The Story Behind Love Means Zero by Daisy Jordan

A lot of the inspiration for Love Means Zero comes from my previous books. My first novel, Everything Happens for a Reason… is about Hilton, Jill, Todd, and Luke in college. Several readers said they loved the characters and wanted to read more about them, so my first idea was to go back and write about them in high school. In Everything Happens for a Reason…, I’d hinted at things that had happened in high school, and I wanted to see exactly how those events had played out and helped shape the characters into their college selves.

My original idea, one book that covered all of high school, turned into four books, the Spin the Bottle series. Somewhere in the middle of writing that, I knew I would write one that continued following their lives after Everything Happens for a Reason…. It wasn’t a conscious decision I remember making; there just came a point where I loved the characters so much and was so invested in them that I knew I would continue to write about them. I couldn’t let Everything Happens for a Reason… be the end, even though it does “end,” to some extent.

Many of my ideas for Love Means Zero, such as Hilton, Jill, Todd, Luke, and Adria’s living situation, came while I was writing Spin the Bottle. As I got to know the characters better, I started to have a clearer vision of where their post-college lives would go. But there is another major source of inspiration for Love Means Zero as well – my love for tennis.

Long ago, while in the early stages of writing Spin the Bottle, I had an idea for another book. At the time, I was in my last year of college and in the process of searching for jobs. One day while surfing the ATP tennis tour’s website, I decided to look at their job postings. One was for a translating position – translating various pieces from English to French and vice versa (French is an official language of the tour).

I thought, What a dream job! I had taken French in high school and college, but I didn’t think there was any way I knew enough for that job. Plus, I think it was an internship that didn’t fit with my school schedule. But it gave me an idea for a book. I started to develop a new character, totally separate from any Everything Happens for a Reason… or Spin the Bottle characters, who would get this summer job.

In the fall, she would go back to her normal life as a teacher, but then she would receive a call from a tennis player she had met at a charity event over the summer. He would offer her a position as his assistant, with all her travel and lodging paid. His secret motive for doing so would be that he had thought she was hot when they’d met, and he wanted to have a hot girl around in order to infuriate his girlfriend, with whom he had a rocky relationship.

The girl would take the job, only to learn the tennis player, while hot, was an even bigger jerk than his media reputation illustrated. Her job would be a disaster, but she would love traveling with the tour, and she would meet other tennis players who became her close friends and/or romantic interests.

At some later point, while still writing Spin the Bottle, I realized…that girl should be Hilton! Why invent a new character when I already had the perfect one?! Hilton was a tennis player in high school, and she’s adventurous and free-spirited, the ideal personality for the storyline. I changed the job from French translator to photographer, because Hilton had majored in photography in college, and Love Means Zero was born!


Daisy Jordan is an obsessive tennis fan and wrote Love Means Zero so she could live out her dream-job fantasy through Hilton. Before deciding to write a book about the tennis tour, she wrote six other books, including Everything Happens for a Reason…, the Spin the Bottle series, and All That Sparkles Isn’t Real Sapphire. Even before that, she grew up in Indiana watching tennis all summer every summer on TV, and even attended a few pro tournaments. She now lives in Denver and religiously fills out brackets for every Grand Slam with her brother Josh. Daisy can be found online at:


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