Schooled in Lies by Angela Henry l Q&A + Blog Tour + Giveaway

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 librarian, 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 Today.com. 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. You can visit her website at www.angelahenry.com or her blogs at www.angelahenry.blogspot.com and
http://aamysteries.blogspot.com. Connect with her on twitter at www.twitter.com/mystnoir.

Welcome to The Writer's Life, Angela. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

I’ve worked in the library field for more than twenty years and I started writing short stories in high school. I got away from writing fiction when I was in college but writing a novel was always a goal of mine. I didn’t attempt it until I was in my late twenties and didn’t get published until I was in my late thirties.



Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

GED instructor Kendra Clayton’s high school days were nothing to brag about. So she’s not too thrilled when on top of having to take a class to renew her teaching certificate or be fired, she gets roped into serving on her high school’s reunion committee.

Spending time with her former classmates is even less fun than having a root canal. Then to make matters worse, Kendra and the other committee members start receiving strange messages and having freak accidents. When one of the accidents results in a death, Kendra is convinced it’s murder. Unfortunately, neither the reunion committee nor the police take her seriously.

To try and prevent another death—and to keep from worrying about all the time her sweetie, Carl, has been spending with his scheming ex-wife—Kendra digs into the lives of her fellow committee members and uncovers enough secrets, lies, and betrayal to make her head spin. When a second murder occurs, Kendra realizes she needs to watch her back in her search for the truth before a killer turns her into another buried secret.

I wrote Schooled In Lies because I thought it would be fun to delve into aspects of Kendra’s past that I hadn’t explored before.


What kind of research was involved in writing Schooled In Lies?

I didn’t have much research to do beyond drawing on my own high school memories both good and bad. The little bit of research I did do involved the careers of Kendra former classmates.


Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

Definitely bumpy! It took me four years to complete my first novel. I was able to get a literary agent fairly quickly, within six months of completing my first book. However, she couldn’t sell it. After a year of trying, she gave up and we parted ways. But I still believed in the book and started submitting it to editors on my own because I couldn’t find another agent willing to represent a project that had already been shopped around. Two years later, I did manage to sell the book on my own. It took ten years from the time I started writing until I got that first contract.


For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

It took about six months.


Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

I’m represented by Richard Curtis of Richard Curtis Associates, Inc. in New York.


Do you plan subsequent books?

Yes. Book five in the series, KillJoy, is on track to be released in 2011. After that, I’m unsure when the next Kendra Clayton book will be released because I’m working on some new books in different genres.


Can you describe your most favorite place to write?

I love to write surrounded by books. My books are written in libraries, usually the library I work at during breaks and lunch hours.


If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

That’s an easy one. A reputable publicist!


How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

I think self-promotion is essential because an author is the biggest cheerleader for their book. To promote Schooled In Lies I’m doing a blog tour, emails blasts, targeted online ads, book giveaways on Goodreads.com, and reaching out to libraries that have my other books in their collections. I’ve also been participating on a lot of social media sites like twitter. It’s a lot of work but I think it’s important to have a strong online presence. I don’t know about other people, but when I find a book I’m interested in, the first thing I do is look the author up online. I’m always stunned by how many authors don’t have a website.


What’s the most common reason you believe new writers give up their dream of becoming published and did you almost give up?

I think many people give up because they don’t understand that publishing is a business and that having a well-written manuscript isn’t always enough. One of the most frustrating things I’ve learned since becoming published is that your work can be rejected for reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of your writing. For example: If a publisher can’t figure out how to market your book, no matter how excellent it is, they will reject it. Getting rejected for those kinds reasons can be very frustrating. Quite recently I had a period of wanting to give up and throw in the towel. Thankfully, it didn’t last long.

Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?


Learn all you can about how publishing works. There is a wealth of information to be had both online and off. There really is no excuse not to be well informed. Try and write everyday and don’t give up!


Thank you for your interview, Angela. I wish you much success!

Thanks for having me ; ).


We're having a giveaway! Leave a comment or a question for Angela between now and Feb. 19 and you could be the winner of an electronic copy of her new book, Schooled in Lies! Or simply write "I love Schooled in Lies!" in the comment section!

Only those leaving email addresses with their comment or question qualifies.

The winner will be announced on Feb. 22.

Good luck!
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