Welcome to our weekly special feature post, Author Of The Week!!
Each week we will be interviewing a different YA author and highlighting their upcoming release!
We will also be hosting a giveaway of the book we are highlighting!!
Introducing Kristen Orlando, YABC's Author of the Week!!
Writing is one of the great loves of Kristen Orlando’s life and she has been lucky enough to make it her living, first as a television producer, then as a marketer and now as a novelist. Kristen graduated with a B.A. in English literature from Kenyon College. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with the other great love of her life, Michael. You
Don’t Know My Name is her debut novel.
Meet You Don't Know My Name!
Fighter, Faker, Student, Spy.
Seventeen-year-old Reagan Elizabeth Hillis is used to changing identities overnight, lying to every friend she’s ever had, and pushing away anyone who gets too close. Trained in mortal combat and weaponry her entire life, Reagan is expected to follow in her parents’ footsteps and join the ranks of the most powerful top-secret agency in the world, the Black Angels. Falling in love with the boy next door was never part of the plan.
Now Reagan has to decide: Will she use her incredible talents and lead the dangerous life she was born into, or throw it all away to follow her heart and embrace the normal life she's always wanted? And does she even have a choice at all?
Find out if you are ready to join the Black Angels in the captivating and emotional page-turner, You Don't Know My Name, from debut novelist Kristen Orlando!
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
I write for a living (I was a TV producer and then I worked in marketing/advertising) and while I was pursuing my passion and got to create every day, I really missed creative writing. I wanted to write a young adult novel because it’s my favorite genre, but I just didn’t have an idea in mind. It’s funny how inspiration comes to you. Sometimes it hits you in the most random moments. Mine certainly did. The idea for YOU DON’T KNOW MY NAME came to me in the shower (where all the best ideas develop, don’t you think? What is it…is the the quiet? Is the scalp massaging? Shower = magic zone) My husband and I had just watched the movie, Red,which is about retired CIA operatives hunted by assassins. After we had watched the movie, I was in the shower and thought, “What would it be like to be the daughter of one of those top secret spies? What an interesting and dangerous double life you’d have to lead!” And then I realized…oh, my gosh, that’s the book I want to write! The plot came to me so quickly. I think I even came up with the underground group’s name, The Black Angels, somewhere between shampooing and conditioning. I was so excited by the idea I ran dripping wet through my house (in a towel of course…don’t want to scare the neighbors) to bounce the plot off my husband. He loved it and encouraged me to write it. So I did.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
That’s like asking me to choose my favorite child! I have a soft spot of course for the main character, Reagan. But I have two characters I just loved writing. Harper (who is Reagan’s best friend) and Sam (Reagan’s surrogate aunt). Harper is based on one of my really good friends and she was just a blast to write. She’s effortlessly cool and quick-witted and fearless in a way that Reagan is not. But she’s got a heart of gold and is a total ride-or-die friend. And I loved writing Sam. She’s strong and fierce but funny and very loving. I wish I could write Reagan and Sam or Reagan and Harper scenes all day long.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
If you count the series title (THE BLACK ANGEL CHRONICLES), that came first. That came in the shower before I had even written an outline. But YOU DON’T KNOW MY NAME came after some chats with my editor. I think it’s the perfect title for this book because Reagan has been so many different Reagans and had so many different identities. But she’s never said her real name out loud. There’s even a line in the book where she says that the more identities and cover stories she gets, the longer the pause in remembering her real name.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
Be patient with yourself. Not everything you write is going to be perfect. Keep finessing. Keep trying. Keep learning. Keep working towards making the work and yourself better.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I am obsessed with my book cover. I know I’m biased, but I think it’s one of the most gorgeous book covers I’ve ever seen. Seriously! I love the red and black. And I love her in sunglasses. And I love that the face is mysterious and you’re not quite sure who she is or what she looks like. I also really love that any young woman can look at this cover and see themselves in it.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
Currently editing the second book in THE BLACK ANGEL CHRONICLES! Then I’ll starting writing the third book.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
I love, love, love revising! I think staring at just total white, blank pages can be a little overwhelming and intimidating. I am a word dumper. I just dump all the words out of my brain and then go back to revise. My first drafts are horrific. But it’s like sometimes, I just need to get the story out of my body. Then I make it pretty. I really enjoyed the editing process as well. I’m a super collaborative person, so I love coming up with ideas with my team.
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
Definitely the Wounded Warriors Project. The Black Angels are unsung, silent heroes. They put their lives on the line every single day. They die for their country, in the shadows and in secret. So I have always had a soft spot and love of people who are just so selfless. The world would be a very different place without all of our silent heroes.
You Don't Know My Name
By: Kristen Orlando
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Release Date: January 10th, 2017
One winner will receive a copy of You Don't Know My Name (Kristen Orlando) ~ (US Only)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*