You Won’t Know I’m Gone (The Black Angel Chronicles #2)
by Kristen Orlando
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: January 16th 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Thriller, Young Adult
Reagan has to prove herself to an elite group of special agents—and avenge her mother’s death—in the second book in the Black Angel Chronicles from the author of You Don’t Know My Name.
Going rogue in an effort to rescue her kidnapped parents has cost Reagan Hillis her automatic ticket to the Training Academy. But becoming a Black Angel is the only way Reagan will be able to exact revenge on her mother’s merciless killer, Santino Torres.
When Reagan is given a chance to prove that she’s worthy of training to be a Black Angel, she also gets the first chance she’s ever had to be her true self. No aliases. No disguises.
But when her friend Luke joins her at the Black Angels training compound, Reagan finds herself once again torn between the person she was and the person she wants to be. Reagan has to prove that she’s as good as her parents trained her to be, because she’ll never find Torres without the Black Angels’ help.
1. If you were to describe your e-book/book in only one word, what would it be?
2. What would you say inspired you to write it? ?
I have always loved action movies and suspenseful books, but this idea hit me out of nowhere to be perfectly honest. In fact, I came up with the idea for YOU DON’T KNOW MY NAME in the shower of all places. My husband and I had just watched the movie, Red, which is about retired CIA operatives hunted by assassins. After we watched the movie, I 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 a book! I’d wanted to write a young adult book for a while but hadn’t come up with an idea yet and then… BAM! I think I came up with half the plot somewhere between shampooing and conditioning. I was so excited about it I literally ran down the hallway in my towel to see what my husband thought of the idea. He loved it and encouraged me to write it.
3. What was the source of inspiration for your protagonist? What about your antagonist? ?
I wanted to write a protagonist who was very strong and extremely skilled, but had some vulnerabilities as well. I didn’t want her to be a super hero. I wanted her to feel very human and relatable. That’s why I wrote her as someone who suffers from “daymares” (her form of PTSD), anxiety, and panic attacks. I thought someone who has lived through so many scary things at such a young age would have lingering issues. And, as much as she tries to fight through that or ignore her anxiety, they’re still always right there below the surface of her skin. I think that was something important for teen readers to see. I had some beta readers early on suggest I remove her anxiety and other mental health issues but I thought it was extremely important to keep that in the book. I’m glad I fought for it.
4. Have you ever been hit by the infamous “writer’s block”? What did you do to escape it? ?
It definitely happens and can be frustrating. Usually, I watch something that might spark what I need to write. Or I listen to music that I feel like the characters would be listening to in the scene I’m trying to write.
5. Your all time favorite book? ?
So many. But I think I’ve read Summer Sisters by Judy Blume probably 25 times. My copy is dog-eared and loved.
6. What made you pick that one above all others? ?
I adore Judy Blume and she’s played a huge role in my desire to become an author. I love the characters in that book and how complex they are. I love seeing them develop as people and come into their own over summers at the beach. It’s such a fantastic book.
7. What’s the longest time you’ve spent working on a project? ?
Probably one year. I think it took me about a year to write YOU DON’T KNOW MY NAME. The first draft of YOU WON’T SEE ME COMING took six months (with about two months of edits after that) I only had 3 ½ months to write the first draft of the third book! That was an adventure—especially with a new baby.
8. Would you say becoming an author has changed you? In what way? ?
It’s made me feel extremely grateful and I’ve developed a whole new appreciation of art, music, movies, and books. I actually sometimes get emotional when I listen to a beautiful piece of music or watch a great movie. All I’ve ever wanted to do is to create art that moves people in some way. So when I’m moved by something, I just get so filled with gratitude that I have the chance to do that too, I could burst.
9. What does your day-to-day life consist of? What else do you do, aside writing? ?
My life is a bit of a juggling act! I have a wonderful and sweet 10-month-old daughter. I also own my own marketing and PR agency. I’ve always had a strong entrepreneurial spirit and feel fortunate to own a business. But it’s demanding as well. So trying to balance writing with my clients and my family is a challenge, but I somehow make it work! Probably because I have an extremely supportive spouse and family nearby always ready to jump in and help. So a typical day is usually play with the baby in the morning, work on client work when she goes down for her morning nap and then more client work throughout the morning once my nanny comes at 11 (grateful for child care help), write all afternoon, family time (play with baby, baths, dinner, story time, etc.), and then edit what I wrote that day in the evenings once the baby goes to bed.
10. How do you deal with bad reviews or acid criticism? What would you advise other authors to that effect? ?
I try really hard not to read Goodreads, but sometimes I cannot help myself. Writing is so subjective. One person can think your words are brilliant and your story is amazing and then the next person can think you are utter crap. So I try not to read the bad stuff and if I do, I try really hard to let it roll off my back and realize I’m so lucky to get to write at all. I actually have a pretty thick skin after working in TV news where you get cussed out and yelled at during the heat of a live broadcast on a semi-regular basis!
11. Is this title part of a series? Without giving us spoilers, of course, what can we expect from the next e-books/books in the series? ?
You Won’t Know I’m Gone is the second book in my trilogy. I just finished writing the third book and I had the best time writing it! The next book is very fast paced and action-packed. The second book has its own feel. It’s much darker and more emotional than the first or third. It actually was extremely emotionally draining to write. But it was a very necessary part of Reagan Hillis’ story.
12. What do you have stored for us in the future? What are you working on/planning on next, aside this title/series? ?
I have several books in my head that I cannot wait to write! All are thrillers or contemporary novels. Can’t wait to pick one and write a new book with brand new characters!
Fun facts: :
1. If you could wish for any one thing, and it would immediately come true, what would you wish for? ?
To keep my family and friends safe and healthy!
2. If you were stranded on an isolated island, what’s the one book you’d absolutely wish to have with you? ?
Summer Sisters by Judy Blume. I never get sick of that book!
3. Name your favorite fruit. ?
Watermelon! When it’s the perfect ripeness and fresh, there’s nothing better!
4. Coffee or tea? ?
5. Favorite season? ?
6. How about fav time of 24 hours? ?
I love late evenings when the baby is asleep and I’m curled up under a blanket with my husband.
7. Were you a boyscout/girlscout? ?
8. Favorite food for breakfast? ?
I love a big breakfast of eggs, bacon and hash browns! But honestly…I find myself eating crap and sugar for breakfast a lot. I ate Christmas cookies this morning because I’m an adult and I can do what I want!
9. Latest book you’ve bought and read? ?
Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler
10. Favorite color, you know you want to tell us! ?
11. Drama or comedy? ?
I’m a sucker for a good drama.
12. Have a fav quote or personal motto? ?
Never fear failure. That’s something my dad said to me once and it’s those three words that pushed me to try to write a novel. If you fear failure, you never know what you can accomplish.
13. Cats or dogs? ?
I had a cat growing up so I have to go with a cute kitty!
14. Dinner by candlelight or a night out clubbing? ?
Oh, definitely candlelight dinner. I’m a total homebody.
15. What song have you listened to most recently? ?
Lots of Tom Petty. Probably American Girl.
16. What first came to mind after reading question no. 1 of the Fun Facts section? I mean that thing that you reconsidered after giving it more thought 😛 ?
Haha! Honestly…endless money. I mean how fun would that be to fly on a private jet to London just because you feel like it! But the more important answer was keeping the people I love safe and healthy. You really cannot put a price on that.
1. Your top secret, uber guilty pleasure is… ?
I’m a total sucker for any show on Bravo.
2. Your oldest memory is… ?
Coming to the hospital to meet my baby sister when I was two and a half.
3. Your favorite part of a date is… ?
In college, my favorite thing was to come home, put on sweats and then talk about the guy with my friends!
4. You were/are a hardcore fan of… ?
Food. It occupies my mind most of the day.
5. You’d immediately fall for someone who… ?
Is kind and funny.
6. If you could have any one superpower, it would be… ?
Eating anything I want and never gaining weight or getting clogged arteries.
7. The one thing that always brightens your day is… ?
My husband and daughter.
8. The most awkward moment in your life happened when… ?
I was an intern at a TV station in Columbus for two summers and thought I was pretty friendly with one of the morning anchors. When I saw him years later at the TV News Emmy’s, I very enthusiastically said, “Hiiiiiiiii!!” when I got into the elevator, stupidly expecting him to remember who I was. He didn’t. He gave me a very quick “Hello” before turning his head, probably thinking I was just a fan or something. I rode up the elevator with him and his wife in the most awkward silence, then proceeded to have to walk toward the check-in with him, stand behind him in line and then SIT AT HIS TABLE FOR THE AWARD’S CEREMONY. Finally, he turned to me during dinner and said, “I’m so sorry I didn’t recognize you earlier. It’s Kaitlyn, right?” I wanted to die of embarrassment many, many times that evening.
9. The awesomest thing in your life is… ?
Being an author is up there! It’s one of my biggest dreams come true. But I do absolutely love being a mom. So I guess I’ll have to say my daughter Samantha. Watching her grow and learn (right now she’s mastered clapping, waving and saying Hi and Mama) is pretty much the coolest thing in the world.
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.