Guest interview: Angela Henry

Everyone, please welcome Angela Henry, our special guest for today!

Angela Henry was once told that her past life careers included spy, researcher, and investigator. She stuck with what she knew because today she's a mystery writing library reference specialist, who loves to people watch and eavesdrop on conversations. She's the author of four mysteries featuring equally nosy amateur sleuth Kendra Clayton, and is also the founder of the award-winning MystNoir website, which promotes African-American mystery writers, and was named a "Hot Site" by USA When she's not working, writing, or practicing her stealth, she loves to travel, is 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.

Welcome to Fierce Romance, Angela! Please tell us about The Paris Secret, your new book out from Carina Press.

Here is the official cover copy for The Paris Secret.

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...

Why did you choose Paris for the setting of this book and how did it play into the plot or characterization?

Well, I'd been dying to go to Paris for years. But I either didn't have the money or couldn't find anyone to go with me. So in 2007 I finally got up the nerve to go by myself. It was love at first sight! It's such an amazing and beautiful city, so full of history. I just knew I had to set a novel there even before I came home. And while I was touring the Palace of Versailles, I heard a story from my tour guide about a French Queen who gave birth in the palace to a child fathered by her African lover, which gave me the idea for the plot.

What an inspiring story! Visiting our favorite places can really spark the story ideas. Please tell us about your other books.

I also write a cozy mystery series featuring amateur sleuth Kendra Clayton. The series consists of four books so far, with a fifth out next year, and is set in the fictional college town of Willow, Ohio. The series is very near and dear to my heart. So much so that when my former publisher changed directions and stopped publishing mysteries, I took over the publication of the series.

A smart idea! What inspires you? What motivates you?

I get inspiration from everything. It's so hard to pin down where it comes from. Sometimes it comes from a real life situation or even from a dream I had. I'm also constantly playing the 'what if' game. For example, I'm a librarian and when I decided to write The Paris Secret my first question was "What if a librarian took a solo trip to Paris, met a hot Frenchman, and had an adventure? That was all it took. I had to answer that question. I'm motivated to write by all the stories swirling around in my brain that I just have to let out.

When did you know you wanted to be an author?

I knew I wanted to be an author when I was in my teens and writing short stories for English class. But I didn't actually attempt my first novel until I was in my late twenties.

What was the most important thing you learned just before you made your first sale?

I learned patience and perseverance! From the time I typed the words The End on my first novel to the time I was offered a contract for it, ten years had passed. That was ten years worth of rejections and near misses, and good old fashioned waiting. But I believed in that first book enough to hang in there and keep trying.

I agree with you! What do you wish you’d known before becoming published?

That publishing is a business and your work can be rejected for reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of your writing. If a publisher can't figure out how to market your novel, or they already have a book on their list simaliar to yours, or the sales of your last book were low, it's likely you'll get rejected.

Unfortunately that's very true. What’s next for you?

I'm working on my very first urban fantasy novel. I'm also working on a proposal for the next Maya and Simon adventure as well putting the finishing touches on my fifth Kendra Clayton novel KillJoy.

These sound fantastic! Thanks so much for being our guest today, Angela! Would you like to ask blog readers a question?

Yes... What is your favorite city and why?

One lucky commenter will win a copy of The Paris Secret!!

Please visit Angela's website, blog and Twitter page.


Carly Carson said...

You can't go wrong with a book set in Paris! Hmmm favorite city? Paris is definitely up there, but you already picked that so I'll go with Venice or Florence. OK Florence. So many treasures in one intimate-for-a-city space.

Chicks of Characterization said...

Wow, this book sounds amazing, and with a back drop like Paris, how could you go wrong? My favorite city? It would be a toss up between Inverness and Stirling!

Wishing you many, many sales Angela!

Thanks so much for sharing this with us, Nicole!

Andrea :O)

Nicole North said...

Welcome, Angela!! Thanks so much for being here with us today! Favorite city? I discovered recently that I love Savannah. It's very atmospheric and has a ton of history. I love all the squares with the trees, fountains and gardens. It's one of the most beautiful cities I've seen.

I also love Edinburgh for it's even more ancient history which stretches back beyond medieval times. I love the old buildings, castles, coaching inns, pubs and monuments.

J K Maze said...

Getting in trouble in a foreign city has got to be a most exciting plot. I would love to read this book and also will check out your others.


Janni Nell said...

My favourite city is Sydney, Australia. Luckily it's my home town so I don't have to pay to visit.
I love the climate and the harbour and New Year's Eve fireworks.

Alexa said...

Great interview!

Edinburgh is my favorite city. There's just something magical about the place, its people and its history. I would move there in a heartbeat!

Angela Henry said...

Thanks for stopping by everyone! And many of the cities you guys mentioned are places I hope to get to one day. I love to travel ; )

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

You've certainly had enough life experiences to write great stories, Angela. I love the concepts and the foreign intrigue. Best of luck to you with lots of sales.

I have been fortunate to travel and have so many favorite cities. I loved Paris as well and several of the larger cities, but for some reason Scotland has stolen my heart. It's those small towns in the Highlands that draw me back. Oban was a delightful place to explore and the older part of Paisley, too.

Tia Nevitt said...

I love St. Augustine, Florida, which fortunately is just down the road! It is called the Ancient City for a reason, although it's old buildings are young compared to, say, Rome's. Still, it has tons of character, and is much like New Orleans with its courtyard resturants, wrought-iron railings and narrow streets. I love it so much I am setting a story of my own there!

Debby Lee said...

Hi Angela, wow your books look and sound really intriguing. My favorite city would have to be LA. I can't wait for Nationals to be held in anaheim, all the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, it's going to be a blast.

Pat McDermott said...

Whether it's true or not, how wonderful to think you have past lives to inspire you! Maya and Simon's story sounds so dangerously exciting. As for a favorite city, I grew up in and love Boston. It's not too big and has lots to offer. Best of luck to you and your writing, Angela.

Elise Warner said...

Your book sounds like an all-night read. Hard to pick just one city-Florence, Verona and Venice for romance. Melbourne for a taste of adventure. The smallest penquins in the world, a recreation of a gold mining town and the most delicious fruit bread for breakfast.

Nicole North said...

And the winner of Angela's book is Andrea (Chicks of Characterization).