Author Spotlight: Henry Turner talks Hiding
Today I'm thrilled to be hosting Edgar Award Nominated Author, Henry Turner, and his brand-new book Hiding! The novel came out April 3rd and Publisher's Weekly calls it "a haunting meditation on self-acceptance and self-realization, and love found and lost."
Check out the official synopsis below and keep reading for my interview. :)
When a teen boy who excels at being unseen finds himself hiding in his ex-girlfriend’s house, he uncovers carefully concealed truths—about her, her family, and himself—in a twisty mystery with a shocking surprise.
One night, a lovelorn teen boy “accidentally” slips into the home of his ex-girlfriend, Laura, and ends up hiding in her basement, trapped in the house by its alarm system. How long can he stay hidden? What will happen if he is found? What will he learn about Laura—and himself—in this house? And what is his true motive for being there? Turner’s affinity for observant outsiders—and teens who share a desire to hide from nosy adults and judgmental peers—shines in a psychological thriller in which the slow burn of tension keeps readers turning pages to a sudden twist that changes everything.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Originally from Baltimore, award-winning independent filmmaker and journalist Henry Turner lives in Southern California. Visit him online at henryturner.com, on Twitter @AskHenryTurner, and on Instagram @HenryTurnerAuthor.
And now, here's my chat with Henry!
Hi, Henry! Welcome and congrats on the release of Hiding. Can you share a little about the story and what inspired it?
HIDING is about a teenage boy who sneaks into his ex-girlfriend’s house, and gets stuck after the alarm system is activated. His true intentions are unclear. He decides to look around after everybody leaves for school and work, and he learns things about her he never knew — things she kept hidden in her personality — while gradually revealing things he’s kept hidden in his own. We experience the growth of his complex thoughts and feelings about the girl, but also about the neighborhood he’s grown up in, his parents, and certain events that have shaped his life. He’s been called an unreliable narrator but I see him as more indecisive, admitting his true feelings only when circumstances make hiding them impossible. It was inspired by the life stories of some kids I’ve known, but also by observations I made while talking with high school students after my last novel was published, about the pressures of having to always think of what you’ll be, not who you are.
Hiding’s main character remains anonymous for the majority of the book. What challenges did this anonymity pose from a writing standpoint?
Technically, it was interesting finding ways to write so his name was never missed. He’s like an observant eye, and by never making much reference to himself, the world he sees becomes that much clearer. He’s not standing in the way, so to speak. I’ve always been fascinated by the similarities between 1st and 3rd person narration, and how the two cross paths. The boy in HIDING makes a journey, in a way, from objectivity to subjectivity, from anonymity to self-revelation and awareness. Only then can he have an individual name.
I’m a firm believer in the idea that every story teaches the writer something new, so what did writing Hiding teach you?
That personal value can’t be based on achievement, because really it’s the other way around. I wanted to write about a teen who doesn’t have much outward action in his life. It’s in the life inside him that he finds his value, and this is something he learns to share with others. I kept thinking about how I wanted to write something that could have real meaning to a teen, and show a teen life the way I remember experiencing it. Pressure is put on teens to conform on so many levels, to always achieve and base their sense of value on achievement, and yet they have private minds that are always observing and factoring what happens around them in the society constructed and imposed on them for better or worse, and that often causes conflict in their desire to achieve. I wanted to tell a story about a teen who feels he has value without any achievement. He feels his value pure and simple, and we get to know why.
What part of the writing process do you find most challenging and how do you tackle it?
Trying to find new territory, new subject matter – different dramatic objectives – and have it all come from a character who seems to be an actual human being.
Hiding is described as a taut thriller. For writers, what are your best tips for manipulating tension to keep the reader engaged?
Create hooks. Something has to be coming. The mystery has to take on new dimensions or else it goes slack. My last novel, ASK THE DARK, was propelled by the suspense of events. HIDING has many events, but the most mysterious thing is the hero’s personality. I structured the plot out of his personality, making his thought progression suspenseful. There’s something unpredictable about a personality that doesn’t fully reveal itself, and that unpredictability is the essence of tension.
What are you reading, watching, or otherwise currently infatuated with?
I’ve been doing some revisiting: Alfred Hitchcock. Val Lewton. Algernon Blackwood. All classic masters of mystery and suspense.
And finally, what’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned so far in your publishing career?
To stay focused. Getting published is great – but it doesn’t make writing any easier.
Many thanks go out to Henry for taking the time to tell us more about Hiding, as well as sharing some insight on the importance of creating hooks in thriller-writing. Be sure to add Henry's latest thriller to your Goodreads list, or (better yet!) order your copy RIGHT NOW from Amazon, Barnes & Noble. And don't forget----you can also request a copy at your library, or local independent bookstore.
And, as always,