Many authors consider writing to be their one passion. But with author Henry Turner, he’s more of a storyteller. Turner began writing and making films when he was just a teenager. As his films grew in popularity, Henry moved to L.A., still writing in all his success. During a year spent in Greece, he made a total commitment to writing fiction. His newest book is a psychological thriller called “Hiding,” which follows an unnamed teenage boy who finds himself in the unlikely predicament of hiding in his ex-girlfriend’s house. Young Entertainment Mag sat down with Henry Turner to discuss the inspiration behind his newest book.
Young Entertainment Mag: Who are your writing influences?
Henry Turner: There are really too many to mention. Mark Twain.
YEM: What inspired you to write for young adults? What makes writing for this age group so unique?
Henry: The urgency of teen emotions. The fascinating strategies teens create to deal with the problems in their lives. The brief duration of the teen years in contrast to their lifelong effect on a person’s life and memory.
YEM: “Hiding” is about a teenager who is hiding in his ex-girlfriend’s house. If you could hide anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Henry: In the book it’s really a different sort of hiding that’s described, which is hiding who you really are, hiding your private sense of value. You can do that anywhere – everywhere. The narrator is hiding from the pecking order of the neighborhood that sees very little value in him – he won’t accept that. So it’s up to him to hide his value and hence preserve it.
YEM: The narrator is a teenage boy. How did you create the teenage voice for this narrator? Did you put yourself in the mindset of a teenager?
Henry: Listening to teens talk. Remembering how I talked and thought as a teen. Teens are amazingly eloquent and intellectual – at least many of them are – and are too often falsely portrayed as social-media beguiled monosyllabic hormone cases, or issue-rooted soapbox ranters.
YEM: Where did you get the idea for this book? Were you hiding anywhere when you thought of it?
Henry: I remembered how I used to go down to the basement in the house I grew up in, sit on a sofa and read. People would come and go and not know I was there, but I’d hear and see them. I started thinking, what if I’d snuck down, and what if it was somebody else’s house? That, and hearing about the tragic life outcomes of certain kids I went to school with – the problems they faced that no one knew they had.
YEM: Were any of the characters inspired by people you know? Were you like the narrator when you were a teenager?
Henry: Like the narrator, I had a voice running in my head all the time when I was a teen, perceiving, observing, analyzing, strategizing. Factoring, like the narrator says. That’s something we share. But our feelings don’t always match, and I didn’t go breaking into people’s houses! As far as the other characters, they are composites of personalities I’ve known, with much added and imagined.
YEM: Was it challenging to create a world for this novel since it takes place in one specific house?
Henry: Yes, that’s probably the toughest thing – but in truth, it takes place in one specific mind. When I realized that, I knew I could travel anywhere as fast as thought, so it wouldn’t stagnate.
YEM: And finally, you made an interesting choice not to reveal the narrator’s name for most of the book. Why did you decide to keep the narrator’s name from the reader?
Henry: Many reasons. He hides his name, just as he hides aspects of his thoughts and identity – it’s a clue for that. Also, it was to allow the reader to think the narrator’s thoughts, and really be the narrator, without the impediment of a name. “I’m you,” he seems to be saying. “Let these be your thoughts, too.” And until he reveals his true self, he has no right to a name. We have to know his real motivations. But the main point is he’s hiding his name so as not to specifically identify himself and risk being labeled, discarded and ignored.
“Hiding” is available now. For more information, visit http://www.