5 Questions With: Katrina Leno, Author of ‘You Must Not Miss’


[Note From Frolic: Our resident YA expert Aurora Dominguez got the opportunity to interview author Katrina Leno and ask her five(ish) questions. Katrina’s novel You Must Not Miss is out April 23rd!]

Aurora: What was your inspiration behind your most recent novel?

Katrina: I had just published a few books that were very happy, heavy on the morals, all with neat endings and characters who tried to be good and mostly succeeded. I remember I went to Palm Springs for a friend’s birthday and I was lying on a pizza pool float ignoring the party when I had this flash of a character who was basically the opposite of any character I’d tried to write thus far. Don’t get me wrong—I’m proud of the books I’ve written and I think I needed to write them all, but I was also itching for something different. The plot of the book that I dreamed up on that pool float changed a lot over the course of actually writing it, but the character of Magpie ended up pretty close to how I originally imagined her.

What character do you most relate to and why?

In my book I do relate a lot to Magpie, even though she does a lot of things I would never do. But I relate to the emotions she experiences, and the sense of hopelessness that consumes her. When I was her age, I often felt that same hopelessness. I had a strong support system around me and Magpie unfortunately doesn’t. If she did, maybe things would have turned out differently for her, just like they probably would have turned out differently for me if I wasn’t so supported.

Why do you feel young adult books are so popular and have such a voice right now? Who’s your favorite young adult author?

Oh wow, there are so many amazing young adult authors, I’m not sure I can pick just one! I love that young adult books are so popular right now; I hope this trend never ebbs. I wish I had such a huge selection of books to choose from when I was a teenager myself. The choices were much fewer back then. I think young adult books are so popular right now because the industry finally figured out that teens have such strong voices and opinions and agency in their own lives, and it would be silly not to cater to them and their preferences. They really stepped forward and demanded better content, and it’s amazing that they actually got it! 

Please describe the content of your latest book and what can readers expect from the read.

YOU MUST NOT MISS follows a teenage girl Magpie as she navigates the aftermath of the worst day of her life. That day is six months behind her now, and her life has fallen into a state of profound disrepair. She doesn’t really have any parental figures, any friends, anyone in her life that’s looking out for her. She feels that the world has wronged her in some way, and she’s consumed by the idea that she should have revenge for what happened. Readers can expect a girl who does some pretty bad things because she is given the tools to do so.

What’s next for you in the book world?

I’m working on my next book! I had so much fun writing the darker world of YOU MUST NOT MISS that I think my follow-up to that will be just as dark and moody. It’s fun throwing morals out the window to just write an entertaining read! 

What’s your favorite writing method that you follow for inspiration?

Routine! It sounds boring, but I’ve learned that I really do need a good routine throughout the week if I’m going to get any work done. I wake up at 6:15, make coffee, and immediately sit down and start working. I work until 8 or so and then get ready to do to my full time job. I leave little room for compromise there; I don’t miss days, I don’t sleep in. I try and write 1,000 words a morning. Sometimes I don’t make that goal, but at least I try! 

You Must Not Miss is out April 23rd! Preorder here.

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