Now, I present to you the author of one of my MOST anticipated dystopian reads this year, Sara Grant with her book, Dark Parties
When I finished the first draft of DARK PARTIES in 2009, I had an agent tell me that she didn’t think dystopian novels would sell. How times and tastes have changed. I recently heard someone call ‘dystopia’ the new ‘paranormal romance’ of young adult fiction.
Since DARK PARTIES isn’t available until August, here’s a quick teaser:
Sixteen-year-old Neva was born and raised in an isolated nation ruled by fear, lies and xenophobia. Hundreds of years ago, her country constructed an electrified dome to protect itself from the outside world. What once might have protected now imprisons. Her country is decaying and its citizens are dying. Neva and her friends dream of freedom. A forbidden party leads to complications. Suddenly Neva’s falling for her best friend’s boyfriend, uncovering secrets that threaten to destroy her friends, her family and her country – and discovering the horrifying truth about what happens to The Missing...
I’ve watched with great interest the rise in popularity of dystopian fiction. I’ve counted at least seven dystopian young adult novels from debut authors in 2011. There’s definitely something in the zeitgeist. I’m sure someone out there with a Ph.D. can hypothesize about the current social and political climate that predisposes writers and readers to dystopian fiction. And maybe there’s another doctor-type who can explain something about a teenager’s brain chemistry that makes them particularly susceptible to dark, futuristic tales.
But the reason I write dystopian fiction for young adults is far less lofty and scientific. I love the freedom – not only the freedom to imagine the future and make the rules, but also the freedom that I can afford my teen protagonist. Teenagers can save the world with action and adventure.
Dystopian novels also allow readers and writers the freedom to explore themes in a way most contemporary teen fiction can’t. You can illuminate a particular aspect of society or human nature and whittle away the parts of the real world that don’t serve your story.
The idea for DARK PARTIES came shortly after I moved from Indianapolis, Indiana, to London, England. Debates on immigration were raging on both sides of the Atlantic – and still are. What does it mean to be American or British? How ‘open’ should countries’ borders be? I wanted to explore issues of national and personal identity so I created a country that had literally closed itself off from the rest of the world.
Another benefit of writing dystopian fiction is the ease with which it can cross borders and appeal to readers around the world. I intentionally didn’t identify the country in DARK PARTIES. In my mind, it’s a mixture of my two homelands – the US and UK, but it could also easily represent other countries. DARK PARTIES has sold to the US, UK, Germany, Poland and China.
Now I’m completely hooked on dystopian fiction. I not only read every dystopian novel I can get my hands on but I’m already neck deep in writing another dark futurist tale – which will be published in 2012. So stay tuned for HALF LIVES – a race against time and a 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 Grant’s debut dystopian YA novel, titled DARK PARTIES, will be published by Little, Brown in August 2011. To find out more about Sara, visit her web site at www.sara-grant.com
Thank you, Sara for that wonderful post! I'm looking forward to reading Dark Parties and it's really great to know that her other book, Half Lives is just around the corner and will be published soon!
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ENDS May 29, 2011
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