Today I have the pleasure of being a stop on THE BODY IN THE WOODS Blog Tour. I have been a fan of April's books for years and am more than happy to talk about her newest endeavor. Please stay and read my Interview with April as we discuss her novel and what was involved in writing THE BODY IN THE WOODS and afterwards enter the giveaway at the end of this post to win a hardcover copy of The Body in the Woods PLUS a whistle.

by April Henry

Alexis, Nick, and Ruby have very different backgrounds: Alexis has spent her life covering for her mom’s mental illness, Nick’s bravado hides his fear of not being good enough, and Ruby just wants to pursue her eccentric interests in a world that doesn’t understand her. When the three teens join Portland County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, they are teamed up to search for a autistic man lost in the woods. What they find instead is a dead body. In a friendship that will be forged in danger, fear and courage, the three team up to find the girl’s killer—before he can strike one of their own. 


I write mysteries and thrillers. I live in Portland, Oregon with my family.

When I was 12, I sent a short story about a six-foot tall frog who loved peanut butter to Roald Dahl, the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He liked it so much he arranged to have it published in an international children's magazine.

My dream of writing went dormant until I was in my 30s, working at a corporate job, and started writing books on the side. Those first few years are now thankfully a blur. Now I'm very lucky to make a living doing what I love. I have written 13 novels for adults and teens, with more on the way. My books have gotten starred reviews, been picked for Booksense, translated into six languages, been named to state reading lists, and short-listed for the Oregon Book Award. 

Author Links/Info

 Thank you, for staying and I hope you enjoy my interview with April.

1. Using the phrase, "this is a story about...," supply five words to describe The Body in the Woods?

This is a story about unlikely friends tracking a killer.

2. Which character in this book (main or secondary) did you enjoy writing about?

My favorite character was Ruby, with her intensity of focus, her lack of social graces, and her need for order. She likes everything to be logical and sometimes things just arent. And she also has what many people consider an unseemly interest in murder.

3. What inspired you to write The Body in the Woods? and did you have a inspiration board i.e. pinterest?

The Body in the Woods was inspired by the real life Search and Rescue group run by the Multnomah County Sheriffs Office. They have two things that set them apart from other SAR groups. One is that the group is teen-led. The second is that about thirty percent of what they do is recover crime scene evidence. This evidence has been credited with solving dozens of murders.

My writing program, Scrivener, allows you to put photos in the margins, so I used it like an inspiration board. I had photos of:

-     - Iraq (where Nicks dad fought),

-     an autistic man with an oddly flat smile (like the man they originally set out to find)

-     the inside of a police car (which Ruby is fascinated by)

-     a guy who looks like my detective (really someone I kung fu spar with)

-     a sweatshirt a dead girl is found wearing (which was the actual photo of a sweatshirt a dead girl was found wearing here in Portland)

-     an oogle (a wannabe street kid)

-     real Portland street kids (Alexis is afraid she will eventually have to join their ranks)

-     and the swifts swirling down into the chimney of Chapman Elementary.

4. What was the easiest and most difficult thing to write In The Body in the Woods?

The easiest was the killers point of view. I wish I could say that was the hardest. I have done a lot of research into what makes sociopaths/psychopaths tick. And I think all of us have a part of ourselves that would like to do as we wish without any thought for others.

The hardest was the last scene. I knew where it was going to take place - in Forest Park, a huge wooded park in the middle of the city. I needed my characters to be able to fight back against the killer, but I also hadnt given them any handy weapons. The book was nearly due and I was running out of ideas. So I drove to the same spot and parked my car around where they would have started into Forest Park. I looked at each of the houses I passed, not with the eyes of someone out for a walk, but instead as my characters might have seen them when they were desperate for a weapon to fend of a serial killer.

5. If The Body in the Woods were turned into a motion picture and you had control over whom would be cast. Who would you pick?

Nick - Jacob Artist or Jaden Smith

Ruby - Chloë Grace Moretz or Hayley McFarland

Alexis - Elle Fanning or Holland Roden

6. What iispired you to become a writer?

I would love to get paid a lot to read books and eat Loaded Baked Potato flavored Kettle Chips. Sadly, no one will pay me to do this, and that flavor of chips was discontinued in 2013. Writing stories that other people love to read is the next best thing.

7. Do you have soundtrack that you played during the time that you wrote The Body in the Woods and could you share that with me?

I wrote a lot in coffee shops that played music which dueled with music in my headphones. To be honest, sometimes I dont really notice whats playing on either set of speakers, just as long as I cant hear conversations (I am hardwire to eavesdrop, which is hard to do while writing your own material).  Here are some songs I could have listened to:

Hozier, Take Me To Church

PJ Harvey, You Said Something

Bear Hands, Bone Digger

Steve Earle, Jericho Road

Blind Pilot, One Red Thread

Furr, Black River Killer

Drive -By Truckers, Little Bonny

Jake Bugg, Someone Told Me

8. What kind of research went into writing this novel?

All sorts of research, big and small.

When the book was read by the copyeditor, she turned out to not only be a birder, but also a former Portlander. So she realized that while I had put birds in Forest Park that really can be found there, I had accidentally chosen summer birds when the book is set in November. A call to the Audubon Society helped me come up with good replacement birds.

I have gone to trainings for the teens of Multnomah County Sheriffs Office Search and Rescue, who inspired the group. They meet every Wednesday evening as well as do weekend outings once a month. Ive learned about man tracking and what dead bodies look like when theyre found in the woods, and watched the teens learn how to search for crime scene evidence.

For every sale made in person or online at the first week The Body in the Woods is on sale, I will donate $1.69 to MCSO SAR.


Prize: A hardcover copy of The Body in the Woods PLUS a whistle
Rules: US/Canada only. Must be over 13 years of age with parental consent to receive mail.
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The Body in the Woods Blog Tour Schedule

Monday June 9

Tuesday June 10

Wednesday June 11

Thursday June 12

Friday June 13

Monday June 16

Tuesday June 17

Wednesday June 18

Thursday June 19

Friday June 20


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