What was the craziest thing you researched?
I did some extensive research for this book because I wanted it to feel as real as possible. I wanted the reader to walk away thinking, “Hmmm maybe there really is a top secret group like the Black Angels within our government”. So I did a ton of research on the CIA, even interviewed government officials about how the CIA works and how an underground group like this would get federal funding, how it’d be run, how it’d stay hidden, who in the government would know about it, the list goes on. I did a lot of research on martial arts (I’ve watched dozens and dozens of Krav Maga videos on YouTube) and weaponry as well.
I guess the craziest thing I did was go to a shooting range and learn how to shoot a gun. I am scared of guns, but I really wanted to know what it felt like to hold a gun, what it felt like to pull the trigger, and what it actually does to your body when you fire a bullet (it really does knock you back). I wanted to be able to describe all of those feelings accurately in the novel. So even though I don’t like guns, I’m very glad I learned. I think it makes those passages in the book feel more authentic.
I know that there is a book trailer being made! Can you give us any behind the scenes details? Do you know when it will be released?
Yes, there is! We shot the entire book trailer in New Albany, Ohio, the real town where YOU DON’T KNOW MY NAME takes place. It’s a lovely suburb of Columbus that’s very idealistic. Brick Georgian style houses, white picket fences, beautifully manicured lawns. It’s a gorgeous spot to live and some place you’d never think a spy would be hiding out. So it was fun to use some of the real spots and even real streets I describe in the book for the trailer.
I have to ask- will there be a cliffhanger?
Maybe 😉 There will definitely be a second book, which I’m writing right now. I love these characters and this world and I’m happy to continue their stories.
What’s your favorite food?
There really are just too many favorites to name. I love all kinds of pizza, although my favorite may be Lou Malnati’s from Chicago (which we get sent on dry ice to the house…it really is that good!). I love Chinese food. Give me a greasy, spicy, Chinese noodle dish and I’m in heaven. I live for a Krispy Kreme glazed donut hot out of the oven (when I see that Hot & Fresh sign on, I will risk life and limb to get there before the sign goes off). I love pasta of all kinds. Cheese and crackers may be my favorite snack. I love the steaks my husband makes. He also makes the best spicy pork enchiladas in the world. So if I had to pick my last meal on earth, his enchiladas might be it.
Are there any books by your fellow Swanky 17ers that you’d highly recommend?
There are so many awesome books coming out next year it’s overwhelming. I’m going to go broke with all these great books! Some of my favorites though include THE SANDCASTLE EMPIRE by Kayla Olson, THE HUNDRED LIES OF LIZZIE LOVETT by Chelsea Sedoti, KAT AND MEG CONQUER THE WORLD by Anna Primeza, and DARE MIGHTY THINGS by Heather Kaczynksi. Super pumped for THE CONTINENT by Keira Drake, CARAVAL by Stephanie Garber, WING JONES by Katherine Webber, THE HATE U GIVE by A.C. Thomas, SAD PERFECT by Stephanie Elliot, and KISSING MAX HOLDEN by Katie Upperman. There are seriously so many I’m leaving out but all of the Swanky 17ers are so talented and so awesome. I feel lucky to know them and be debut brothers and sisters together. It really is like an awesome little club and I’m honored to go through this journey with all of them!
*~~About the Author~~*