The book we sent our subscribers this month tells the hilarious and heartfelt story of Harriet whose hearing aid helps her understand aliens from across the universe. We were lucky enough to interview author Samantha Baines, who told us how her own experience of hearing loss inspired Harriet and which planet she’d most like to visit.
What inspired you to write Harriet Versus the Galaxy?
I love to read and when I was at school, I used to write lots of creative stories, and I missed doing that. I've also always wanted to go to space too and I wondered what it might be like. So, I decided to go to space in my head and write about the journey and whilst I was writing this brave little girl Harriet popped out, along with her clever friend Robin and lovely Sock Muncha and the family!
Why did you choose to write about a character with hearing loss?
I have hearing loss and I wear a hearing aid in one ear just like Harriet. I'm sad that mine isn't green though like Harriet's! I realised I had never read a book before about someone like me and that meant loads of other people who are deaf or use hearing aids might not have seen someone like them in a book either. So, I decided to change that. I love my hearing aid, it's awesome and I wanted to show how brilliant hearing aids can be which is why Harriet's hearing aid has special powers!
Which of Harriet’s planets would you most like to visit and why?
Like Gran, I do love a cup of tea and a good biscuit to dunk in it so I think it would have to visit Planet Tea for a drink and a snack and afterwards I'd head to planet Velcrodome and roll around and stick to things, which I think would be fun.
Do you have a favourite place to write?
I actually like writing on the train during long journeys. If I'm not reading, I'll be writing bits and bobs on my phone. I love sitting at home with my two cats Victoria and Albert with a cup of tea to write too. Although Victoria always tries to sit on my laptop so sometimes it's hard to get anything done.
What was your favourite book as a child?
Ohhh I had so many! I loved The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton, Scribbleboy by Phillip Ridley and the Tracey Beaker books. When I was little my Mum used to read We are Going on a Bear Hunt to me and we'd make it a song. I also love the Artemis Fowl series.
Is there going to be a sequel and can you give us a clue as to what will happen next to Harriet?
Well, I'd love to know if you'd like another book and what you'd like to see Harriet do next. I think she'd have to actually visit space next time as that's what she's always dreamt about doing, with Gran, Robin and Sock Muncha of course!