Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Interview with Sarah Henning for Throw Like A Girl

Throw Like a Girl

by Sarah Henning
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: January 7th 2020
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance
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Friday Night Lights meets Morgan Matson's The Unexpected Everything in this contemporary debut where swoonworthy romance meets underdog sports story.

When softball star Liv Rodinsky throws one ill-advised punch during the most important game of the year, she loses her scholarship to her fancy private school, her boyfriend, and her teammates all in one fell swoop. With no other options, Liv is forced to transfer to the nearest public school, Northland, where she'll have to convince their coach she deserves a spot on the softball team, all while facing both her ex and the teammates of the girl she punched... Every. Single. Day.

Enter Grey, the injured star quarterback with amazing hair and a foolproof plan: if Liv joins the football team as his temporary replacement, he'll make sure she gets a spot on the softball team in the Spring. But it will take more than the perfect spiral for Liv to find acceptance in Northland's halls, and behind that charming smile, Grey may not be so perfect after all.

With well-drawn characters and a charming quarterback love interest who's got brains as well as brawn, Throw Like a Girl will have readers swooning from the very first page.

Can you briefly describe THROW LIKE A GIRL and its characters? 

Throw Like a Girl is about a down-spiraling softball player named Liv Rodinsky who is recruited by an injured quarterback, Grey Worthington, to be his not-so-back-up on the football team headlined by her ex-boyfriend, Jake Rogers. 

There’s some swoony romance, lies by omission, and a journey that tests all of Liv’s strengths—physical, emotional, and mental. Along the way she learns to make her own choices, trust her heart, and that standing up for herself doesn’t necessarily mean walking away. 

Who would you say is your favorite character from the story and why? 

Do I have to pick? ! I seriously do love them all. I love Liv’s determination and work ethic, Ryan and Danielle’s supportiveness, Addie’s confidence, Jake’s drive, and Grey’s, well, swoon-worthiness. Seriously, this entire cast is basically made up of people I would love to be around all the time. Well, except Stacey—she’s just a jerk. 

How did the story occur to you? Did you find inspiration anywhere? 

I have a background as a sports journalist, which meant many nights covering football, basketball, baseball, tennis, golf—you name it, I probably covered it as either a reporter or copy editor on the sports desk. I cut my teeth at papers in Northeastern Pennsylvania and South Florida, both places where high school and college football are king. For a good six or seven years of my life, fall Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, were made up of football of every stripe. 

I was years removed from that life when the idea for Throw Like a Girl came to me, while I was on a run, exhausted from staying up late, watching the Kansas City Royals play post-season baseball with a newborn on my lap. I’m not sure if it was the lack of sleep or the endorphins from my run or maybe a combination of both, but I suddenly decided it would be super fun to drop an elite softball player into the world of high school football. Toss in some questionable choices, on-the-field romance, far too many donut references, and Throw Like a Girl was born. 

If you could choose one song to describe your book, which one would it be? 

Can I mash-up Lizzo’s “Like a Girl” and Taylor Swift’s “I Think He Knows”? Those two together would make the perfect song for this book. 

If your book was going to be made into a movie, who would play your characters?

As I was writing it, the closest person I could find that looked like Liv in my head is Ana Ivanovic, who is a retired professional tennis player from Serbia. I know that’s out of left field, but considering my background in sports journalism, you’ll have to excuse me. As for Grey, the closest I’ve come is Noah Centineo, who is the exact reason there’s a Peter Kavinsky reference to Grey in the book. 

What drink and place do you think will go with your book to have a perfect book date? 

It’s not exactly conducive to reading to have a date in a football stadium, so I’d recommend chilling on the deck in the sun the morning after the game with some donuts and hot chocolate. Donuts are very important in Throw Like a Girl, by the way, as are carbs in general. This is a book where the characters eat.

Can you recommend your readers any other books in case they are left hungry for more once they finish THROW LIKE A GIRL? 

Yes! If you want more sports action, I’d recommend Break the Fall by Jennifer Iacopelli, which comes out in February. It’s a book about a scandal in the US gymnastics community right before the Olympics. As a former competitive gymnast, I drank it up! And, if you want humor and high achieving high schooler hijinks, I’d recommend Amanda Sellet’s debut By The Book, which comes out in May. It’s about a bookworm who starts to give dating advice based on classic novels to hilariously awful results. 

What’s next for you? 

I actually have two books out in 2020, which is insane to me. After Throw Like a Girl, I have the start of a fantasy duology, called The Princess Will Save You, out July 7th. It’s basically a gender-swapped take on The Princess Bride. Instead of the commoner true love going to rescue a kidnapped princess, the princess goes after her true love, a stable boy, when he’s kidnapped by pirates as part of a plot to force her hand into marriage.

Sarah Henning is a recovering journalist who has worked for the Palm Beach Post, Kansas City Star and Associated Press, among others. While in South Florida, Sarah lived and worked through five hurricanes, which gave her an extreme respect for the ocean. When not writing, she runs ultramarathons, hits the playground with her two kids and hangs out with her husband Justin, who doubles as her long-suffering IT department. Sarah lives in Lawrence, Kansas, which, despite being extremely far from the beach, happens to be pretty cool.

1 comment:

  1. Stories with characters who are athletes are always fun for me to read.