Springfield author set to publish 13th novel

Angela Henry has always loved books. Always an avid reader, Henry remembers her mother, Saundra Henry, using books to bribe her into doing her math homework.

“My treat would be a trip to the library,” said Henry, who was born in Springfield in 1966. “And my love of books has led to two major things happening in my life. I became a librarian and a published author.”

In fact, Henry, who has lived in Springfield all her life and is a 1984 graduate of Springfield South High School, is the author of 12 published books and just completed her 13th novel. She is considered a “hybrid” author since she is both traditional and self-published.

Henry earned her bachelor’s degree in English literature from Ohio University in 1992 and at the time, hoped to one day be a journalist.

“Journalism didn’t work out,” Henry said. “Instead I decided to work in a library.”

Her first job out of college was as a substitute librarian for the Springfield City Schools. Then in January of 1995, she was hired as a full-time library associate for Clark State University.

“The librarian job really helped me segue into my writing genre,” Henry said. “Students needed help finding things in the library and it was my job to be a kind of detective to help them find it.”

Henry’s novels have mostly been mystery fiction, centering on female crime solvers. She started writing her first novel when she was in her late 20s. It took her four years to complete and another ten years before it was published.

“This was at a time when any known literary agent was based in New York,” Henry said. “In those days I would go through a publication called the “Literary Marketplace” and pick potential agents. Everything was done by regular mail.”

Henry was lucky enough to land a contract with a prominent New York agency and worked with her for about a year and a half. But she was unable to sell Henry’s book and after they didn’t agree on the direction of her next book, Henry decided to part ways with that agent. After a couple misses with potential agents, Henry started submitting her manuscript herself to publishing houses.

“I submitted my first book to BET’s publishing division in July of 2003,” Henry said. “Then in December I got a phone call form the editor who said she read my book and loved it. I had my first contract after Christmas.”

Henry’s first book became part of a mystery series centered around a character named Kendra Clayton who solved crimes in her small Ohio hometown. Henry said she based the town of Willow, Ohio on Springfield and Athens.

The traditional publishing process was long and detailed, especially prior to the advent of email and the Internet. Every round of editing required proofreading, typesetting the book after mistakes were found and mailing everything back and forth.

“The Company You Keep,” Henry’s second book, was published in June of 2005.

“Back then, before social media, the publisher did everything to market the book,” Henry said. “The publishers only wanted authors to be involved on the local level.

Henry’s books ended up getting positive feedback and reviews. She was invited to give talks at libraries and even though they were never best sellers, the second book did well enough for the publisher to offer her a second contract for three more Kendra Clayton stories. Then in 2006, BET Books was acquired by Harlequin.

“They (Harlequin) are mostly known for romance novels, so they decided they were going in a different direction,” Henry said. “The three already published books were then owned by Harlequin but after a period of time, the rights would revert back to me.”

With a growing readership for her Kendra Clayton stories, Henry decided to create her own publishing imprint – called Boulevard West Press. She published the last three books in the series and still has plans to write a 7th.

Since then, Henry has written a fantasy series focusing on a fallen angel solving crimes in post Hurricane Katrina New Orleans. She published the first of these books in 2015 and the second in 2020. And last year she decided to work with a publisher again for her next book — a thriller called “The Perfect Affair, which was published in January of this year.

“My second stand alone book (not in a series) came out in May of this year,” Henry said. “It’s about a grad student who loses everything after accepting an offer from a wealthy influencer. Everything goes wrong!”

Now a retired librarian, Henry remains a prolific full-time writer and is always working on her next book.

“I have a lot of ideas and I love creating characters, backstories and motives,” Henry said. “The characters are what I am interested in the most and I really like exploring what brought them to the point of crime, rather than the crime itself.”

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Learn more at AngelaHenry.com.

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