Comedian Samantha Baines talks to us about her first book for children, Harriet Versus The Galaxy, which features a young female protagonist whose hearing aid has very special capabilities.
What is Harriet Versus The Galaxy about?
Harriet discovers her hearing aid can translate alien languages when she finds an alien under her bed! It's up to Harriet and Gran to protect the Earth from the Munchas who eat everything like socks, pens and even knickers!
What inspired you to write a book for children?
I think all children should see themselves represented in children's books. When I was told I needed a hearing aid three years ago I felt very alone and 'other' and like there was no one else going through what I was going through. With my work with Action on Hearing Loss and the British Tinnitus Association I now know that's not true and that 11 million people in the UK live with hearing loss and deafness. I've been told stories of children being bullied for their hearing aids even though they are the most amazing tiny machines! I wanted to write a book with a cool female lead who happens to have a hearing aid. It's a celebration of her hearing aid, being different and also a fun adventure story. I hope a child with a hearing aid can read it, enjoy it and feel less alone.
Do you feel your background as a comedian helped you to write it?
Well hopefully it helped with the funny bits! I think the discipline of stand up and constantly writing and editing new material is definitely a great training ground for writing. Books are a little bit longer than my stand up sets though so that was a challenge!
What message do you want readers to take away from the book?
Hearing aids are cool and you are never alone! Also Harriet may be young but she is protecting our whole planet and just like Harriet and Robyn (her non-binary best friend) and Gran, you can do anything you put your mind to.
What are you working on next?
I'm a total workaholic so I currently have two adult books and three children's books on the go. I like to chop and change between different drafts when I get stuck. Hopefully I will finish at least one of them!
Harriet Versus The Galaxy by Samantha Baines is out now, published by Knights Of.