When Hannah Harrington released her debut novel Saving June last year, I loved it and was eager for her to release her next novel. That time has come – Speechless is out now and is everything I expected, perhaps even more! The concept of the book is a very interesting one, with the protagonist spending most of the novel silent. Very luckily, I got to ask Hannah Harrington some questions about her new novel and here are her responses:
What provided your inspiration for Speechless?
I had this thought about someone taking an oath of silence. And then I started thinking about why someone would do that, and the type of person who would have the most challenging time dealing with being unable to speak—a teenage gossip queen seemed like the obvious answer! The story really built itself around that one idea.
What was your own high school experience like? Did you face the same pressures that Chelsea does?
Chelsea is very, very different from how I was in high school. I wasn’t very concerned with social status or cliques or anything like that. I had a pretty low drama level in my friendship circles, and I was lucky not to be harassed or anything like that. I generally had bigger concerns outside of school. It was interesting for me to try to put myself in the shoes of a character so different from myself.
A really poignant part of the book is when Chelsea visits Noah in the hospital and he forgives her? Was this hard to write?
It wasn’t difficult, because it felt like the right time to do it in the story and a rather natural conclusion. Figuring out how to write Noah’s perspective was probably the most difficult. I wanted him to be a good person, and a strong person, but I also wanted him to be human rather than just some manifestation of benevolence, so I tried to show the awkwardness of his situation and how the trauma he’d experienced wasn’t something he’d be able to sweep under the rug immediately—like most characters in Speechless, his story remains a work in progress even at the end.
My thanks go to both Hannah Harrington and Mira Ink for their time and for inviting me to participate in this tour.