These days, most authors are out there energetically promoting their books in print and broadcast and via social media—wherever they can get attention. But Dee Henderson keeps a low profile. She avoids telephone interviews because of hearing problems, declined to provide a current photo, and will say only that she lives in Illinois.
With her track record, Henderson can probably afford to lie low. Her latest romantic suspense, Full Disclosure (Bethany House, Oct.), has a first printing of 125,000, so clearly the confidence of her publisher. It’s her 16th Christian novel, and there are nearly 3 million copies of her previous books in print. Her honors include two Christy Awards and a RITA Award.
“I’ve always believed marketing should be about the book, rather than the author,” Henderson wrote in response to questions from PW. “It’s also a decision about priorities. I keep a limited list rather than a to-do-list. I know I won’t get done what everyone would like from me, so I choose the items that personally matter to me, or impact my family.”
She added, “Everyone has challenges in life. Most of mine have simply been around my hearing.” Henderson says she has good friends and publishers with whom she has never had a phone conversation because she doesn’t trust her hearing. “I write a lot about survivors--overcoming what’s happened, learning something about yourself and friends, deepening what you know about God--it adds a rich layer to the stories I want to explore. Some of that does come from personal experience.”
Bethany House is conducting a national print, broadcast, and online campaign for Full Disclosure that includes a video trailer posted on Henderson’s low-key Web site, where the author welcomes readers’ notes. But Henderson describes herself as “old school.” She travels little and primarily sends out bookmarks.
Like many authors, she had another career on the way to writing for a living, but one perhaps unusual for a novelist. Henderson has degrees in math and computer science and was an engineer. She moved into full-time writing in the mid-90s, relying on savings from her high-paying engineering job.
“Being an engineer for a decade was a gift,” writes Henderson. “Engineering teaches you a way to look at things that is a useful skill for a writer to have. There’s a logic to how stories are constructed, to how scenes build on each other, to how plots pivot.”
In Full Disclosure, Henderson brings together characters Ann Silver, Midwest homicide investigator, and Paul Falcon, the FBI’s top murder cop, when Silver passes a case off to Falcon.
“What a character thinks about God, whether they believe or not, interests me,” Henderson writes. “That’s the key difference between an ABA story that’s a good romance and mystery, and one of my books. I’m not ready to say a manuscript is finished until I’ve figured out what I want the book to share about God.”