Saving June is one of my favorite reads this year (read my review) so I was delighted when the author, Hannah Harrington, said that she’d be willing to do an interview on my blog. YAY for awesome authors! Saving June is her debut novel and is a contemporary YA novel focusing on Harper and how she’s dealing with her sister’s death. Saving June was released early in Australia (lucky Aussies!) and will be released in the US on November 22. Let’s all give Hannah a warm welcome. 🙂
What inspired you to focus on the themes present in Saving June – suicide, grief, road trips, music, etc.?
Everything just seemed to tie together! Music is something that meant a lot to me as a teenager. It felt sometimes like it was another way to identify yourself, by what you listened to, in the same way teens identify or express themselves by what they wear or what films they like or what books they read. For me at least discovering new music and figuring out what I liked and what I didn’t was a means to self-discovery. I think too at that age that loss – any kind of loss, not necessarily death – affects you differently, especially if it’s your first time dealing with something of that nature, and we all lean on different things. For me, music was always something I turned to a lot, whether to be comforted or just wanting to connect to something – or even just to escape for a little while. And the road trip just made the perfect frame for the story.
Music is a huge aspect of the novel. Aside from the playlists already included in the book, do you have other songs in mind that readers can listen to while reading Saving June?
I spent a lot of time putting those together and even then I’d later remember another song I wanted to include and kick myself for leaving it off! It took a lot of restraint not to just list one hundred songs, haha. If I could, I’d add songs like “One Headlight” by The Wallflowers, “Born To Run” by Bruce Springsteen, “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac… those are just off the top of my head!
If you had to choose between music and books, what would you pick?
Ahh, this is impossible for me to choose! If I pick music, does that mean I can still listen to audio books? It’s the only way I can make a decision.
Clever answer to the previous question! While you were writing the novel, did you ever think that readers would develop fictional crushes on Jake? Do you have your own fictional crushes?
Ha! I did not really think that far ahead when writing Jake – I wanted to make him appealing to me as a reader, or more specifically appealing to Harper. He was the most fun character to write so I love hearing that other people enjoy him. And yes, I have fictional crushes of my own! Troy Barnes from the TV show Community (played by Donald Glover) is totally adorable to me. He is definitely my TV boyfriend.
Saving June is a contemporary YA novel and I’m always curious about what other books authors can recommend in their own genre. What are some contemporary YA novels that you love?
I love contemporary YA – it’s what I read most growing up, and I still love it now. Some recent favorites have been Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers, Wide Awake by David Levithan, and The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty. All of them are wonderful!
Are you working on another book right now? Can you please tell us more about it?
Right now I’m preparing for my second book, SPEECHLESS, which will be released by HarlequinTeen in September 2012. It’s the story of a girl named Chelsea Knot who takes a voluntary oath of silence after her gossip-mongering ways yield unexpected consequences… there’s a boy involved, too, of course!
Yay, another Hannah Harrington to look forward to! Finally, Saving June has been getting a lot of positive feedback from bloggers and readers all over the world, how does it feel to have such a successful debut novel?
It’s very exciting, and humbling! It’s been a bit nerve-wracking knowing that people are finally reading it now, so to know that some people really connect to and love the story is a thrill. I can’t express how much it means to me!
Thank you, Hannah, for being so nice and friendly and for sharing more of your thoughts with us! Looks like I have to listen to a couple more songs, watch the TV show Community, read Cracked Up to Be and Wide Awake, and TRY to wait patiently for Speechless to be released. Saving June fans, hope you enjoyed learning more about Hannah and for those who haven’t read the book, I hope this interview encourages you to pick it up. It really is a lovely book and I can’t recommend it enough.