Monday, April 13, 2009

FACE of BETRAYAL by April Henry and Lis Wiehl

My guest today on the Girlfriend's Cyber Circuit Lit Blog tour is April Henry, whose new book is Face of Betrayal.

When 17-year-old Senate page Katie Converse goes missing on her Christmas break near her parents' white Victorian home in Portland, Ore., law enforcement and the media go into overdrive in a search for clues. Three friends at the pinnacle of their respective careers--Allison Pierce, a federal prosecutor; Cassidy Shaw, a crime reporter; and Nicole Hedges, an FBI special agent--soon discover that Katie wasn't the picture of innocence painted by her parents. Did Katie run away to escape their stifling demands? Was she having an affair with the senator who sponsored her as a page? Has she been kidnapped? Is she the victim of a serial killer?

April Henry knows how to kill you in a 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 received 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 co-wrote Face of Betrayal with Lis Wiehl, a legal analyst for FOX. They have a contract for three more Triple Threat mysteries.

In March of this year, April’s young adult thriller, Torched, came out from Putnam.

What others are saying about Face of Betrayal:

Publishers Weekly
“A sizzling political thriller. … The seamless plot offers a plethora of twists and turns.”

Romantic Times:
4.5 stars [and they don’t give out five stars] “Wiehl and Henry have penned a winner that seems to come straight from the headlines. Captivating suspense, coupled with tightly written prose, will entertain and intrigue."

"Readers are in for a treat as trial lawyer/commentator Lis Wiehl and mystery author April Henry team up for a political thriller."

April was kind enough to answer a few questions...

What is one thing you've learned about the publishing industry since getting your first book deal?
Hang in there. You’d think that after you first get published it’s all smooth sailing, but it’s not. Your career can seem like it’s in the toilet and you can still find yourself on the top of the best seller list with another book. Janet Evanovich was once a washed up romance writer. I know Charlaine Harris and she had had two series kind of die out from under her. She decided to write about what she loved best: the South, and vampires (back when no one was writing about vampires) , and humor. Now her books hit the list and she has a TV series.

How do you approach writing your novel? Do you outline the plot? Start with a character or...?
I start with a plot idea. Like what if you were to take the story of Chandra Levy, the senate intern who went missing, and use that as the kernel of a story.

I’ve written books in all kinds of ways, and they all work. I wrote one book, Learning to Fly, not knowing much except the main character would be alive at the end. Every day, I just sat down and wrote a little bit more. I’ve also sold books on the basis of a detailed outline and a 20,000 word sample. I’m probably more of a plunger than a plotter.

What is the elevator pitch for Face of Betrayal?
Katie, a 17 year old Senate page, disappears. The prime suspect: the Senator who may have been more than just a mentor. Three women – an FBI agent, a federal prosecutor, and a TV crime reporter – team up to find out what really happened.

Describe how you got your first book deal.
I had had the same agent for four years. She had tried to sell two books, with no success. Then she read Circles of Confusion and thought it would be a perfect fit for Carolyn Marino at Harper. And Carolyn bought it in three days. So it was a three-day, four-year success.

What and where is your favorite restaurant and why is it your favorite?
The Pirate Bar in Vernazza, Italy. For breakfast, they serve Sicilian pastries and blood orange juice. Dinner brings fresh pasta, pesto, fish that was in the ocean less than eight hours earlier, flavored with olives and lemons that grow all around the town.

Thanks, April! Despite all the bad press pirates are getting these days, I'm off to book my flight to Italy to swing by The Pirate Bar! Best of luck with Face of Betrayal.

Check out April’s Website here and her blog.


denise said...

Hi Wendy,

I've been following your blog for a while now. Just wanted to say this sounds like a great book!! It gave me chills...The interview with April was also fun to read. Thanks to you both. :)

Wendy Tokunaga said...

Thanks, denise! I'd say pick up a copy of Face of Betrayal as soon as you can! :-)

Word Actress said...

I stumbled on your website, Wendy, I think from the listserv Joyfully Reviewed, maybe. Anyway, I'm good friends with Martha Alderson of Blockbuster Plots so we float in the same circle of very good company! I got such great information from your site. Your query letter was perfect. I used to work in advertising in New York City. It said everything it needed to say - a great pitch!

I have one book published 'The Shadow of a Dog I Can't Forget' (Poetry & Prose) and I'm half-way through my first novel, 'Night Surfing'. I'm working on the back cover blurb for that and didn't even know I needed an elevator pitch until I read your interview with April. I'll be spending the afternoon doing one for 'Night Surfing'. So thanks much for all your tips, Wendy. I'll check in regularly...Mary Kennedy Eastham...P.S, I also was a singer and love karaoke...

Wendy Tokunaga said...

So nice to meet you Mary and thank you for your nice comments. Elevator pitches are some of the hardest things to come up with. Good luck to you!