Friday, February 18, 2011

The Interrogation of Sara. J. Henry

Good morning! Please welcome Sara. J. Henry to the interrogation interview room. Sara is not only a dear friend but also a fabulous author. Let's get you settled, you will need sun glasses - it is sunny down here at the bottom of the world... or could that just be the lights here in the interrogation  interview room? Sara's debut novel, Learning to Swim is available from Feb 22 - you can follow the link and pre-order now. 

How much of you is in your main character?
I’ll admit it – she is me. Younger and more daring, of course. With longer hair, which I used to have.

Do you have a favorite coffee?
I don’t like flavored coffee, but I’m partial to Green Mountain coffee, made in Vermont, where I live. With cream or milk.

Where did the concept for Learning to Swim come from?
I was driving along Lake Champlain, a huge lake separating the U.S. states of Vermont and New York, which at its widest point has two ferries that make the hour-long trip, travelling in opposite directions. I imagined a woman on the deck of the ferry on a misty day, seeing something plummet from the other boat, thinking it looks like a small child – and without thinking about it, diving into the water to rescue the child. And then I had to make up an entire book to fit that scene.

Walk us through a typical day.
Wake up, pick up computer, and start working. Stop for some iced tea and a small snack, work some more. Then stop for second breakfast. I’m trying to introduce a 15-minute exercise routine in the morning, but that’s proving difficult. These days I’m spending about half of each day on promotion for the upcoming book. During the summer I break before noon to take the dogs to the river, because that’s when the sun is on our side of the river. I like to do errands and such during the afternoon, and then work again in the evening.    

Do you ever see yourself writing a vampire story?
No, I think they’ve all been written.

What’s your preferred medium when it comes to writing – pen and paper, computer, typewriter? 
I write on computer, edit on computer, and then print a copy and edit by hand.

What’s your favorite type of takeaway?
Indian food.

Describe your current mental status.  

Who are your favorite writers?
A.S. King, Daniel Woodrell, Denise Mina, Don Winslow, Frances Fyfield, Jodi Compton, John Lescroart, Laura Lippman, Lisa Unger, Michael Robotham, Minette Walters, Peter Temple, Reed Farrel Coleman, Tana French. I also love Bareback {Benighted in the U.S.) by Kit Whitfield and The Memory of Running by Ron McLarty, and of course I read Harlan Coben and Lee Child and many others – the first three Cat Connor novels among them.

Who inspires you to do better?
Two of my writing friends, Reed Farrel Coleman (Innocent Monster) and Amy King (Please Ignore Vera Dietz) have both kept me going through the rough spots. They are both superb writers, immensely dedicated, and driven to make their work as good as possible. And they’re extremely supportive of me.

Are you planning a sequel to Learning to Swim?    
Finishing it up right now.

All time favorite movie and why.
I should list something more erudite, but I think it’s About a Boy, with Hugh Grant, Nicholas Hoult, and Toni Collette, based on the Nick Hornby book. It captures all the elements I like in a novel: quirky characters looking for meaning in life, whether they know that’s what they’re looking for or not – and two people sort of saving each other, when one of them had no intention of saving anyone and had no idea he needed saving himself. (Other favorite movies are Billy Elliot, Run Lola Run, Mostly MarthaDear Frankie, and Bridget Jones’s Diary. No, I don’t have a thing for Hugh Grant – it’s pure coincidence he’s in two of my favorite movies, I swear. Colin Firth and Gerard Butler, though ...)

Do you have any quirks?
I am made up almost entirely of quirks.

What is one thing you know about New Zealand? 

I know that crime novelist Ngaio Marsh is from there, that four of her novels (among them some of my favorites) are set there, and that Ngaio is a Maori word. And that of course my pal Cat Connor lives there.  

 Thank you for coming over Sara!

Here’s the first chapter of Learning to Swim. In the U.S., it goes on sale in bookstores Feb. 22, and can be ordered from independent booksellersBarnes and NobleBorders, and Amazon. It will be published in Germany by DTV. Sara’s website is


bermudaonion said...

I love the interview! Anyone who is full of quirks is alright in my book!

Cat Connor said...

Thank you for coming over!

I agree - quirky the way to be.


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