Tuesday, March 13, 2012
The accidental YA writer
by April Henry
I hadn’t even noticed that YA lit was exploding in popularity and quality. So when Shock Point - my sixth book - was published as a YA, I ended up with a foot in both worlds: writing for both adults and teens.
Today, my 12th book, The Night She Disappeared, is publishing. It’s also my fourth book for teens. It was inspired by a real case. About thirty years ago, a pizza delivery girl disappeared. Her car was found with the keys still in the ignition and her purse on the seat. Scattered around the car were pizza boxes. The girl was nowhere to be found.
At some point, it came out that the killer had originally asked for a different girl, a girl who drove an orange Volkswagen. Told that she wasn’t working that night, he took the girl who was making deliveries.
I always wondered what it would be like to be the girl who drove the orange Volkswagen. How would it feel to know that you had been marked for death, that it was just chance that you were still walking around and your co-worker wasn’t?
There’s a bizarre twist involving the psychic that actually happened in the real case. I can’t say what it is without giving away some of the plot.
Adding my own take
Of course, the real case and the book differ dramatically. It was just the springboard for my imagination.
Drew, one of the main characters in the book, relies on a longboard for transportation. My daughter was a skater until 8th grade, when she broke her wrist dropping in.