Hannah Harrington: I like to write about real issues that teenagers are going through, so I try not to shy away from serious material. I think it’s relatable for teens to read about, since they deal with these kinds of issues in their actual lives. They’re relevant stories to tell to teens.
Hannah Harrington: The original idea was the concept of someone taking an oath of silence. From there, I tried to figure out how to up the stakes — what kind of character would have the hardest time being silent, and then what would drive a character that is so talkative to take that step? I built the rest of the story around that idea.
Hannah Harrington: I was lucky enough to be neither in high school. I moved to a new town at the start of my freshman year, and I had a fair amount of friends from different groups and got along with most people. In middle school, though, I definitely suffered from being bullied, so I relate much more to those experiences.
Hannah Harrington: Speechless is a lot about the power of words, how we use them and how we don’t. I hope teens may take away something about the power their voices have — both for better and for worse. As for adults, I do believe they’re in the best position as authority figures to change the bullying culture in schools, so if Speechless makes any of them more aware of the issue and what they can do to be support systems, I can only be happy about that.
Hannah Harrington: Love is Louder is a wonderful organization that specializes in bringing awareness to issues such as bullying, discrimination, negative self-image, and other problems affecting teens today. They provide resources for teens dealing with these issues. You can check out their website for more information, and to see ways to participate in actions and outreach.
Hannah Harrington: Right now, I am in the middle of Just Kids by Patti Smith, a memoir, and I am loving it!
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