Thursday, December 1, 2011

APOCALYPSE NOW: An Interview with Miranda Kenneally, Author of CATCHING JORDAN

Happy book release day to Miranda Kenneally, author of CATCHING JORDAN, available now!

From GoodReads: "What girl doesn’t want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn’t just surrounded by hot guys, though—she leads them as the captain and quarterback on her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys, and that’s just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university. But now there’s a new guy in town who threatens her starring position on the team…and has her suddenly wishing to be seen as more than just a teammate."

Bestselling author Simone Elkeles (PERFECT CHEMISTRY series) had this to say about the book: "I fell in love with the hero on page 1, and CATCHING JORDAN just gets better from there. This feel-good romantic comedy about high school football is the novel I’ve been waiting for. I loved it!”

Without further ado, here's our interview with Miranda on her fun and exciting debut!

What made you decide to set the story in the world of high school football? Were you a huge football fan already, or did you need to do research, watch a lot of games, and learn the terminology over a period of time?

Honestly, I was bored in jury duty one day and I had been trying to come up with an awesome hook for a book. It just popped into my mind. I wasn’t a terribly big football fan, but I am a fan of guy athletes and I’ve hung out with them a lot in my life (mostly soccer, baseball and basketball players). In terms of researching football, I went to three college games and one NFL game (Titans-Steelers) and took notes. I also watched a ton of it on TV. It also helps that I have a husband, a dad and a brother who are all obsessed with football. If I ever had a question, I asked one of them. 

The characters and their relationships with one another are very realistic and distinct. I particularly enjoyed Jordan's camaraderie with her teammates, and of course the love triangle. How did you go about coming up with everyone's characters traits and how they would relate to one another? Did you make a character chart, or just start writing and see how they evolved and interacted as you went along?

Mostly I just did some free-writing, but one thing I specifically set out to do was create three secondary guy characters to be Jordan’s best friends. While I wanted them all to be distinct, I wanted them to showcase facets of Jordan’s personality. Sam Henry is the side of Jordan that’s sweet and passionate and funny. JJ is the visceral part of Jordan, the part that likes eating at all-you-can-eat buffets and having sex and mouthing off and doing whatever he wants to do. Carter is the part of Jordan that’s scared to step outside the box.

You've occasionally described your book as "football and feminism." How aware were you of the YA audience when you wrote the book? There's nothing heavy-handed about the feminism, but at the same time it's a nicely empowering story for girls. Was that something that happened naturally based on the main character and the setting, or something you set out to do from the beginning?

I read a lot of YA before I started writing CATCHING JORDAN, especially Sarah Dessen, Jennifer Echols, and Susane Colasanti, and I knew I wanted to write books with similar plot structures to theirs. I planned to write a novel with a substantial character development arc. I knew what a YA book should look and sound like, and since I’ve never really grown up personally, it was easy to channel my inner teenage wants and needs. Regarding the feminism, it’s something I care deeply about, so it came out naturally as I was writing. I think all human beings should do whatever they dream about doing.

What was your favorite part about writing CATCHING JORDAN?

Writing this book was completely no-holds-barred. Jordan and her friends did what they wanted to do, and I didn’t stop them. I can’t say that will be the same in my other books!

How do you plan to celebrate the release today?

Big dinner at my favorite Mexican place, Guapo’s, including margartias and endless chips and queso.

Thanks for stopping by, Miranda, and happy celebrating!


Miranda Kenneally is the author of CATCHING JORDAN, a contemporary YA novel about football and femininity, coming in December 2011. Other books include PLAYING PARKER (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.

You can buy CATCHING JORDAN (and we recommend you do!) here:


  1. I LOVE this book and I LOVE this interview. I wish I had thought to be as productive with my time in jury duty (instead of just highly irritated).

  2. Great interview, Sarah! I'm a huge fan of FNL, which makes this an automatic read :) Mmm, chips and queso...

  3. Thanks, Elsei! You're in for a treat with this book, as Sarv and I can attest. Enjoy!

  4. (As you can see, I was so excited when I typed that I misspelled your name. Sorry about that.)

  5. Great book, and what an eye-opening interview. I married a Steelers fan and became a fan myself, so hopefully I won't need help understanding the lingo. Can't wait to read this!

  6. I was the QB of my high school powderpuff football team. I can't wait to grab this book.