Friday, November 22, 2013

Interview and Review-Racing Savannah

In 2011 I read a debut novel and I just loved it.  Every few months since December that author, Miranda Kenneally, has released a new book in the series.  They're not sequels but companion novels, and they're so much fun I'm thrilled to say that I have Miranda here on the blog today!  Below is my review of her NEWEST novel, Racing Savannah, the fourth book in the Hundred Oaks series.  Please help me welcome Miranda to the blog, and I might even do a giveaway, so make sure to leave her lots of comments!  Miranda's answers are bold and my responses to said answers are italicized.


1.  You write contemporary companion novels, do you ever get the urge to write a sequel?

Honestly, not really. I like Happily Ever Afters or "HEAs," and the last thing I want to do after giving my characters happiness at the end of the book is to take it away from them in a sequel. Book plots require drama and I only want to put my characters through so much. 

Excellent point.  I don't want them to go through any more drama!

2.       This is the first book that you’ve written that doesn’t have some kind of time label to go with the chapters.  Why is that?

When I was first drafting the book, I did have a time label - I wanted to show Savannah working up to a big race. But then I realized that she wasn't even a jockey at the beginning of the book - it was something she would work up to. In that regard, I knew it wouldn't make sense to include a time stamp if she didn't even start training for a race until the middle of the book.

Makes sense to me!

3.       Which of your characters is your favorite to write?

That is a tough question! No one has ever asked me this before. I'd say it's a tie between Sam Henry and Will Whitfield. Both of those ridiculous boys have so much to say.

4.       Have you ever thought about writing a short story/scene from one of the boy’s POV?

I have! I've written from the perspective of two of my book boys while trying to figure out their motivations. I wrote from Matt's POV in Things I Can't Forget. It took a while to get to know him, and it wasn't until I put him in a "fake past" scene in which he attended high school with Kate that I discovered they knew each other at camp when they were kids. I've found that if you can't figure out a plot, take your characters and put them in a new situation to discover new details. And I wrote several chapters from Jack's perspective when writing Racing Savannah. I discovered a lot about what I DID NOT want Jack to be. When I first started writing from his POV, he was very snobby and lazy. I knew I had to change that asap.

Now the question is can we ever SEE those scenes. ;)

5.       Each of your books has a…I don’t want to call it a theme, because that’s not it (although I do feel that they all have themes), there’s an activity that runs throughout them all, a sport (or in the case of Things I Can’t Forget it’s summer camp), why did you choose to do that and what can we expect for book five?

I love sports and I love strong girl characters who are working towards "something." For book 5, which is called BREATHE, ANNIE, BREATHE and comes out in July 2014, the main character is training to run a marathon on behalf of her boyfriend who died before he could run the race.

Wow, that sounds really awesome.  And don't we all love a strong girl character? 

6.       After the Hundred Oaks series is over what can we expect to see from you?

No idea! I haven't even figured out what Hundred Oaks 6 is about. I am thinking Hot Lifeguards, but I don't know. I would like to write adult contemporary romance, but I'm not sure I have the right voice for it. 

What do you guys think I should write?

Well I think that Hot Lifeguards would make an AWESOME book.  So...that.  Or at least something with a hot boy in it!  Ohh, maybe even a book told from a boy's POV!

7.       What book/series do you wish you wrote?

GRACELING, FIRE and BITTERBLUE by Kristin Cashore. 

I've only read the first one, but I did enjoy GRACELING very much.  

8.       If you could have dinner (or lunch or breakfast or tea) with any three authors throughout all of history which three would you pick?

Lisa Kleypas, JK Rowling, and Melina Marchetta. A girl-power lunch over Mexican food!

Is there really anyone who WOULDN'T like to meet JK Rowling?  

9.       And last but not least what are some books you would recommend (they can come out any time, future or past)?

2013 books I've enjoyed include STIR ME UP by Sabrina Elkins, A LITTLE TOO FAR by Lisa Desrochers, SEX AND VIOLENCE by Carrie Mesrobian, JUST ONE YEAR by Gayle Forman, and a 2014 book I blurbed and loved is BOYS LIKE YOU by Juliana Stone. 

I've read STIR ME UP and A LITTLE TOO FAR.  I have to check out SEX AND VIOLENCE and JUST ONE YEAR.  And I have to look up BOYS LIKE YOU!  Thanks so much for answering all of my questions Miranda!

Thanks so much for having me!


Most of the time sequels to contemporary books don't work all that well, because then the author has to put the character(s) through more hell so that there's still a plot, but when the novel has a companion (or two or five) I'm almost always down.  Very few people write amazing companion novels, and aside from Stephanie Perkins and Katie McGarry no one does it better than Miranda Kenneally.  Each of her books is a completely independent novel but the characters from her previous ones that pop up always add that much more to the book and I just love it.  Each of her book also has a sort of...central activity, which I enjoy reading about.  This one is, obviously, horse racing.  In 3 out of 4 of her novels she's written about something pretty foreign to me, and after I finish reading one I feel like I could go talk to someone who knows what they're talking about and actually hold mine own (although in reality that probably wouldn't end well).  And each of her novels also have a...I guess you could call it a theme or an underlying message.  They all center around the main female character and they're important messages that people need to learn or be reminded of.  Sure, the novels are relatively light and fluffy, but there's depth to them in a way that not all light books have to them, which is important.  There's also the fact that Miranda writes some pretty damn swoon-worthy boys and some pretty kick-ass/take no crap girls.  Basically I love her books, and since they're not actually sequels you can read them in any order.  That and they come out in paperback first thing so they're more affordable!!!  If you've never given Miranda's books a chance I recommend you go out and find one, or buy this one when it comes out (Miranda is also pretty cool too).  The story and characters are great and the little cameos are THE BEST.  I can't wait to see what happens in the next book and I hope to see some of my favorite characters for a page or two along with the new characters I'm sure I'll love.

Out December 3, 2013

4.5/5 dust spirits

*Thanks to Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with an eARC of this book in return for an honest review.

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