Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sara Grant (Awesome Women)

I have the great pleasure today of welcoming Sara Grant to my blog. Sara is the debut author of Dark Parties, a dystopic YA novel, which will be published by the new Indigo teenage imprint for Orion on the 20th of October.

Sara also writes for The Edge and is here today talking about the fabulous women that have had an influence on her life. Here, first is the product description for Dark Parties:

Sixteen-year-old Neva has been trapped since birth. She was born and raised under the Protectosphere, in an isolated nation ruled by fear, lies, and xenophobia. A shield "protects" them from the outside world, but also locks the citizens inside. But there's nothing left on the outside, ever since the world collapsed from violent warfare. Or so the government says...

Neva and her best friend Sanna believe the government is lying and stage a "dark party" to recruit members for their underground rebellion. But as Neva begins to uncover the truth, she realizes she must question everything she's ever known, including the people she loves the most.

And if you'd like to know more about Sara Grant or Dark Parties, please do visit the following links:

Can you tell me a little something about yourself?

Hmmm...that should be an easy question, but I find it difficult to synopsize myself. But here goes...I was born in a small town in southern Indiana. I studied journalism and psychology at Indiana University. I spent the next fifteen years working in public relations.

I met my husband while standing in line for the ET ride at Universal Studios in Florida. There’s a longer story but it ends happily with me moving to London seven years ago. I went back to school and earned a master’s degree in creative and life writing from Goldsmiths College, University of London. I work as a senior commissioning editor for Working Partners, a London-based company creating series fiction for children. DARK PARTIES – a dystopian tale for teens – is my debut novel.

Oh, and is my favourite colour. I am an entertainment junkie – I love to read but also love watching movies and TV and now playing games on my iPhone. I think potatoes are the most perfect food. I have always loved to listen to music really loudly and have been known – since I was a teen and only when I was alone – to dance around my living room. I believe as Ralph Waldo Emerson said: nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.

Did you have a role model growing up?

I’m really lucky. I had several role models growing up. My parents demonstrated how to live life with honour, compassing and a great sense of humour. I also was very close to my grandma. My family has always been hugely supportive. They told me from a very young age that I could be anything I wanted to be.

Who do you look up to now?

I still look up to my parents. But now I would add my sister to that list. She’s beautiful in every sense of the word. She’s honest, hard working and compassionate. If I needed her, she would be on a plane as soon as she could – and she knows that I would do the same for her. She’s the one I call when things go wrong, and she’s the person I want to celebrate with when things go right. We call each other when we need someone to listen, understand and take our side.

And last but definitely not least, my husband. He is incredibly smart, supportive, thoughtful and funny – and if he lives with me he has to be uber forgiving. He’s my muse, cheerleader, and safety net as well as my editor, psychologist, hero and best friend.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a singer and then an actress – specifically an actress on an American soap opera. From the age of about eight, I wanted to be a writer. But I thought my appalling spelling would prohibit me from achieving my dreams. Thank goodness for spell check!

Tell me something about the women in your life who have been an influence on you?

I have a heritage of awesome women in my family. I come from a long line of strong women: my grandma and her sister, my mom and her sister, and my sister. DARK PARTIES is a tribute to these women – in particular my Grandma Murray. She made me feel special. She spent lots of time with me. If you read DARK PARTIES, you’ll definitely notice a feminist theme. The women are the heroes and rebels.

I also had a long line of great female bosses. They demonstrated how to be a woman, wife, mother and leader.

Who is your favourite fictional character? And why?

I have many, many favourites. I love George Bailey from the movie IT’S A WONDDERFUL LIFE. It’s a silly, cheesy movie, but I’ve got to watch it every Christmas. I also love Atticus Finch from TO KILL A MOCKING BIRD. He’s heroic and human. These are both men who are quiet leaders in their communities. I think they remind me of my dad.

What were you like as a teenager and how did you cope with all the changes that occurred?

It’s funny. I just attended my 25th class reunion. I realised again that – although I enjoyed high school – I didn’t fall neatly into any particular clique. I was friends with everyone and no one. I was overweight so I firmly believed that I would never find a boyfriend let alone a husband. I knew that anything I wanted out of life I was going to have to get for myself. Sure, not attending my junior prom and waiting until the day after my seventeenth birthday to get my first kiss were difficult, but I always told myself that my day would come. And, I was right.

I wrote a lot of poetry – okay really bad poetry, but I found writing was a way to understand my feelings and cope with any teenage trauma.

If you had any advice for yourself as a teenager, what would you say?

It gets better. Have faith. Keep trying. Believe in yourself. And never, ever give up on your dreams.

Of the issues and concerns that women are faced with today, what's the area you most like reading/writing about?

I’m concerned that young women don’t dream big enough. I want young girls to read books and see movies and TV shows where woman are more than a sex object or victim. I crave more female heroes and leaders – not only in fiction but in real life. I am continually disappointed to see so many reality shows that focus on brainless, beautiful women whose main goals appear to be: shop, get a man and, well, be bitchy in general. I want to write and read about physically, emotionally and mentally strong women.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Just thanks for having me! (Oh, and DARK PARTIES will be published in the UK on 20th October.)

Thank you so much Sara for being here today! I love dystopic novels in general, but one that covers feminist themes and is a celebration of the awesome women in your own life makes me even more excited to read it. I look forward to it. Thank you again.


  1. Fantastic answers! Dark Parties sounds amazing!

  2. Great interview! I love your story about meeting your husband Sara :)

  3. Awesome interview! Dark Parties sounds amazing! Can't wait to read it!!

  4. Thank you so much Sara for taking part in this feature with me :) And for sharing that phot of your family! I really love the sound of Dark Parties and I look forward to reading it.


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