FAITH AND ADVENTURE: Hannah Currie

Hannah Currie, author of Because of You, shares her experiences as a missionary and her desire to speak to the hearts of teenagers.

What do you love about writing books for teenagers?

I had the privilege of working with teens as a youth leader for almost a decade and always loved their enthusiasm. They’re full of questions and hopes and dreams and are just starting to really figure out who they are outside of their parents and families.

Books, especially fiction, had a huge impact on me as a teen too as I figured out friends and faith and what it meant to be a Christian. I love the thought of God using one of my books to impact a teen as many of my favourite authors did me.

What inspired you to write your latest release, Because of You?

Like Chloe in Because of You, I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a missionary when I finished school. In my teens, I sought out just about every missionary book I could find to read – fiction, biographies, fact books. I loved them but always wished there were more stories of kids or teens like me involved with missions. Not just adults. Fast forward a couple of decades and, as a writer, I realised I had the chance to do just that. Not only share about one girl’s experience on a short term mission but base it on an actual worldwide organisation that teens could be involved with.

Did you have any personal experiences that contributed to this book?

Ha! Yes. Because of You is based off a mission trip I took to Thailand with Teen Missions as a teen. It’s by no means a factual account but a lot of the experiences and scenes are in some way inspired by things my team and I did on that trip. Including the caramelised caterpillars.

Do you have a typical writing process for new books? How did this book compare?

I’m a mix of plotter and pantser when it comes to writing books. I start with a very clear idea of the characters and main plot points and themes and such but a lot of the other details and actual story come about as I write the first draft. I’ll draft the whole story (often out of order) and then come back and fill in all the gaps and add tension and such. This one was a similar process. I started with a list of the different scenes I planned to include and the team members’ names but the story grew from there.

This book touches on some confronting themes, including poverty, slavery, and human trafficking. What was it like to write about these themes?

Terrifying! As you’ve said, they’re pretty confronting and it breaks me to know that they’re still happening in the world today. I really wanted to present them in a way that shared with readers the truth and stark reality of what many kids across the world face, but also remember the age of my audience. To open their eyes but not blast them with facts or despair. To hold out hope and suggest things they could do to make a difference in the face of such confronting themes. The challenge was very much finding that balance.

What do you hope your readers take away from Because of You?

I have two prayers for this book. First, that teens would realise they don’t have to be ‘old enough’ or in the middle of an African/Asian jungle to be part of God’s plan. He has a plan for them right where they are, just by being themselves. Second, I hope people remember that everyone has a story – whether it’s the kid on the other side of the world or the one sitting across from them at school. Everyone is facing something and it’s in discovering their stories that we learn to truly love and care as God wants us to.

You’ve also written several other series for teenagers, including the Daughters of Peverell series and the Crown of Promise series. What inspired you to write these?

I have! Daughters of Peverell, my first series, came about because I’d just finished reading a series of books set in a castle and really wanted to read more but couldn’t find what I was looking for. So I wrote it. At first, it was just something to share with my then-teenaged sister, but I quickly fell in love with the setting and characters and it grew into a three-book series. Each of the stories started with a question – what happens when someone who’s only ever known royalty is thrown out of the palace and has to figure out how to be a commoner? What if a princess constantly in the spotlight had severe anxiety? What if a girl fell in love with a prince but wanted nothing to do with royalty? They’re romances but with themes that women of all ages can relate to like purpose, mental health, grace and forgiveness.

The third one, Heart of the Crown, is pretty much my love letter to the teens in my life, and what I wish I could tell them.

My second series, Crown of Promise, was inspired by Jesus’ parables. I wanted to take the theme of the parable and use it in a medieval, royalty setting. Bring Her Home is a medieval retelling of the Prodigal Son (except she’s a prodigal daughter). Guard Her Heart in inspired by the Good Samaritan and Hold Her Close is the parable of the pearl. It’s been amazing to write this series and really delve into the heart of God’s message through them.

What do you find exciting and challenging about writing a series?

It’s always exciting to follow a family or group of friends through a series. In both of mine, each of the three books is told from a different character’s point of view but the stories all follow on from each other. It’s fun to have that continuity and overarching storyline throughout. Like returning to a favorite place or catching up again with good friends.

The biggest challenge for me is always finishing off all the plotlines and leaving readers content with the ending. I know during the writing of the first couple of books that I can leave some things for the final one (like minor character stories or plotlines) but they all have to be concluded in some way in the end. Also, I’m terrible at saying goodbye. I never want the series to end!

Do you have any other projects in the works?

Yes, but nothing I can announce currently. Sorry! I can guarantee though that there will be many more books to come from me so keep an eye out for them! My newsletter is the best place to keep up to date with future projects since I announce everything there first.