December 11th, 2009


By my count, I have written 17 books. Completed them, start to finish. Eight have been published, four are in the pipe line, the first three I wrote before I got published were kind of like first pancakes, one did not fit into any category, and one was chick lit when everyone was writing or had already written chick lit.

So obviously I can do it.

But right now I'm trying to start two different books.

And it's hard! I feel like I'm spending too much time researching, or trying to force myself to brainstorm plots. Only there are so many directions the books could go I'm paralyzed. I really should be writing. But I'm not sure which should direction it should take.

But I can do this. Right?

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Agent appreciation day

How do I love my agent, Wendy Schmalz? Let me count the ways.

We have been together since 1993. That's longer than some folks have been married!

When she first picked me up, she worked at Harold Ober. Do you know who Harold Ober represents? First of all, they have been in business since the 1930s, so they represent the estates of Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Christie, and more. They also represent JD Salinger. I once lied and said I had lost my list of clients, in the hopes of seeing my name on the same piece of paper as Salinger's. Unfortunately, they had too many clients, and the H and S listings were several pages apart.

I trust her. I trust her decisions, I trust her with my money, and if I needed to, I would trust her with my life.

She's funny.

My first two books did not sell, but she never, ever said "If you don't make a sale soon, I'm out of here."

We agree politically.

She has stuck with me through thick and thin, good times and bad, great reviews and great sales, crappy reviews and crappy sales, great reviews and crappy sales, and crappy reviews and great sales.

She knew I wanted to quit my day job and because she herself had gone out on her own, she understood how scary/invigorating it was when I finally did.

When a pitbull is called for, Wendy can be the pitbull and I get to still be the nice one.

And a couple of times when I have gotten in trouble for running my mouth, she has cleaned up after me and made nice.

She has helped make so many of my dreams come true: getting published, quitting my day job, getting on the NYT bestseller list. She believed in those dreams even during long years when it looked like none of them would ever happen.

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Do you have a Kindle? Do you have $1.99?

This week, I put one of my old books on Kindle, about eight months after all the cool kids figured out how to do it.

This isn't just any book. It was a Booksense Pick, an Otto Penzler Pick for Amazon and the recipient of starred reviews in Booklist and Library Journal. Library Journal also chose it as one of the best books of 2002. Foreign rights sold in the Netherlands, Japan and France.

The book is about Free Meeker, a 19-year-old with a shaved head, a tattoo around her bicep, an unplanned pregnancy, and a jerk of a boyfriend. All she wants is a new life. And when she is involved in a multi-car accident and is mistakenly listed among the dead, and ends up with a dead drug dealer's bag of money - fate seems to be handing her her ticket out .

Here's a selection of what some critics said:

"Compulsive reading ... A classic tale of an innocent on the lam, Learning to Fly has the kind of plot that would have made Hitchcock smile in evil anticipation of its cinematic possibilities."
- Penzler Pick, Amazon

"The suspense becomes deliciously unbearable. With Learning to Fly, Henry soars straight into the big leagues."
- Starred Review, Booklist

"Features a most interesting plot, told with easy
grace, choice characterization and mounting tension."
- Starred Review, Library Journal

"A sure-footed chase novel that starts with a bang and rarely slows down."
- Seattle Times

"A high tension thriller [with] an endearing heroine."
- Denver Post

"April Henry's debut, Circles of Confusion, garnered a lot of attention. This book proves that she's a talent tot watch, delivering solid characters, good plot, and a great sense of place."
- Canada's Globe and Mail

"Learning to Fly soars with suspense."
- South Florida Sun-Sentinel

"A carefully plotted look at what can happen when a person's dreams come true, she has all the money she can spend - but she can't shake off the ties of the past."
- Dallas Morning News

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