Interview With Henya Drescher, Author of Psychological Thrillers
I have seen a wariness in people admitting to being fans of the thriller genre. Their obsession with the genre scares them; they wonder if there is something wrong with them. However, that is not so.
Henya Drescher, what inspired you to become a writer in the first place?
It is natural for me to write because I am an obsessive reader. I always envisioned writing a superhero-themed universe headed by a strong-willed female who must overcome many obstacles. I began writing when I was 13 and, although my career path was in the cosmetic industry, I continued to write regularly for the past four decades. Fifteen years ago, I made the decision to pursue a writing career. I enrolled at Hunter College, where I majored in English literature. Writing has done more for my life than I could have ever imagined.
I live for the story, and I live through the story. I can’t think of many jobs better than telling stories all the time. Writing also gives me an outlet for whatever life brings my way. In short, writing for me is cathartic.
But most importantly, a desire to teach people things can be a strong motivator when it comes to writing. I write books that change the way people see the world, inspire them to act, or just make them feel understood.
What is the title of your current work in progress? Can you tell us a little about it?
My WIP is titled Blind Pursuit. The story follows Homa, an ex-intelligence officer. She served in Afghanistan and returned with a severe case of PTSD. After the service, HOMA was recruited by Yaakov, an ex-Mossad officer, to work at his security company to shadow the thirteen-year-old NICHOLAS, the son of a Russian mobster dealing with drugs and human trafficking. Along with having to battle her own demons and guilt over what happened in Afghanistan, Homa’s journey takes her on a wild chase to find out who abducted Nicholas and to expose his father’s nefarious dealings.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does she do that is special?
Homa is the quiet type, mostly because she has few friends and she's out of practice. She is a listener rather than a talker. She’s dedicated to her job at Yaakov’s security company and proud of her ability to secure the well-being of her charges. She’s independent and tough and resolute and carries out her days with military precision. Homa experiences deep anguish over something she believes has done while she was deployed in Afghanistan as a military intelligence officer-- that has created a bad circumstance and caused Domingo’s injury and the death of nine soldiers. She is a person of conscience who is convinced she had done wrong, a moral response to a moral failure that arose out of a sense of guilt. She is not only genuinely sorry for what she believes she has done but also sorry in a way that will prompt her to make changes in the future. But she’s tough, and she knows how to handle herself when her back is against the wall.
What attracted you to writing suspense thrillers among other genres?
I love to read and write psychological thrillers. At its core, a psychological thriller exploits and exposes the unstable or delusional nature of its characters often told through psychologically stressed characters’ viewpoints and their distorted mental perceptions revealed. I have seen a wariness in people admitting to being fans of the thriller genre. Their obsession with the genre scares them; they wonder if there is something wrong with them. However, that is not so. Psychiatrists opine that far from being criminally inclined, rather they are generally people with a high empathetic factor.
We have a need to understand what lies behind broken minds and morally ambiguous humans who think nothing of crossing the lines we set ourselves. Thrillers engage the intellect. The liberty given to me to write mysteries or thrillers allows me to set the ground for the thrill, introduce the characters and build the story up to a crescendo. The twists and turns of the thriller keep the adrenaline flowing and activate a part of our brains that is normally not stimulated. This sets off chemicals that have us feeling euphoric, and the feeling can be very addictive.
Stolen Truth "A must-read psychological thriller for fans of Have You Seen Me? and The Girl on the Train." –BestThrillers.com Bree Michaelson wakes up one day feeling drugged and confused, to find her boyfriend, Todd Armstrong, and her infant son, Noah, missing. But why does no one believe her? Lacking witnesses to her pregnancy, a birth certificate to prove a child was born, or a marriage license to prove her invisible husband ever existed, Bree will find it impossible to get the help she so desperately needs to find her baby. Nevertheless, despite suspicious friends, family, and authorities, Bree sets out to find Todd and Noah. Only when her sister commits her to a hospital psych ward that Bree begins to doubt her own story. In the past, she suffered from a false pregnancy. Is this an imagined recurrence? She must fight to find the truth of what has happened to her-or admit that is all in her own mind. Find Stolen Truth on Amazon
What’s the most interesting book you’ve ever read?
It is rare for me to remember books I’ve read with all their details, and that is why I find Franz Kafka’s The Trial so unique and memorable. I remember it clearly because it’s a pure psychological thriller. The Trial offers a dark glimpse of life as unexpected events. The author takes us into the dark abyss of the human mind with all its twists and turns and the creativity of his writing. The story revolves around Joseph K after he wakes up one morning and finds that he is accused of a crime he did not commit. I remember the frustration I felt along with K when he can’t seem to find out what he was accused of. I remember lamenting over the alienation and a mysterious bureaucracy K had to deal with.
What role does research play in your writing? Do you have any resources you would recommend?
I generally go to the sources that would give me the best information. For Blind Pursuit, I interviewed a few ex-intelligence officers and those who served in Afghanistan. I read books about the subject. Or I Google.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I am a workout buff. I like to lift weights and power lift. I believe that a sound and strong body allows for a sound strong mind. In the summer I tend to my large garden. This activity soothes my soul and clears my mind. I like to be surrounded by nature and the beauty it has to offer.
What books have influenced you and your writing the most? Who do you consider to be a role model or mentor to you?
Books by Amos Oz, Orhan Pamuk, and J.M. Coetzee, books that teach us to pick ourselves up again when we fall. Books that teach us when we are fearful, we must first learn to master our own fear. We also understand that it’s not who you are underneath, it’s what you do that defines you, and that transformation can become part of a more significant cause.
What does your writing process look like? Do you outline and plan your story or do you just sit down and write? What comes first, plot or characters? Why?
I always begin by outlining my story, but eventually, I discard this process. I find that it hinders me. I create events while writing. Characters come first. I begin with building a world around strong women doing what we don’t dare to. Even murderous revenge on a cheating husband; wild sex with a handsome stranger on the heath – these women act on the fantasies we may have but know are too dangerous or shameful (or plain illegal) to act on in real life.
What is your most interesting writing quirk?
Listening to loud music as I write. I use my earbuds for optimum sound.
What is one of the things you are most thankful for as a writer?
I have to thank my husband for his support mentally and financially so that I don’t have to deal with going to work and writing at the same time.
Now I really feel like reading your stories! Where should I start?
You can find my novel Stolen Truth on Amazon.
You can read my articles on Medium.
Also, visit my website.
HENYA DRESCHER comes from a rich cultural background. She was born in France to Polish parents, raised in Israel, and came to America with her family when she was 17. Publishing credentials include short stories in The Olivetree Review, The Berkshire Review, The Greenwich Village Literary Review, Ezra Magazine, and Arc 25. She holds a BA in English Literature from Hunter College. Aside from writing, her passions include lifting weights, spinning, cultivating her large garden, driving long distances, and finishing her fourth novel. She and her husband reside in New York City. Find her novel Stolen Truth on Amazon Read her articles on Medium Visit her website