Introducing Sara Grant!

It is my distinct pleasure to interview the amazing Sara Grant! Her novel, DARK PARTIES published by Little, Brown comes out in the US in August of this year. Woo Hoo!

Where did the idea for DARK PARTIES come from?
DARK PARTIES was the result of my move to the UK. Both the US and UK are struggling with immigration issues. I believe that diversity makes us stronger. So I said: what if we closed our borders to people and ideas? DARK PARTIES is my answer.

Is it a stand alone or part of a series?
I have ideas for a sequel and have planted a few seeds in DARK PARTIES for a follow up, but no plans yet for publication.

Was writing dystopia a conscious decision or did the story evolve into dystopian lit?
I didn’t set out to write a dystopian novel. I wanted to explore issues of identity – both personal and national. I built my world and developed my characters to enhance my ability to examine this theme. But in the writing, the world, characters and plot evolved and influenced each other in a way that, I hope, ties them inextricably together. 

I still find it amazing that I’m drawn to write dystopian novels. I’m the biggest optimist. I believe the best in people and have great hope for the future of the planet and humankind. 

What are some of the things you love about writing dystopian novels?
The best part of writing a dystopian novel is the freedom. Anything is possible in a world completely of your own making. With dystopian fiction, you can really shine a light on a particular aspect of society or human nature. You whittle away the parts of the real world that don’t serve your story.

Who are some of your favorite authors? (dystopian or not!)
I read To Kill A Mocking Bird for the first time last year and was absolutely blown away. I have read and re-read A Gathering Light by Jennifer Donnelly. I think Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech is darn near perfect. I recently discovered Libba Bray and you can’t go wrong with a John Green novel. I could go on and on. 

Have you always been a writer?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I’ve created stories since I was a little girl, imagining epic dramas for my Barbie dolls. I remember writing my first story when I was eight years old. It was hand-written in pencil and bound with three pieces of string. It was titled “A Dream I Wish Was True” and was a complete rip-off of a sketch on The Brady Bunch Variety Hour. And I’ve been writing ever since. 
I earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and psychology. After graduation I worked in public relations for seventeen years. When I moved to London in 2003, I went back to school and earned my master’s in creative and life writing. I changed professions and now am a senior commissioning editor for Working Partners, a company that creates series fiction for children. 

What is your favorite genre to read? Write?
I LOVE to read. I am always reading at least one book. Sometimes I like to mix reading one fiction and one non-fiction book – usually research for the next book. I have a pile of about forty books that I have purchased and are waiting – begging – to be read. I read a lot of young adult novels from chick lit to dystopian fiction and everything in between. Not only do I want to research the genre and age group I write, but also there are some really amazing young adult books being published. I try to read 50 books a year. Earlier this year I read Nothing by Janne Teller. It was disturbing and powerful and I can’t stop thinking about it. I also recommend Going Bovine by Libba Bray. It was this manic, crazy-brilliant quest that I couldn’t put down. 
At Working Partners, I create fiction for children of all ages – from early chapter books to young adult. But when I write for myself, I focus exclusively on novels for young adults. At the moment, I’m focused on edgy futuristic fiction, but I’d love to write a funny contemporary novel at some point in the future. 

What other projects do you have in the works?
My second book will come out in the fall of 2012. It’s another dystopian novel. Its working title is Half Lives. It’s very much a work in progress, but here’s what I know so far:
Half Lives chronicles the journey of two unlikely heroes – Icie and Beckett. Both struggle to keep themselves alive and protect future generations from the terrible fate that awaits any who dare to climb the mountain. Even though they live hundreds of years apart, Icie and Beckett’s lives are mysteriously linked. 
Half Lives is a race against time and the battle to save future generations. It’s about the nature of faith and power of miscommunication – and above all the strength of the human spirit to adapt and survive.

Sara - thanks so much for visiting with us here at the League! Best of luck with DARK PARTIES and HALF LIVES! They both sound fascinating!


Angie Smibert said...

I love the cover, and Dark Parties sounds like my kind of book. Thanks Julia and Sara!

Jessica E. Subject said...

I will definitely keep my eyes out for Dark Parties. Thanks for sharing!