I am a Red now. It was her first thought of the day, every day, surfacing after a few seconds of fogged, blessed ignorance and sweeping through her like a wave, breaking in her breast with a soundless roar.
Hannah Payne’s life has been devoted to church and family. But after she’s convicted of murder, she awakens in a new body to a nightmarish new life lying on a table in a bare room with cameras broadcasting her every move to millions at home for whom observing new criminals whose skin color has been genetically altered to match the class of their crime is a sinister form of entertainment. Hannah is a Red. Her crime is murder. The victim, says the state of Texas, was her unborn child, and Hannah is determined to protect the identity of the father, a public figure with whom she shared a fierce and forbidden love.
A powerful reimagining of The Scarlet Letter, When She Woke is a timely fable about a stigmatized woman struggling to navigate an America where the line between church and state has been eradicated and convicted felons are no longer imprisoned and rehabilitated, but “chromed” and released back into the population to survive as best they can. In seeking a path to safety in an alien and hostile world, Hannah unknowingly embarks on a journey of self-discovery that forces her to question the values she once held true and the righteousness of a country that politicizes faith and love.
Hillary Jordan received her BA in English and Political Science from Wellesley College and spent fifteen years working as an advertising copywriter before starting to write fiction. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University.
Her second novel, When She Woke, was long-listed for the 2013 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. It has been translated into French, Spanish and Turkish. German, Chinese and Brazilian Portuguese editions are forthcoming in 2013.
When she’s not writing, Hillary does speaking engagements at colleges, festivals and elsewhere. Hillary grew up in Dallas, Texas, Muskogee, Oklahoma. She lives in Brooklyn.