This week, April Henry joins us here at The Randoms. Hi April! On March 5, her book TORCHED comes out from Putnam Juvenile. Read on to see how eleven years in publishing has translated to sales in the YA and adult worlds, and phone calls with a movie producer.
1) What is your typical writing day like?
I used to dream of what my life would be like once I stopped working at a day job. No more getting up to my alarm clock.
The reality is that I still get up early – I forgot about my husband’s alarm clock. Then I stagger downstairs, make coffee, read emails, post a LiveJournal, read my friend’s LiveJournals (many are other writers), and finally go out for a five-mile run. It’s only after I get back and eat breakfast that I start writing. Ideally I will write two hours before breakfast and a couple more in the afternoon before my daughter comes home from school. I usually split my time between two or more projects. Right now I’m working on a YA thriller and an adult mystery. Soon I’ll add editorial notes on two additional books to the mix.
2) Why did you decide to write YA?
Like most of my writing career, it was accidental. My first book that sold (not the first book I wrote – it was actually the fourth book I wrote), sold as a mystery, although I hadn’t thought of it as that. My first YA, SHOCK POINT, had a main character who was 16 (it’s not like adults would get sent to teen book camps,so she had to be a teen), so my agent said it would need to be sold as a YA. It turns out I love YAs and I love teens (good thing, since I now have one at home). TORCHED is my latest YA (publishes March 5), and SHADOWS WALKING BACKWARDS will come out in 2010.
3) What is the biggest surprise you’ve experienced when it comes to book publishing?
One surprise is how different the YA and adult markets are. I know a lot of children’s writers without agents. That never happens in the adult world. YAs are given longer to succeed. Adult books are given 8-10 weeks. Sucess is measured differently too. There are so many state lists and award programs for YA books – much more than exist in the adult book world.
4) Do you ever have any “dark days,” when you wonder why you’re a writer? What are those like, and how to you get through them?
I got my first contract in 1997. I thought I was set forever, but publishing is a business and it has its up and downs. I truly believe the only way you can lose though is to stop trying. If you work at your writing and you don’t give up, you will get published. There are times where you just have to keep working and have faith.
5) Authors talk about “the call.” Usually, it has to deal with getting an agent or getting published or getting an accolade. What was the best “call” you ever received in terms of your writing, and how did it go down?
One of the most fun calls was from a movie producer. Nothing every happened in the long run, but for months it was so fun to hear that he was talking to various famous directors and actors.
For more April, visit her here.