Book Nerd Interview
Growing up in Tennessee, Miranda Kenneally dreamed of becoming an Atlanta Brave, a country singer (cliché!), or a UN interpreter. Instead she writes, and works for the State Department in Washington, D.C., where George W. Bush once used her shoulder as an armrest. Miranda loves Twitter, Star Trek and her husband.
Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?
I think it was when I was about 11 years old, and I spent nearly every recess writing stories instead of playing with others.
Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
It’s a way for us all to relate and not feel alone.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
Becca Fitzpatrick told me once, “If you don’t agree with a suggested change to your story, don’t implement it, because chances are it won’t work and no one will like the end result. You have to feel what you are writing.”
In your newest book; Stealing Parker, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it and why they should read your novel?
After Parker Shelton’s mom comes out and moves in with her girlfriend, kids at school begin teasing her and questioning her sexuality. Parker’s best friends and the people at church in her small, conservative town turn on her. Thus Parker begins changing her lifestyle to make people think she’s not like her mom. She quits the softball team, loses lots of weight, and starts kissing many guys, to seem as feminine as possible.
When the hot new 23-year-old coach of the school baseball team is nice to Parker, she feels like she’s found a friend, someone who won’t think poorly of her for what her mom did. Their friendship becomes a physical relationship, but it’s not the real relationship she wants and needs. People question Parker’s behavior, believing she’s the kind of girl who gets around with every guy she sees.
This isn’t what Parker wanted people to think at all, and she realizes that even if you want people to think a certain way about you, it doesn’t mean they necessarily will. The overall theme of the story is that teenagers should be who they want to be, regardless of who makes fun of them or questions their lifestyle. The only way for people to truly understand who you are is to be yourself.
What part of Parker did you enjoy writing the most?
Her evolving relationship with a long-time acquaintance. You’ll have to read the book to find out which character this is! Also, I enjoyed the scene where she makes the baseball coach play MASH with her on the bus.
Why do you feel you had to tell this story?
To show teens that the best solution to any problem is to stay true to yourself and your beliefs.
If you could introduce Parker to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Taylor from Jellicoe Road. I think they would get along well and help each other heal from the pain of missing a parent.
What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
My third book comes out in spring of 2013. It is a companion to CATCHING JORDAN and STEALING PARKER, and it involves the main character falling in love at a summer camp.
When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
Aren’t you tired?
What’s the best advice you can give writers to help them develop their own unique voice and style?
Don’t try to emulate other writers. Just sit down and write in your own voice. Chances are, if you like what you’re writing, someone else will too. You just have to stay true to you.
Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?
My husband. Or Trish Doller, another amazing contemporary author!
What is the one, single food that you would never give up?
Where can readers stalk you?
Red-hot author Miranda Kenneally hits one out of the park in this return to Catching Jordan's Hundred Oaks High.
After her family's scandal rocks their conservative small town, 17-year-old Parker Shelton goes overboard trying to prove that she won't turn out like her mother: a lesbian. The all-star third-baseman quits the softball team, drops 20 pounds and starts making out with guys--a lot. But hitting on the hot new assistant baseball coach might be taking it a step too far...especially when he starts flirting back.
This was a fast-paced book but Miranda writes in a way that readers will get a full dosage of her remarkable story. Nothing is rushed as the writing is very descriptive. The interactions between characters are absolutely amazing. They do not seem fabricated at all and it is one attribute of this book that I love. Between the family, relationship and church drama, there are plenty of events that push the plot along. Just like Miranda’s Catching Jordan, Stealing Parker is originally fresh, funny, daring, and touching with totally unforgettable characters.