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August 26, 2011

Sara Grant asks: Who do you think you are?

Posted by Anonymous

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Sara Grant is the debut author of DARK PARTIES, about a 16-year old girl named Neva born and raised under in an isolated nation ruled by lies and xenophobia. Neva sports a tattoo to express her individuality within this land of sameness. Here, Sara dishes on the symbols she herself might choose, from a megaphone to a UK flag. 

My debut young adult novel DARK PARTIES chronicles a country that has closed itself off under an electrified dome. For hundreds of years, no one and nothing has penetrated this barrier. The citizens of Homeland are growing to look more and more alike.

The rebels in my book create identity marks to express their individuality. My main character Neva has a snowflake tattoo. She distils her friends into the identity marks they have created for themselves. Her best friend Sanna carves an S on her cheek to create a scar. Sanna’s boyfriend always wears red, pointy-toed boots.

While writing DARK PARTIES, I often wondered what identity mark I’d create for myself. I never came up with a concise answer. I think that’s because, like the characters learn in DARK PARTIES, people are more complex than a symbol can ever convey.

But if I had to pick, maybe I’d choose...

A snowflake – I might copy Neva’s identity mark. I love snow. I miss it now that I live in London, where it doesn’t snow very often. But more importantly it symbolizes originality. In high school, I had a pin that said: Why be normal? If I could find it, I’d proudly wear it today.

Peace symbol – I’m not a fan of conflict --- not at the global level or at a personal level. Unless someone’s in immediate danger, I don’t believe there’s any reason to raise your voice. (I’m originally from Indiana so I should add one exception: unless you are cheering for your basketball team.) My father always said, “If you raise your voice, you lose.” I endeavor to keep my cool and work for a peaceful resolution.

Megaphone – No, I wasn’t a cheerleader. But it’s the best image I could come up with to represent enthusiasm. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” I whole-heartedly agree. I may not be the best or the brightest, but I’m hard working and try to live my life with zeal.

US and UK flags – Seven years ago I moved to London, England, from Indianapolis, Indiana. This life change was the catalyst for DARK PARTIES. I’m now a unique blend of both the US and UK and wonder if it makes me misunderstood on both sides of the Atlantic.

Star – Okay, maybe a bit cliché, but my parents always told me the sky’s the limit. I could achieve any dream with sacrifice, hard work and tenacity. I worked for seventeen years to achieve my dream of publication. It was about trying, failing, learning from my mistakes, and trying again. And I know it’s a never-ending process.

Book – Yeah, this is a simple one. I love reading them and writing them.

Unlike Neva, none of these symbols are tattooed anywhere on my body. I could never pick just one and to choose them all would make my body resemble a page from a children’s coloring book. (I am also concerned about how any of these images would morph as my body aged. Will a wrinkly, flabby snowflake have the same appeal? Don’t think so.)

I suppose I believe that what makes me unique has little to do with some arbitrary mark I create for myself. Actions speak louder than words or clothes or tattoos. I would like to think my “identity mark” would be something like loyalty, reliability, and enthusiasm --- not the most compelling combination, I realize. But I would hope it would be the words my friends, family and co-workers would use to describe me.

So who do you think you are? What identity mark best represents you? Tell me about it on my web site [http://www.sara-grant.com/discussions/]

Oh, and DARK PARTIES is available now!