Interview with Miranda Kenneally (CATCHING JORDAN)

  So...I know Just Contemporary actually ended on Wednesday, but I wasn't able to get these posts scheduled before work, and by the time I got home, I decided it was too late to post stuff.  So today is Sporty Friday with two awesome sporty posts from two fabulous authors!

Buuuuuuuuuuuuut these were meant to be part of the Just Contemporary event hosted by Ashley from Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing and Shanyn from Chicks Love Lit.

Also check out my review of Miranda Kenneally's debut novel CATCHING JORDAN today on A Backwards Story!

Miranda Kenneally is the author of CATCHING JORDAN, a contemporary YA novel about football and femininity, coming in December 2011. Other books include THE GIRL I USED TO BE (fall 2012) and BAD, BAD THING (spring 2013). Miranda is the co-creator of Dear Teen Me. The Dear Teen Me Anthology will be published by Zest Books (distributed by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) in late 2012. She enjoys reading and writing young adult literature, and loves Star Trek, music, sports, Mexican food, Twitter, coffee, and her husband. Follow her on Twitter or Facebook. Miranda is represented by Sara Megibow at Nelson Literary Agency.

An interview with Miranda Kenneally

At first, I thought it was a stretch that nobody on the team cared that their captain was a girl, but I liked that you included backlash at this when looking at prospective colleges in the novel. It's hard to be female in the world of football. CATCHING JORDAN is such a refreshing change of pace. It's fun to look at a girl who is the star quarterback and captain of the football team instead of a guy for once. What inspired you to write a book from this perspective?

When I was in high school, I managed the boys’ soccer team. It was a different world, hearing the stuff guys talk about on the bus and before games. I learned so much about guys and life and love from that experience, and I wanted to show girls what it’s like on the other side. Regarding your comment that it could be seen as a stretch for a girl to be captain of a football team, I completely agree. I tried to show how she got into that position, and going further – I wanted readers to understand that if you get comfortable in the way you think and act, it’s hard to believe other points of view. You learn a lot when you step back and see that everyone thinks in different ways.

Can you tell us a little more about your upcoming novels THE GIRL I USED TO BE and BAD, BAD THING? What else are you working on?

THE GIRL I USED TO BE is about a 17-year-old girl (Parker) who falls for the new coach of the school baseball team. Brian’s 23, and he seems to understand Parker in a way no one else does. Parker is struggling with her parents’ recent divorce and losing her best friend, so having Brian around is something she desperately wants, even though she knows it’s wrong. BAD, BAD THING is about an 18-year-old girl named Kate who goes to work at a summer camp, where she starts falling in love for the first time. Kate is a devout Christian and she’s struggling with how she helped her best friend to get an abortion. Can she get over the guilt? And can she put aside her strict upbringing to open up to a guy who just might be the one?

I've been wanting to read CATCHING JORDAN ever since stumbling across your fabulous query letter when WRITER'S DIGEST Magazine listed it as a good example. What advice would you give to prospective writers on crafting an eye-catching query letter?

I did the unspeakable and wrote my query in first person, which is generally a ginormous no-no, but I liked it so I went with it. My advice is to explain briefly who the main character is, and then show what the main character is up against (what are the stakes?) and then tell what choices the main character has. You shouldn’t tell the entire story in the query – just a bit to pique an agent’s interest. If you have problems writing your query – sometimes I think it helps to free-write the query in first person and then switch it to third. Don’t spend too much time on your query - follow your gut, and work on writing the best story you can.

Are you an athlete yourself? If so, what sports do you play? What are your favorite sports?

In high school, I played soccer. I played softball and volleyball when I was growing up. I played some intramural soccer in college and then I really got into running and did a few races - marathons and half marathons. My favorite sport by far is baseball. Although I like the uniforms in football much more! 

CATCHING JORDAN and THE GIRL I USED TO BE both went by other titles, SCORE and PLAYING PARKER, before being changed. What thought process went into these changes?

SCORE was thought to be a bit risqué (I agree), so the team at Sourcebooks Fire came up with the name CATCHING JORDAN and I love it so much. It really is the perfect title. Of course, we had to go through hundreds of suggestions to find it. (The most hilarious suggestion was TY ME A RIVER. Or maybe THIS GRIDIRON AINT IN THE KITCHEN.) I knew early on that PLAYING PARKER wouldn’t be the name of book 2, and I was fine with that because I didn’t like the title very much (and yes, I came up with PLAYING PARKER, so who am I to talk?) My editor asked me to send her suggestions, so I sent her a ton and she liked one of the titles I came up with – THE GIRL I USED TO BE. It is perfect and I love it.

Thank you for having me!

Miranda, thank you so much for stopping by!  I loved reading your answers!  I really enjoyed CATCHING JORDAN and can't wait to read other books by you!


  1. Fun interview! I really need to read this book soon! :) Thanks for posting today, even if it's no longer November! :)


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