived the delivery fee. Now if only I were really famous - he might have given me the sideboard!
Con: You're more mini than celebrity. When my first book showed up on the paperback rack at Fred Meyer, I felt like I had truly arrived. An employee was kneeling on the floor, stocking packs of gum. "That's my book!" I crowed. "I wrote that!" She looked up at me and shrugged. " I don't read," she said, matter-of-factly. It was clear that she could read, but didn't want to.
Pro: You can recognize others. There's a tradition in the mystery community of naming characters after real people. These opportunities are often raffled off at one of the mystery conventions as part of a literacy fundraiser. Mary Mason, who also goes by Maggie Mason, a bookseller in San Diego, has shown up in probably a dozen mysteries I've read. She's been a hospice patient, a murder victim, and in my favorite instance, she made an appearance in a Robert Crais mystery. Her alter ego was actually two --identical twin 6-foot hookers with dragon tattoos --one named Maggie Mason and the other named Mary Mason.
Con: Others will recognize themselves. Stick to your guns, no matter what anyone asks. You write fiction. You make stuff up. If anyone thinks a character resembles someone in real life: deny, deny, deny. It's simply a coincidence that the bad guy looks remarkably like your old boss, or that a whiny character uses the same annoying catchphrase that your old boyfriend used to use. The only thing I admit to: The characters in "Circles of Confusion" had the same last names as kids in my first-grade class.
Pro: You will have fans. It used to be hard to connect with authors. I know, because I used to write actual letters on paper to authors in care of their publishers. And usually, after many months, I would get a note back. That's why I have a postcard from Roald Dahl I got when I was 12, as well as letters from Susan Fromberg Schaeffer, David Brim and Elinor Lipman. Now it's easy to get in touch with writers. Almost everyone has a Web site, and quite a few have a blog or a MySpace or a Facebook. (I have all four.) You can drop your favorite author a note and usually get a reply in a day or two. Every author enjoys hearing that you liked his or her book.
Con: Some of your fans will be crazy. I've known authors with stalkers, including one woman who wrote thrillers and actually ended up carrying a concealed weapon because she feared her fan turned stalker had threatened to kill her. Mostly I run into people with oddball questions at readings ("Compare and contrast your character to one of the singers on 'American Idol' "),
Once, though, a gentleman at a Borders genuinely did scare me. At that time, women's bodies were turning up in Forest Park, dumped there by a serial killer. The guy seemed to think one of my main characters was a real person. He kept asking me, "Does Claire like to run in Forest Park?" Even when I told him that Claire was made up, he kept repeating the question, until finally I stammered, "Yes, sure, if Claire were real I'm sure she would like to run in Forest Park." The event coordinator ended up walking me to my car. Just to be safe.
And my favorite pro: You could be hot!
Most mystery writers and readers are on the far side of 50, sometimes the very far side. My first book was published when I was 39, when I felt like my salad days were long behind me. But when I showed up at my first mystery conference, guys hit on me (granted, mystery writers in their 50s). Women thought I was skinny and cute and young! I didn't feel like any of these things, but I wasn't about to dissuade anyone.
News broke in July 2015 that the Rosetta mission’s Philae lander had discovered 16 ‘carbon and nitrogen-rich’ organic compounds on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The news sparked renewed debates about whether the ‘prebiotic’ chemicals required for producing amino acids and nucleotides – the essential building blocks of all life forms – may have been delivered to Earth by cometary impacts.Add a Comment
Hi folks, I'm writing my series called Chicken by Chicken. I spend this month writing the real, especially my challenges. This is a difficult post to write. My life hasn't been normal. It has been defined by panic. Panic attacks. I don't remember my first attack, maybe I was 5 or 6. I estimate I have had more than a thousand panic attacks in my life. It is strange, even writing about panic attacks makes a nervous feeling in my chest, but I'm going to press on.
Kevin has become a hoarder.
Okay. No he hasn’t, but it sure feels like he has and if you look closely, it sure FEELS like he has.
Kevin and Roy haunt yard sales every weekend. Every. Weekend. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, without fail. And to be perfectly honest, it’s sort of amazing how much
junk stuff they have found that has actually been pretty useful.
Washer/Dryer $75 for the washing machine – they paid Kevin/Roy to take the dryer and they fixed the dryer for $12.
Pressure Washer: $30 – retail $275
Lights on stands: $10 for both – retail $35 for both
Hedger: $5 – retail $75
Dresser: $20 – retail $150
Six/Seven pairs of sneakers for Roy: $4 – retail: $60 (one was a pair of Nike Jordans)
Leather Cowboy boots: $5 – retail $150
Coats/Jackets for Roy, Kevin and the boys: $3-5 – retail: $40 average
Two ceiling fans w/ lights for Roy: $3 – retail: $75
Two ceilings fans for our house: one for $3, one for $.50: retail $75 each
56 inch TV (works perfectly) for $15 – retail: $200
Antique cabinet $20 – retail $100
Nightstand $5 – retail: $35
Two gamer chairs $2 / $5: retail $80
Two brand-new pairs of jeans $10: retail $35
Air mattresses for the pool $1: retail $5
Painting over our sofa $8: retail $30
IBM Thinkpad $1 (and it works like brand new!): retail $150
Countless DVD’s and XBox games: $.50 a piece.
StarWars DVD set $3: retail $80 (!)
TV FREE: retail $150
25 lb weights $12 total: retail $20 each
20 lb weights $10 total: retail $17 each
Free toolbox (it’s a red toolbox on wheels): retail $30
Shelves $5 each: retail $30
Powerstrips $1: retail $5
Laser printer $5: retail $150 (yes – it works great)
That’s what really surprises me about all of the stuff he’s gotten at these sales – they were all in new, or like new, condition. Whenever I think of garage sales, I think JUNK. And not just JUNK – JUNKJUNK. Like broken, missing parts, dings, scrapes, nicks JUNK. But honestly, God was watching out for Kevin and Roy. And here’s why I think that… Remember, Roy moved into the house with virtually nothing. NOTHING. And not a lot of money. He gets a monthly paycheck from the government every month and that’s it. And because our government welfare system is so messed us, he HAS to spend all of his money every month – he is not allowed to save any of it. And if he gets a job, he can’t work over a certain number of hours or he will lose his benefits.
Tell me that’s not asinine.
But I digress.
So, he has enough money to pay rent and buy food. He doesn’t have a lot left over for any extras. And remember, he’s not allowed to save his money so you can see our challenge – he’s on his own, doesn’t have a lot of things he needs and doesn’t have the money, or the permission, to save for said need.
Kevin and Roy started garage sale hopping. And it would ASTOUND me becasue not only were they able to find everything on their list and the things that Roy needed, but that the items they found were not only dirt cheap, they were in good shape. I think that’s a pretty big testament to Kevin and Roy’s faith. What are the odds that they found exactly what they needed, and it was in great shape, for dirt cheap?
No. I have not gone with them when they hunt for their goodies. Garage sales have left a bitter, BITTER taste in my mouth. I have nothing against garage sales, per se, but I grew up on garage sale stuff and hand-me-downs. Now mom, don’t take offense, you did what you had to do to feed and clothe three children. And might I add, you did a DAMN good job of it. Though I knew the stuff I had was used, second hand, I never wanted for anything, not really.
But when I left my family home to make a life for myself, I was DETERMINED I was not going to live on other people’s hand-me-downs. I wanted my own stuff, call it a pride thing, I guess.
So it seems almost like I’ve come full circle now that Kevin has been bringing home things from garage sales. And though I’m not entirely thrilled that he’s doing this, I have to admit, I’m impressed. It takes a lot of patience to go to ten garage sales every weekend just to keep an eye out for specific things. And he must be doing something right because he’s bringing home some pretty good stuff.
For example, the ceiling fan in our bedroom and the spare bedroom (Brandon’s old room) are from garage sales. He bought the one in our bedroom for $3 bucks. THREE BUCKS. And it’s brand-spanking new. And I like it. And it looks nice. And Kevin says every time he looks at it, he gets a thrill because he remembers stumbling across it at the sale and immediately knew it was a good deal and where he wanted to put it. If we had bought that ceiling fan from someplace like Lowe’s, it would easily be $70 bucks.
But I am concerned. He is wracking up quite a few things and though he finds places for these things, and a lot of times we need these things, we’re getting to the point that he’s having to be creative on where he’s placing these things. He’s talking about opening up an eBay store and running it with Roy which I’m okay with, but the problem with Kevin is, he gets attached to things. I mean REALLY attached to things. He has trouble letting anything go.
Hence my concern.
Kevin says he feels like a rich man because of all of the deals he’s found these past months. And now, every time we go shopping, I hear, “there’s no way I’m paying that much for that item when I can find it for a quarter at a garage sale.”
(Sound familiar, mom?? HA!)
I’ve married the male version of my mother. HAHA!