Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Interview with Hannah Harrington, author of SPEECHLESS

It's no secret I love Hannah Harrington. OK, so maybe adore comes closer. Her debut novel, Saving June, is an all time favorite of mine, and her follow up, Speechless, released last month blew me away. I am so excited to have Hannah here today to answer a few questions. Read on for Hannah talking discrimination, atypical heroines and sneaky cameos from Jake and Harper!


Chelsea is a... difficult character to like. At first. Then there's this wonderfully gradual shift to a character I adored. You don't seem to make compromises with characters, but throw us in there, with their prickles, foibles and all—they're real, even when they're not nice. Neither Chelsea or Harper are typical young adult protagonists, but they're two of my favorites. Are you drawn write atypical, difficult characters?

Hannah: I really enjoy writing the trajectory of a character who finds their strength and/or sense of self over the course of a story. You are absolutely NOT supposed to like Chelsea at the start, but hopefully as the story progresses, you understand her more and see the changes she is going through in becoming who she is. I’m more interested in internal conflict than external, so I’m less inclined to write stories where the characters start off as fully evolved or enlightened or perfect. I think too the truth is that characters like Chelsea really do exist in real life, andeven as a contrast characters like Kristen—some of us grow  through experiences at that age, for some people it takes longer. I find flawed characters who struggles not just with their circumstances but with themselves to be more interesting to write!

What was your favorite part of writing Speechless?

Hannah: I have to say probably writing the scenes at Rosie’s and fleshing out that cast of characters was my favorite. There are parts of the book where Chelsea is really isolated, and so throwing her into the group with all of the different dynamics was the most fun for me. Plus, I think everyone would love to meet an eccentric bunch of people like the ones who work at the diner!

Discrimination, equality and GBLT rights play a huge part in Speechless, but never in a heavy-handed or preachy way. The issues are handled with real sensitivity and insight--was it tough to write about?

Hannah: It was tough because it was very important to me to do justice to those issues. One thing that was important to me was that even though this is Chelsea’s story, that the victims of what happens—Noah most especially, and Andy, too—were not just used as props in her redemption, that their suffering was prioritized, and for them to have their own agency and feelings about what happened. I know some people wanted to know more about Warren and Joey’s side of things, but to me, Warren and Joey weren’t important besides being a catalyst, and yes there needs to be justice on their end for what they did, but within the confines of the story (since it doesn’t take place over too long a period of time), I didn’t want them to get the focus.

I do hope that when I write about these issues that it doesn’t come off as hammering anyone over the head. I try to include them because they naturally fit into the story, and because they are honestly relevant to what teens experience, but I’m not setting off to make a grand moral statement.

I have to know: there's a small scene in Speechless with a boy named Jake and his girlfriend. Are they Jake and Harper?


Hannah: Yes! People who have read Saving June will notice early on in Speechless that both stories are rooted in the same fictional town, Grand Lake. I couldn’t help but throw in a short cameo so you can see that Jake and Harper are still going strong! It was very fun to write.

Can you tell us anything about what you're working on now/next?


Hannah: I am working on a third book, but it’s too early to be able to describe the premise properly! Mostly right now I am getting through the release of SPEECHLESS and all the excitement that comes with it. :)



A BIG thanks to Hannah for her time today. If you love her, why not use the links above and let her know? You can find Hannah on:
GoodreadsWebsite  |  Blog  | Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Tumblr

Speechless is available now at Harlequin www.harlequinbooks.com.au and in bookstores nationally for RRP AUS $19.99.

43 comments:

  1. OMG really?? Jake and June are in Speechless? How could I have missed this! Totally need to reread this scene again!

    Oh and I totally didn't like Chelsey at first, but I think that truly was the purpose and done perfectly:)

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    1. YES! Jake's mentioned by name, but Harper's not, so I think it's easy to miss. I LOVED it. And agreed. I think Chelsea was done PERFECTLY ^^

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  2. gr8 interview . i so need to read her books . arrrg

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    1. Thanks Roro! Seriously, Hannah's AMAZING! You SO need to ^^

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  3. This interview is amazing! I LOVE IT. Your questions are thoughtful and see, don't doubt for a second that you're not good at interviews (ie: see above)! Maybe you just made that up because your a slacker? Hmm. ;D

    Hopefully Jake and Harper along with the Speechless gang make an appearance in Hannah's next book. Now that would be awesome!

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    1. *huggles your face*
      Seriously. More cameos? I VOTE YES YES YES! I seriously hope so :D

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    2. *suffocates*
      YES TO MORE CAMEOS. YES YES YES.

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    3. Seriously YES. It wad just sonlovely seeing they were together and ok and happy in the future. I hope we get to see the same for Chelsea and Sam. It'd be fabulous :D

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  4. I think it's so cool Hannah started out with a character that we shouldn't like. It's different. I would rather grow to like a character. I think it's more real.

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    1. YES! I actually love that in books. Cat, in Night Huntress starts off as a total bigot, and Mac in Fever? Excellent :D

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  5. I loved the author's first book, though I probably won't read this one since it doesn't sound like my kind of read. But great interview!

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    1. I ADORED Saving June! Put Hannah straight on my auto-buy list. You know, it's very different from SJ, but it's very, very good. Might just surprise you :D

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  6. AND THESE ARE THE REASONS WHY I LOVE HANNAH. She was given excellent questions to inspire some truly amazing answers. Seriously, I'm (internally) screaming YES at everything she said. LOVE IT ALL.

    I love how she can so flawlessly display the subtle growth in her characters. I am so effing eager for her third book. Whatever the hell it is. I DON'T CARE WHAT THE HELL IT IS. JUST GIVE IT TO ME, PLEASE. This woman. A favourite author. No question.

    Also this Sarah. A favourite human. No question.

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    1. "I love how she can so flawlessly display the subtle growth in her characters."

      THIS THIS THIS! Seriously, there's this part in Speechless I just went 'huh!' I'd fallen completely in love with Chelsea, and I had no idea when it happened. Seriously, Hannah could move to writing erotic space operas with time travelling unicorns and I'd read it.

      Actually, I'd read that if ANYONE wrote it ;D

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    2. I JUST WANT TO AGREE WITH EVERYTHING BRODIE SAID.

      Hannah Harrington has very, very quickly become one of my very favourite authors!
      Her books show real people. They just grab the human emotions and splashes them across the page. So genious. so brilliant. so powerful.

      I love her. I love her. I love her.

      Brilliant interview Sarah! <3

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  7. Oh, awesome, awesome interview! I can't stand to wait for Speechless to be released over here! I may have to get the US copy! Lol.

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    1. Jooooooooo! Seriously, you MUST read it. ASAP. Get the US version if you must! Added bonus: gorgeous shiny cover :D :D

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  8. Brilliant interview! I loved Saving June AND Speechless so it's really great to hear what Hannah has to say. The fact that the Rosie's scenes were her favourite to write makes me smile as they were my favourite scene to read! Thanks for sharing. :)

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    1. Sammmmmmm (imagine it with a Frodo voice. Please don't hate me >__<)

      AND YES ABOUT ROSIE'S SCENES! I LOVED those. LOVED the family, and you can feel her love shining through, huh? ♥

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  9. "I am so effing eager for her third book. Whatever the hell it is. I DON'T CARE WHAT THE HELL IT IS. JUST GIVE IT TO ME, PLEASE."

    What Brodie said!

    Great interview Sarah, it always makes me happy when authors answer questions as well as they write books!:)

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    1. Seriously, 'what Brodie said' is my policy on most things in reading... and... well, life. The Brodie is WISE.

      Seriously, aren't Hannah's answers amazing? She's so eloquent and thoughtful and WOW.

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  10. WONDERFUL interview! :) I loooved this! Hannah Harrington is one of my favorite authors and both your questions and her answers were simply fantastic! For me, the strongest aspect of her novels are the characters she writes and I love how much time and effort she puts into crafting them so realistically. She truly is a phenomenal author, so I can't wait for her third book. Thank you so much for the terrific interview and for sharing with all of us, Sarah! :)

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    1. Hannah is AMAZING. Saving June is one of my favorite books. I'm talking, like, ALL TIME. And OMG. WHAT YOU SAID!

      "For me, the strongest aspect of her novels are the characters she writes and I love how much time and effort she puts into crafting them so realistically."

      ^^^ THIS. A hugely, emphatic YES! She's incredible, and it's that depth to her characters that makes them AMAZING.

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  11. Fab interview Sarah! I loved this book to bits!

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    1. Thanks, Braine! I ADORED it. And Saving June. MY EMOSHUNS! ♥

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  12. SARAH. SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE THIS INTERVIEW = *speechless* AND OMG, how is that I don't remember Jake's appearance in the book? *slaps forehead* MUST RE-READ THIS BOOK! AND EEEEEEEEE, super duper can't wait for Hannah's newest novel!

    BRILLIANT INTERVIEW, Sarah! ♥

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    1. I had a total fangirl FREAKOUT when I realised it was Jake and Harper. Seriously, I LOVED Speechless, and Hannah's book 3? I am THERE &HEARTS;

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  13. Love this interview! Hannah sounds like such a wonderful person and I am thrilled that she's working on another book!

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    1. I am SO excited for her next book. Want it nooooow *whines* :P

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  14. Oh man, I need to read her works, I just keep hearing good things. Wonderful interview, Sarah! :)

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  15. I'm so glad that Hannah handled the touchy subjects expertly. It always warms my heart to see positive messages in YA! :)
    Great interview--I can't wait to read SPEECHLESS (and omg, the UK/AUS cover is so much prettier than the US one)!
    - Lauren

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  16. This was a GREAT post Sarah!!! So interesting to see Hannah's thoughts behind Chelsea. I agree, I didn't particularly like her at the start be she grew so much as the story progressed!

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  17. Great interview Sarah! I cant wait to read Speechless. Ive been seeing this all around the blogoshpere. me.want.this. x

    ✿FICBOOKREVIEWS✿

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  18. This is such a great interview Hannah and Sarah! I can't believe that it was Jake and Harper in Rosie's, I think I will have to go back and read over that scene! I honestly can't wait for you next book Hannah! Thank for this fab interview ladies! :)

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  19. LOVE that that was Jake and Harper! When I read it I wondered...so cute.

    Great interview!

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  20. I've seen Speechless floating around the blogosphere! And I remember liking how different the story seemed. After that great interview, I'm more eager than ever!

    Thanks for sharing! Followed!

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  21. I can't believe that I haven't read either of Hannah's books yet! :o Speechless sounds amazing, and I love how it is linked to Saving June, I didn't know that. Great interview! :)
    Love your blog, new follower x
    Zoe
    www.bookhi.blogspot.com

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  22. I have these to read. Must do it soon! A little cross over with Saving June characters , nice.

    Awesome interview!!

    Mich

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  23. New follower here. Just found your blog! Great interview and I love the cover for Speechless! Looks like something I'd enjoy reading.

    By the way, The Original Series is my favorite Star Trek series, and I rewatch Firefly every now and then. Love the movie too, but no where near as good as the series. :D Check out my blog: jadziabrandli.blogspot.com just because you're a major Trekkie and I was named after two aliens from DS9. So...we should be best friends. :o)

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  24. Great interview! There was a question there I've been dying to ask Hannah (about the Jake and Harper part :D), and I can't help but feel this immense satisfaction that I've been right all along, haha. Plus, my dream has come true! I always thought Jake and Harper made a lovely couple. :P

    Anyway, Hannah's hard work at fleshing out the characters at Rosie's definitely paid off--they were all so real and three-dimensional to me. I adored SPEECHLESS a lot!

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  25. How the HELL did I miss the Jake and Harper cameo?! *rifles furiously through SPEECHLESS galley* Omg! What on earth was I doing that I didn't notice this? I have to hunt this down.

    Awesome, awesome interview as always, Sarah. :) Thanks for sharing it with us!!

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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  26. I haven't heard of this one! I just checked her out on Goodreads and read your reviews, and I NEED to read Saving June straight away. It sounds absolutely beautiful.

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  27. I like it when books tackle important issues. I'm looking forward to reading SPEECHLESS. It looks amazing.

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