Welcome to the blog tour for
THE BODY IN THE WOODS by APRIL HENRY!
I am so excited to be on the blog tour for THE BODY IN THE WOODS! I’m a big fan of YA books that a strictly mysteries so I was super excited to be able to be a part of the blog tour and pick author April Henry’s brain on mystery writing! She has a guest post for everyone today on what makes a good detective and even analyzes each of her main characters!
If you’re not familiar with THE BODY IN THE WOODS, it is being released on JUNE 17th — so close! Before we head on over to the blog post, here’s a little bit more about THE BODY IN THE WOODS:
GUEST POST FROM APRIL HENRY: WHAT MAKES A GOOD DETECTIVE?
What makes a good detective? What a great question! Even though I’ve written something like 20 books, I’m not sure I’ve ever thought about this consciously. So I worked on this list and only then considered whether the three main characters in The Body in the Woods actually have these traits. I’m relieved to say that they do!
In the book, the three join Portland County Sheriffs Search and Rescue, and eventually they become friends at the same time as they track down a serial killer. They are:
- Alexis – who has grown up covering for her mom’s mental illness.
- Nick – whose bravado hides his fear of not being good enough.
- Ruby – who just wants to pursue her eccentric interests in a world that doesn’t understand her.
So what makes a good detective? Someone who:
- is curious. If she’s not curious, she’s not going to notice the seemingly insignificant clues that the reader is also going to overlook (and then feel amazed and yet satisfied when they turn out to be key to the mystery’s solution). All three characters—Ruby, Alexis and Nick—are naturally curious, but Ruby curiosity about certain things, especially crime, borders on obsession.
- has a personal stake in the outcome. Your detective needs a reason to keep pursuing the answers, even in the face of danger. It could be his own reputation or life is at risk, but it’s even better if he is fighting to save someone else, especially someone he loves. Over the course of the book, Alexis is worried about her mom as well as a friend she meets. And by the end, all three of my main characters are in danger—and willing to do anything to save the other two.
- has a flaw. Does she battle an alcohol addiction? Have a fear of heights or babies? Is she constantly shooting off her mouth? While she may solve the mystery, her flaw might always trouble her. I think that’s probably true for Nick, Ruby and Alexis.
- deeply desires something. Love, respect, friends, revenge, popularity, to find her birth mother. Alexis wants her mother to be normal. Nick wants to live up to his soldier father, who died a hero in Iraq. Ruby wants to have a friend.
- has a special talent. On the surface, it might not even seem that special. I once read a great mystery where the main character was a librarian, and solved the mystery using his research skills. In William Goldman’s The Marathon Man, the main character, a marathon runner, escapes by running away, despite having been tortured. If your main character is a shoemaker, then the finale should involve her using her shoemaker skills, such as hammering tiny tacks or knowing someone’s shoe size just by looking. Of the three characters, Ruby is probably the one whose talents are best suited for crime fighting. She is very detail oriented, and notices the smallest of changes. She is also fascinated by true crime.
- who is able to be brave when it’s required. The character doesn’t need to be brave all the time. In fact, he might be more believable if he occasionally wimps out or turns tail. But when the chips are down, when the character’s back is against the wall, then he needs to be draw on a strength he might not even have known he had. And that’s true for all three, but especially Nick.
As it says in the beginning:
For Alexis Frost, Nick Walker, and Ruby McClure, it all started with a phone call and two texts. It ended with fear and courage, love and loathing, screaming and blood. Lots of blood.
The book was inspired by Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue, and I have been so impressed with the amazing things these kids do every day. For every sale made in person or online at Powells.com the first week The Body in the Woods is on sale, I will donate $1.69 to MCSO SAR.
Thanks, April!!! I’m always fascinated by authors who write mysteries and how they devise such wonderful characters who perform detective work. It’s so awesome to see each character broken down like that and how their skills really differ from one to the other!
Want to connect with April Henry? Check out her links below!
- Check out April Henry’s website, full of research information!
- Follow April Henry on Twitter!
- Become a fan of April Henry on Facebook!
- Read an excerpt of The Body in the Woods on the book page.
And be sure to check out the stops on THE BODY IN THE WOODS blog tour too! Another thanks to Macmillan for hosting the tour and putting everything together!
THE BODY IN THE WOODS BLOG TOUR
Want to win a copy of the book? Macmillan is offering a hardcover copy up for giveaway! One winner will receive a hardcover copy of THE BODY IN THE WOODS plus a book promo whistle! Just enter the rafflecopter form below to enter! Giveaway will be open to entries for one week, US & Canada entries only, please. Good luck!!