April Henry: How a Dark Past Can Write a Bright Future


Elise Banks

Best-selling Author April Henry talks with students about her writing history and her journey to becoming a success.

On April 19, the librarians hosted a visit from New York Times Bestselling author April Henry. Henry presented a slideshow presentation to sixth and seventh hour classes about why she became a writer and her journey to success.
In Henry’s presentation, she discussed some of her family history, how her past created inspiration, and how she could incorporate a piece of herself into her work.
Though her family background played a part in storytelling, Henry uses more of her own life experiences to engage audiences.
“Someone broke into my apartment when I was in college, and I escaped, but nothing bad happened to me, but now it makes me think, everytime I see a news story about an escaped prisoner or something, it makes me think, what would I do if that were me,” Henry said. “So I think with certain situations I see or certain things I experience, it makes me think, what would I do, or what would I do differently, and those questions, you know, play a part in how I tell stories.”
Throughout the presentation, Henry took students through the process of how she tries to bring her stories to life and make them as realistic as possible.
When writing about something specific, she tends to reach out to professionals and experts in that field so she can get a better understanding of the topic and to make sure the story she is telling is as detailed as possible.
“When conducting research for a book, most people really like it when someone cares about them and what they are doing,” Henry said. “I always try to learn something, like I don’t call a DNA expert and go ‘explain DNA to me,’ I want to know something when I call them.”
While going through the presentation, Henry also explained how one of her main hobbies allows her to make her books real and authentic.
“When I started doing jujitsu, I just picked it up as a hobby that would help in the future if I am in a dangerous situation, however once I got started, I was exposed to so many types of classes and techniques I just decided to keep with it, and now I’m so deep into it might as well keep going,” Henry said.
Though not a common hobby, she takes advantage of this martial art and continues to stay curious and open to trying new things dealing with self defense.
“Doing jujitsu and taking certain classes plays a huge part in how I write certain scenarios,” Henry said. “Like if I were to write something about someone fighting to get away from a murder or kidnapper, since I have trained in that area, I would know how to write it well. And I also just really like taking the classes.”
April Henry encourages writers to continue writing and asking ‘What If ?’. She is currently in the process of writing another book and making one of her best-selling books, “Girl Stolen,” into a movie.