|Saving June by Hannah Harrington|
We're delighted to welcome author Hannah Harrington here as part of her blog tour for Saving June. Saving June is a roadtrip novel for older teens. Sixteen year old Harper is grieving about the death of her sister June. She sets off on a road trip across America with Jake, her bestfriend Laney and June's ashes.
Hannah tells us a bit about herself, roadtripping and being a teen.
M: If you were on a roadtrip and had to stop off to get a meal, what would you choose to eat and why?
Hannah: I love old-fashioned type diners! I’d probably pull over to one of those and ask for something simple like a club sandwich with chips.
M: If you were on a roadtrip with Jake, how many bags would you take and what would your must-have items be?
Hannah: I’m a pretty light packer, so if it were only a week-long trip, I could probably do with one bag. Besides clothes and a toothbrush and hair supplies, I’d probably be packing a few books to read and my iPod. And a camera, of course!
M: Harper is a rebel with a cause. Were you ever a rebel with (or without) a cause?
Hannah: I had some moments during my teenage years you could classify as “rebellious.” I cut class a few times to go to political protests with some friends of mine. Sometimes I would either sneak out of my house or lie about where I was spending the night and go to college-aged parties instead. I think I got at least one detention per school year, for various reasons. I’m not proud of it though! And it’s something I definitely outgrew as I got older.
M: Harper has many views on what makes a girl independent and strong. What do you think are some of the biggest challenges facing teen girls today?
Hannah: I think for girls just figuring out how to be ourselves is a big challenge. There’s a lot in our culture and our society dictating how we should look and how we should behave, and we all end up being very self-critical with how we express ourselves, especially when it comes to negative emotion. For example, a man who gets angry isn’t going to be labelled with a gendered slur—he’s just called angry. A woman who gets angry is called… something else, even if her anger is completely justified. And that kind of culture leads to women being much more reluctant and careful in how they express themselves. So I think being able to recognize our own feelings and thoughts as legitimate alone is a pretty big hurdle.
M: There are references to many US cultural icons throughout the novel: Harper Lee, Jack Kerouac, Truman Capote, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Jimi Hendrix. Who or what in the world has influenced you most?
Hannah: I can’t really narrow it down to just one person of influence, but one of them was Kurt Cobain. By the time I found out who he was, I was in high school and he’d already been dead for about ten years. This friend of mine was really into Nirvana, and so one day I went and downloaded some of their music and gave it a listen, and they became the first band I was somewhat obsessed with. My best friend and I would listen to their music together, watch documentaries, read his biographies, all of that. It opened up a new way of listening to music for me, and it also led me to finding other bands I loved. Basically it just felt like by getting into Nirvana, it opened a door to a lot else for me.
Hannah Harrington's novel, Saving June is published in the UK this month by Mira Ink. You can read my review of it here.