In honor of Teen Read Week, the Daniel Boone Regional Library has invited mystery writer April Henry to join us as a guest blogger. She is an award-winning author who has written over a dozen mysteries and thrillers for teens and adults such as “Shock Point” and “Torched.”
DBRL librarian Angela Scott asked this New York Times best-selling author about the inspiration behind her book “Girl, Stolen” which is a nominee for the 2013 Truman Readers Award. This story follows Cheyenne Wilder, a blind teenager who falls asleep in the backseat of her mom’s car while she makes a quick trip inside the drugstore. In the meantime, the car is stolen… with her in it! When Cheyenne realizes she’s been inadvertently kidnapped, she must weigh the options for her escape.
Throughout the week, we will share April’s insightful responses about her book and her writing process. For example, did you know that this YA author also digs kung fu?! Yeah, that’s awesome.
Angela: Your book was inspired by the real-life abduction of blind Portland teenager Heather Wilson. What was it like to meet her? What were her impressions of your book?
April: Heather and I met on the set of a TV talk show. I was so nervous beforehand. I was worried she would mind that I had used five terrifying minutes of her life as the jumping off spot for a story. But, it turned out that Heather is a big reader, and, in fact, dreams of being a writer. She loved how her story inspired a book. I even gave her some feedback for a fantasy novel she is working on.
Heather and Cheyenne (the main character of “Girl, Stolen) don’t look that much alike. Heather is blonde; Cheyenne is brunette. Heather was born blind, and has some of those involuntary eye movements you sometimes see in blind people. Because Cheyenne was blinded in an accident; her eyes still follow sound and she appears to be looking at you when you speak. Most casual observers might not notice Cheyenne’s blind, especially if they don’t see her cane or her dog. (I realize I’m talking about Cheyenne as if she is real, but she is real to me.)
Heather (as well as other blind people I have spoken with who have read the book) felt that it accurately portrayed what it’s like to be blind. That was something I worked hard to get right. I feel that if you write about a character who has experienced something you haven’t, especially someone who is not in the majority, you are absolutely required to do your homework.
If you’d like a preview of this suspenseful story, check out the first chapter of “Girl, Stolen” available now at April Henry’s website. Tomorrow we ask April about the challenges mystery writers face and get her recommended tips for teen writers!