Series: Hundred Oaks #4
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire on December 3, 2013
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They’re from two different worlds.
He lives in the estate house, and she spends most of her time in the stables helping her father train horses. In fact, Savannah has always been much more comfortable around horses than boys. Especially boys like Jack Goodwin—cocky, popular and completely out of her league. She knows the rules: no mixing between the staff and the Goodwin family. But Jack has no such boundaries.
With her dream of becoming a horse jockey, Savannah isn’t exactly one to follow the rules either. She’s not going to let someone tell her a girl isn’t tough enough to race. Sure, it’s dangerous. Then again, so is dating Jack…
How do you individualize your characters (such as the heroines of your books like Jordan and Parker, etc, and the leading males such as Sam, Matt, etc)?
This is a great question – nobody has ever asked me this before. When I first started writing, I learned two crucial things:
1) Nobody wants to read about a perfect character (boring!);
2) The easiest way to figure out who a character is to free-write in their voice and find out what they want more than anything and what scares them most.
When I start writing a book – the first thing I have to know is what my characters want and what stands in their way. Your characters’ personalities must also complement your plot.
For instance, with Jordan, I knew she wanted to play football more than anything and worried that if guys on the team thought of her as a girl, they wouldn’t take her seriously. This is why Jordan curses a lot, doesn’t pay attention to her appearance, and generally acts like one of the guys. She’s also super competitive – that’s why you see her playing games all the time.
When Parker’s mom came out as a lesbian, Parker felt she had to prove to the mean kids at school that she was straight. Parker paints her nails and spends a lot of time on her appearance. Parker also reads romance novels because she wants to fall in love with the right guy.
In addition to ensuring personality traits match the plot, I also try to give my characters quirks and expressions that go with their personalities. For instance, Sam Henry has that curly blond hair that won’t stay out of his face – it’s kind of goofy like he is. He constantly has to drag a hand through his hair.
Ty Green lost his father in a car accident, and that made him guarded. He crosses his arms a lot and is way overprotective.
Matt Brown was bullied as a kid, but as he’s grown older, he feels more carefree – therefore he doesn’t wear shoes very often. (Which, yeah, is kind of gross)
My new character Jack Goodwin cares a lot about family and legacy. He works hard and always presents a polished face to the world. Therefore, I made sure he’s always dressed in nice button-down shirts, jeans, and nice boots, and sometimes he wears suits.
Savannah, the heroine from Racing Savannah, grew up having virtually nothing. She appreciates the little things in life – like eating lollipops. In the book, she’s constantly eating candy.View Spoiler »Spoiler: The guy character in my 2014 book, BREATHE, ANNIE, BREATHE is an adrenaline junkie. He has tattoos, crazy hair, and doesn’t care about his wardrobe at all. I feel that goes well with his personality. « Hide Spoiler
How do you guys make your characters feel “real”?
“We don’t know what other people are thinking. We never will unless we ask.”
“I want someone I can laugh, cuddle, and talk with anytime I want, someone who truly wants me. Loves me.”
Favorite Character: Savannah.
“Welcome to Ceder Hill Farms of Franklin, Tennessee. Est. 1854. John C. Goodwin III, Owner.”
My Musings: Miranda Kenneally is truly a phenomenal author. She has written a plethora of fantastic novel and this is just another one to her great repertoire of novels.
Racing Savannah, like all of Kenneally’s other novels, takes place in Hundred Oaks. However, this one takes place a few years after the other ones, even though we still see some other characters. Savannah and her father just moved to the Goodwin’s horse ranch, where her father got a job as a groomer. But Savannah wants more in life than living in housing and being poor for the rest of her life. So she asks for a job at the ranch, but the son’s owner, Jack Goodwin, has to approve. Jack and Savannah grow closer, but their feelings are practically forbidden because the owner can’t go out with the help: It looks bad. But as feelings continue to grow, are they willing to risk it all for what they could become?
“It’s like, whenever we’re not at Cedar Hill, we’re normal. Normal people, normal friends, flirting like crazy. Playing waitress at his dinner party the other night seems like a million miles away. He’s not my boss out here under the stars.”
I really enjoyed this novel! Just like I have enjoyed every other one of Miranda’s. However, something about this novel stood out to me more than the others, and I think it may be because of the forbidden romance factor. I love reading novels where two people must beat all odds to be together. But anyways, this novel was your basic contemporary plot, but with a few twists like horse jockeying and such. It was really cool to read a book about horses, and you could tell that Kenneally did thorough research before writing this novel.
“He thrusts a hand out, grinning. ‘I know. I’d have remembered you. I’m Jack Goodwin.’ I shake his hand quickly. ‘Savannah.’ What a player. ‘I gotta get up to the house.’ I stalk off and Jack hustles after me. ‘Wait! I’ll escort you.’ He’ll escort me? How primitive.”
The characters were amazingly written and fantastically real. Savannah was an independent leading lady, who wouldn’t take crap from anyone and who was determined to make more of herself. She was also a very selfless character, who put anyone and everyone first. She was very admirable in those qualities. She was hardworking and strong, and funny at times. She was the type of character that I would love to have as a friend. She was a very snarky narrator, and that always kept me engaged with the novel and the plot.
“Regardless of what anybody says, I’d give him another chance if he wants to try to make us work. But still, which Jack is the real Jack? The farm owner at home or the sweet goofball who emerges when we’re alone?”
Jack, on the other hand, had a ego on him. However, it eventually began to grow on me. But on the flip side, he did have some genuineness that came out when he was around Savannah. But I have to say that I couldn’t stand his character for a majority of the novel. In contrast to Savannah’s strong, take-no-crap attitude, Jack was kind of a push-over, especially when it came to his family. That’s admirable, yes, the love he had for honor and family, but at times it just weakened his character in my eyes. I was ecstatic when he finally stood up for himself.
And we, of course, got to see more of the older characters that we loved! We see what becomes of Jordan and her career. We see Will and Parker, as Savannah’s best friend, Rory, is Will’s younger brother (remember him?). And we see a slight glimpse at Kate and Matt as well! It was like a cacophony of our favorite Kenneally characters and I loved it!
Racing Savannah was a very interesting an unique read. With it’s typical Kenneally feel that never seems to get old, I would definitely recommend it to all of the lovers of the Hundred Oaks novels, as well as anyone looking for a light, cute, romancy read!