Miranda Kenneally is the author of JESSE'S GIRL, which comes out next Tuesday, July 7th. I loved JESSE'S GIRL (my review), so I'm happy to share this brief interview with you.
1. Your heroes and heroines all have varied, detailed interests. JESSE'S GIRL is set in the music industry, for instance. How much research do you do to get these aspects of your characters' lives right?
Depends on the book. For RACING SAVANNAH, which is about horse racing, I did 3 months of intensive research before I even started writing the book. I spent time in Kentucky and read a ton of books about horse racing. I hung out in barns with horses and went to races. With JESSE'S GIRL, I felt like I knew enough about music to go ahead and start writing, but as I got more into the story, I consulted with a guitar expert and a girl who has her own band (like Maya) to confirm details. For BREATHE, ANNIE, BREATHE, about a girl training to run a marathon, I didn't do any research on running because I had already run one before. Research all depends on how much I already know.
2. The Hundred Oaks books are all loosely connected, so characters tend to reappear when it is logical to do something. How far in advance do you plan out their lives? For example, Sam and Jordan appear at age 24 in JESSE'S GIRL. Did you know where they'd end up when you finished CATCHING JORDAN?
No, I haven't made any effort to plan their lives. I'm just keeping things loose and seeing who shows up and what they are up to. It's kind of fun to be in the dark. :) Teaser: I will say that I mention a character about 2 times in RACING SAVANNAH. Now I am writing a book about that random character's sister. i definitely didn't plan it. Just happened! This new book is coming out in 2016 and is loosely related to Racing Savannah.
3. With six books under your belt, you have a bit of experience. Which was the hardest novel to write?
JESSE'S GIRL! I seriously rewrote this book like 6 times. Considering I was doing the "girl meets famous guy" trope, I wanted to make sure Jesse and Maya were realistic and I had to make my story different from everything else out there. Also, writing a book where most of the action takes place on one day is super hard!
4. You've talked quite a bit on your blog about how much revision goes into your novels. Are there any bits you're particularly happy that you cut?
Yeah, actually. In the first draft of JESSE'S GIRL, I could tell Maya and Jesse had sizzling chemistry. It was hot! I actually had to tone it down so it wouldn't be too racy! Unfortunately, though, my first beta reader said, "This book will never sell because it's so cliche. Girl falls for famous boy: it's been done. So I did a draft in which Maya gets together with another dude, and she and Jesse just become best friends. It felt really forced, so I ended up going back to the version in which they are a couple.
5. If you could shadow a famous musician for a day, who would you pick?
Justin Timberlake. Because duh!