Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fresh Start September-Interview with Hannah Harrington

Hello everyone! Fresh Start September has featured interviews with so many great authors, and today I'm excited to bring you an interview with Hannah Harrington, author of Speechless.  Speechless explores the serious impact that rumors can have. It looks like such a great book! Before we get to the interview, lets learn a little bit more about it, shall we?


Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Published: August 28 2012
Pages: 288 pages

Add This Book to your TBR List on Goodreads

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can't keep a secret

Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast—and nearly got someone killed.

Now Chelsea has taken a vow of silence—to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting anyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets is hard, not speaking up when she's ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.

But there's strength in silence, and in the new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way—people she never noticed before; a boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she's done. If only she can forgive herself.

Rumors can be vicious can't they? Sounds like this book has some very inportant lessons to teach and I for one can't wait to read it! Now on to the interview:

Both Saving June and Speechless are contemporary YA novels, do you think you’ll ever branch out and write in a different genre?

Part of me would love to attempt a dystopian novel some day, since it's one of my favorite genres, but I don't know if I could pull it off! Genres such as that and fantasy and paranormal take a certain world-building skill that I haven't felt compelled to write so far. I've also always just loved contemporary fiction. It can be just as creative, diverse, and challenging to write, and at the same time I find something very comfortable about it and easy to connect with. So for right now I plan to stick with contemporary, though maybe someday I'll branch out!

What is your writing process like? Do you write for a set amount of time/pages, or do you just write as the 
story comes to you?

I tend to write as the story comes to me. I have started to outline a little more, but it's usually very loose. Everyone operates differently in their process, but I find that forcing myself when I'm not feeling it just ends up frustrating me.

Speechless has a strong message about the strength, and weaknesses of silence, is there a personal story behind it or do you just want to send a message to young adults?

There isn't really a personal story behind Speechless--Chelsea is very different from myself, and I purposely wanted to write a character like that, who was different from my previous protagonist in Saving June, since it would be very easy to write that same kind of character again and I wanted to try something different. I had some of my own experiences with bullying growing up, though not coming from the same place as what Chelsea goes through, and I did work as a pizza cook for a little while after high school, but that is pretty much where the similarities end!

I actually wrote Speechless a few years ago, before the tragic rash of bullying-related gay suicides and the It Gets Better campaign gained a lot of media attention, so it was not a story written out of reaction to that. I don't really set out to write "issue" books where the goal is to send a moral lesson; I'm more trying to write an interesting story with interesting characters. My hope is that any "lessons" that come out of it are just organic to the themes of what I'm writing, since I think if your main aim is to create some kind of teachable moment it can come off as contrived or ring false with your readers. There are obviously things I feel strongly about-- such as the marginalization of LGBTQ* identified people and bullying in general-- that I try not to shy away from expressing my views on. The hope is that it doesn't come off as too forced but instead something people either relate to or possibly think about differently.

Saving June had some really strong and powerful characters, can we expect the same with Speechless?

I hope people feel that way! In Speechless, Chelsea starts off as a rather unsympathetic person. You're not supposed to like her, and that can be sort of difficult to get past, so I tried to write her as someone surrounded by strong, likable characters that the reader could latch onto easily. And hopefully stick around to read through all of the changes Chelsea goes through herself, since she goes through a lot. I enjoy writing characters more than plot, and it's always fun to come up with very different personalities and play around with all the different dynamics.

If you could have any other job, what would you choose and why?

Ooh, this is tough. I think I'd like Anthony Bourdain's job. He gets paid to travel around the world, meet and hang out with awesome people, and eat food. He is living the dream!

Of all the colours in the rainbow, which is your favourite?

Indigo. It's a pretty color, and the word itself is lovely, isn't it? Indigo!

I want to say a huge thank you to Hannah Harrington  for participating in Fresh Start September  and allowing Daphne, Faye and I to bring you this interview!

As a bonus part of  Fresh Start September, we are giving everyone a chance to win some prizes donated by our wonderful participants and ourselves! The prizes include:

  • 2 winners of Strange Chemistry ARC packs, each pack including a copy of Poltergeeks by Sean Cummings, The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke AND Katya’s World by Jonathan L Howard (courtesy of Strange Chemistry)
  • 1 winner of an eBook of My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris (courtesy of Entangled Publishing)
  • 1 winner of a hardover copy of 34 Pieces of You by Carmen Rodrigues (courtesy of the author)-US only Enter here
  • 3 winners of a book of your choice from any that has been featured in Fresh Start September (each courtesy of the hosts)

The giveaway is INTERNATIONAL and will run until the end of the event (30th of  September). Remember to follow the Twitter and Facebook pages of the prizes you want to win, for example, to be eligible to win the Strange Chemistry Prize, you must follow them on Twitter and Facebook. Good luck!

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1 comment:

kimbacaffeinate said...

Oh i hope you try a dystopian..i love them!