J.A. Hennrikus teaches and works in arts administration at Emerson College, is a proud member of Red Sox Nation and a social media fanatic. She is also a member of Sisters in Crime, on the board of the New England chapter and a Guppy. She blogs at http://jahennrikus.com/ and http://nhwn.wordpress.com/. Her Facebook fanpage (of course!) is http://www.facebook.com/JAHennrikus.writer
Your story, “Tag, You’re Dead” is about the darker side of social media. What inspired you to write this story?
I heard about a woman who wouldn’t accept her husband’s friend request, and it got me thinking. There can be a lot of drama around social networks, especially closed networks like Facebook, where you have to friend people or agree to their friendship request. You can also defriend people with a click. These connections aren’t just technological, they are personal. You may want Facebook to be for professional purposes, or to catch up with high school friends, but at some point your lives are going to collide with each other. And if you’ve left parts out, there are going to be repercussions.
I should make it clear, I am a social media fan, on Facebook and on Twitter. So I see the good, but I also think about the challenges. And as a mystery writer, I blow them up.
“Tag, You’re Dead” has a distinctive approach to the story telling. What came to you first, the plot or the narrative structure?
I wrote this story for a contest that had a 5,000 word limit. I thought of the plot first, and decided to try and write from two points of view. The word count quickly got up over 10,000 words, and I hadn’t even started the story. So I saved the file, and started again, using one POV, but 3rd person. Again, the narrative kept inching the word count up. So I decided to simplify the story, and tell it in 1st person with the voice that was telling me the story. And it came out as a monologue.
Tell us about your other writing projects.
I am querying a cozy mystery called A Christmas Caper. It is part of a series, and takes place in a small theater company in a coastal town. I am working on the second manuscript now. I also blog, a lot. I blog myself, for a class that I teach, for my department at work and with a group of other writers. My blog posts are short, and are a great way for me to keep the creative juices flowing when the novel hits a wall.
On the outside I appear so normal, but on the inside I can be at the loveliest event, and I will start thinking about how to kill someone. I am currently haunted by an idea for a short story. I’ve taken up running, and I have been thinking about a murder at a triathlon. Maybe that’s why I am a back of the packer—so I can spend more time working out my plots.