Blog Tour: RACING SAVANNAH by Miranda Kenneally - Review & Q+A with Rory Whitfield

Hello everyone,
Welcome to our stop in the Racing Savannah Blog Tour! You all are in for a treat today because we have the screenplay-writing, all-around fun guy Rory Whitfield here on the blog today, talking to us about his latest screenplay, Vanessa Green and Will and Parker's wedding!

But, first  my review of Racing Savannah...

Format: e-ARC
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 304 pages
Release Date: December 3, 2013
Source of my copy: publisher via Netgalley
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
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…

Racing Savannah is like season two of the Hundred Oaks series--the older kids, Jordan and Henry, Parker and Will, and Kate and Matt are all moving on and now it's the younger generation's turn.

So, in Racing Savannah we get Savannah, Jack Goodwin, Rory Whitfield (Will's younger brother), Vanessa Green (Ty Green's little sister) and their friends. The story centers around Savannah and Jack but we get a lot Rory and Vanessa too, as well as some glimpse of the older kids from "season one," and one of the couples get married!

Savannah moved to Hundred Oaks after her father got a job on the Goodwin estate to take care of their horses. They live on the property, her dad and his girlfriend being live-in help for the Goodwins. She was rough around the edges and a take-no-crap from anyone (except maybe Jack Goodwin) kind of girl. She loves her dad but resents him for getting his girlfriend pregnant when they're barely getting by financially. She's constantly being told by everyone to stay away from the owner's son, Jack Goodwin but that was hard, especially since Jack had her working with him on a difficult horse.

Jack was clean cut and preppy, a Southern gentleman and the most popular guy in school. But he wasn't a typical teen in that his father was already training him to take over their business and he was trying to prove that he was more than capable. He was expected to date debutantes not stable hands and his family frowned on his relationship with their "hired help" so he struggled with his feelings for Savannah but he did a really crappy thing to her at one point and I didn't think he groveled enough to earn her forgiveness. And he was a too hot and cold to Savannah for me. I liked Jack but didn't find him quite as likeable as the other Hundred Oaks boys.

Savannah and Jack each had their own issues they had to overcome along with issues because of their relationship so they had a lot of things to work out. There were many things going on in the novel and at times the writing felt a bit clumsy and cliché but I was never bored with Racing Savannah. It was like watching a CW show on TV--lots of drama between Savannah, Jack and their families and it was great! And, of course, we also get some steamy moments between Jack and Savannah. However, my favorite parts, aside from the secondary story line with Rory and Vanessa, were ones with Savannah and Star the horse. I loved the bond she formed with Star and I found the scenes with Star really sweet.

While this novel was not my favorite in the series (Stealing Parker is), it was still a good read. If you read and enjoyed Miranda's previous Hundred Oaks novels or a contemporary YA fan, you won't want to miss Racing Savannah.

Now, on to our Q+A with Rory Whitfield (in case you're not familiar with him, he is Will Whitfield's [from Saving Parker] little brother).

Hi Rory! First, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Last we heard from you, your dad was declaring bankruptcy on the farm and you might be moving... any updates on that?
Yeah, it sucks... Dad thinks he can probably keep the farm, but he won't be able to get a line of credit if he declares bankruptcy. And operating a farm without credit could be risky and damn near impossible. Mom got a job working over at the elementary school, so I don't have to worry about my little brothers for the time being.

Are you still writing screenplays? If you are, can you tell us about the current one you're working on? Is it the usual Rory Whitfield kind, filled with gratuitous sex or violence? Or are you softening your style these days?
Savannah becoming a horse jockey inspired me! I love watching a girl beat the men on the track. So I started writing a screenplay about a girl horse jockey, but Savannah said it was an invasion of privacy. Also, she made fun of the scene I wrote in which the barn explodes, and the strapping male farmhand named "Cory" saved all the horses from imminent doom.

Can you tell us about the first time you laid eyes on/met Vanessa? What was your first impression of her?
The first time I saw Vanessa was in 8th grade, after she moved to Tennessee from Texas. I thought she was very pretty and I liked how nice she was to everybody - even dorky kids like me, but I didn't stand a chance. Jack Goodwin and Colton Bradford were all over her from day one.

What was the most romantic thing you did for Vanessa to date?
I dedicated my screenplay, Tattoos of the Clinically Depressed, to her.

We're dying to know about Will and Parker's wedding... Was Will or Parker nervous at all before the wedding? It's hard to imagine her as one, but still... was Parker a bridezilla? Where did Will and Parker have their honeymoon?
If anybody caused problems, it was Will. He was a Groom-zilla. He wanted pigs-in-a-blanket at the reception and wouldn't settle for anything less. Just kidding - it was a very relaxed wedding. They didn't even get pissed when I misplaced the rings. They haven't been on their honeymoon yet because Will's in law school. They're planning to go to Jamaica next summer, though.

And finally... where do you see yourself in five years? Do you still see Vanessa in the picture?
I hope so! She's the best thing that's ever happened to me. In five years, I want to be living in Hollywood, watching my screenplays get developed into movies. I imagine the first one will star George Clooney.

We once again thank Rory for answering our questions and a big THANK YOU to Miranda for making this interview with Rory possible. Everyone, Racing Savannah is already out in stores. Last time I checked the paperback is only $5.99 on Amazon, which is a steal because usually it's $9.99.

If you want to chat with Miranda Kenneally or find more info about her books, you can find her on her website, Twitter and Facebook.

Share with us what you thought of the interview or anything you'd like to say about Racing Savannah.

Happy reading,
Michelle & Leslie

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