By Jamie Rush
Angela Henry and I sat down at a virtual coffee shop to chat about her upcoming book, The Paris Secret. I chose one in Florida, since she lives where it’s very, very cold. She’s the founder of the MystNoir blog and the author of four mysteries. When she’s not working, writing, or practicing her stealth, she loves to travel, is a connoisseur of B horror movies, and an admitted anime addict. She lives in Ohio and is currently hard at work trying to meet her next deadline.
So of course we want to know about the new book, The Paris Secret. What’s the book about and why do you love it?
Less than twenty-four hours after fleeing to Paris, Maya Sinclair is the prime suspect in a brutal murder—and targeted by the real killer. When she’s viciously attacked in the gardens of Versailles, Maya barely escapes with her life thanks to sexy French journalist Simon Girard.
Simon has been investigating the mysterious death of his brother, an art forger with ties to the woman Maya is suspected of killing. Still healing from heartbreak of his own, Simon reluctantly joins forces with Maya, who has awakened feelings within him he thought long dead.
Their search for answers uncovers the existence of a secret society, and puts them on a quest to find a missing crucifix rumored to hold the key to everlasting life. Together, Maya and Simon race through Paris one step ahead of a killer who will do anything to ensure some secrets remain buried forever…
I love this book because it’s edgy and a bit quirky and incorporates two things that I love: history and mystery. It’s exactly the kind of book I love to read.
You also write a mystery series featuring equally nosy amateur sleuth Kendra Clayton. Tell us a little about these books and how they’re different than what you’re writing for Carina Press?
Well, I like to call my Kendra series cozies with bite! They are set in a small town where everyone knows everyone and everyone has secrets. The Paris Secret is romantic suspense, though technically it has more suspense than romance. It also has paranormal and historical elements.
You set your book in Paris, that most romantic, glamorous city. As writers, we’re warned about using foreign settings, despite the fact that we hear readers love them. Were you worried about stacking the odds against you when you chose Paris?
You know, I had no idea that foreign settings were considered risky until my agent started shopping The Paris Secret. There was an editor that turned it down because it was set in Paris. That really shocked me. But I never worry about things like setting or subject matter when I write. I just go for it and trust that it will end up with the right publisher eventually.
Is there a book you’re longing to write that you haven’t had the opportunity or time to yet? Something completely different from what you’re writing now?
I’d love to write a steampunk novel, or a YA novel, or maybe even a steampunk YA novel!
The Paris Secret is an original ebook. Are there any differences in how these books are produced, written, or sold? Did you have more freedom, say with setting, because of that?
There are a lot of differences. One big difference is speed to market. I signed my contract with Carina Press in June 2010 and six months later, on January 17th—The Paris Secret will be released. Also because ebooks can be instantly downloaded, they are marketed directly to readers, which I think is great. And the low overhead in producing an ebook means digital publishers are in a much better position financially to take a risk on quirky, niche busting books that traditional publishers don’t know what to do with and won’t take a chance on, which gives me a lot of creative freedom!
You wrote The Paris Secret in first person, which is great because it really allows us, the readers, to get into Maya’s head and heart. Any particular reason why? What are the advantages and disadvantages of that?
I always default to first person. It’s my natural writing style as well as my reading preference. The downside is that you only get one character’s perspective and many readers don’t like it. But like you said, it’s the best way to get into a character’s head and heart.
You haven’t been to Paris in years, but you captured the essence perfectly. I’d say being a reference specialist probably helped, oh, just a bit. Tell us how you teletransported yourself, and the reader, there so well.
Like Maya Sinclair, my heroine in The Paris Secret, I took a solo trip there in the fall of 2007. But by the time I decided to write a book set there, my memory of certain details about Paris was fuzzy. All I have to say is thank God for Google maps! The street view feature is almost as good as being there. I also took virtual/interactive tours of the Louvre and the Palace of Versailles to help jog my memory for certain scenes. And, of course, working in a library never hurts.
Do you have any writing rituals before you begin a new book or begin working every day?
Yes. I’m a diehard plotter. I usually do a complete chapter outline of a book before I write it. The outlines serve as a blue print. Once I start writing, I aim for a minimum of 1,000 words a day.
What does your writing space look like? Do you have any inspirational sayings tacked to your monitor or wall?
My writing space is a complete, cluttered mess! I don’t have any inspirational sayings on my monitor. I have dust! But that’s way more information than anyone needs to know ; ).
Was there one person who influenced or inspired you most where writing is concerned?
I wouldn’t say there was one person. I’ve always been an avid reader and have gotten inspiration from every author whose book(s) transported me to places and worlds I’d have never gotten to on my own.
What’s the best way for readers to get in touch with you? Do you Tweet/blog/etc.?
My email is: angelar.henry (at) gmail.com I’m on twitter @mystnoir. I also have a blog: http://parissecretnovel.blogspot.com and I recently joined with a dozen other Carina Press mystery/suspense/thriller authors for a group blog called Not Your Usual Suspects http://notyourusualsuspects.blogspot.com
Thank you, Angela, for filling me in on your latest book and your life!
And thank you for picking such a nice warm place for an interview!
For more on Angela and her books, visit her website at: http://www.angelahenry.com