Today on Dewey Girl we’re talking to Sara Grant author of middle grade action series Chasing Danger. Sara is going to be appearing at the UK Young Adult and Children’s Extravaganza at Newcastle City Library between 10am and 5pm. Tickets for the event are just £5 for the whole day and are still available from the Seven Stories website.
Dewey: Hi Sara thanks for joining us here at Dewey Girl. For those who are reading this who perhaps aren’t familiar with you and your work, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your books?
Sara: Thanks for inviting me on your blog as part of the upcoming UKYA and Children’s Extravaganza!
First and foremost I’m a book lover. I love everything about creating, reading, discussing and spreading the love for books. I’ve written or edited nearly 100 books for children/teens. My newest book – Chasing Danger – is the first in an action-adventure series for tweens. I’ve created it as a modern-day Charlie’s Angels with teens who must save the day when things so horribly wrong in exotic locations.
I teach Goldsmiths University’s master’s class on writing for children/teens. I co-created Undiscovered Voices – which has launched the writing careers of thirty-two authors. (www.undiscoveredvoices.com) I love visiting schools, interacting with students of all ages and sharing my passion for writing and reading.
I also lead writing workshops for adults in the US, UK and Europe as part of Book Bound (www.bookboundretreat.com). And I’m a founding member of The Edge, a team of eight UK-based authors who share a blog and a passion for edgy fiction (http://edgeauthors.blogspot.co.uk/). We’ve just published our first collection of short stories titled Stories from the Edge.
Dewey: Have you always wanted to be a writer or did a younger Sara have other ideas?
Sara: I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I remember writing my first story when I was eight years old. It wasn’t a great literary masterpiece. My spelling and grammar were atrocious, but since then I’ve always written poems and stories.
And sure, at one point I wanted to be an actress. I love the theatre and had great dreams of Broadway. I was a theatre major for one semester in college, but that whole lack-of-genuine-acting ability sort of got in the way.
Dewey: As a writer are there any things that you do before or during your process that you do every time that you sit down to write?
Sara: I try really hard not to be precious about my writing. I’m lucky that I love what I do. I don’t have any rituals. I write whenever and wherever I can. I love that I can do my job anywhere. I can scribble ideas in a notebook in bed at 3 a.m. or take my iPad to the beach on a sunny afternoon.
Dewey: Chasing Danger is an action/mystery/thriller. Is this genre a particular favourite of yours and if so, what books or films in these categories would you recommend to readers?
Sara: I’ve always wanted to write this genre. I was influenced by the 1970s TV show Charlie’s Angels and Agatha Christie at a young age. I’m having a blast writing Chasing Danger. It’s exactly the type of book that I’ve always enjoyed.
As far as recommendations, that would be a huge list. I’ll give a few of my favourites:
- Anything by Agatha Christie.
- I’m a sucker for British TV mysteries from Endeavour to Vera to Midsomer Murders.
- My favourite TV show of all time is Castle.
- Love the first Die Hard movie.
For tweens, I adore Robin Stevens’ Wong and Wells mysteries and Lauren Child’ Ruby Redfort series.
Dewey: Chasing Danger is set on the Maldives, can you tell us what inspired you to set the story there?
Sara: I visited the Maldives a few years ago. This beautiful and secluded location offered the perfect setting for action and adventure. I started dreaming up the story line for the first Chasing Danger then. Yeah, I know, most people go on holiday to sight-see or relax, but I find that unplugging on holiday is a great opportunity to imagine new adventures.
And I’ve just finished the second book in the series – Mystery at the Ice Hotel (out in October from Scholastic). While on holiday at an amazing winter wonderland, I was brainstorming action and adventure for my main characters Chase and Mackenzie, which includes runaway dogsleds, snowmobile chases, ice daggers and dead bodies in blocks of ice.
Dewey: Chase and Mackenzie, the butt kicking heroines of Chasing Danger are a real challenge to society’s perception of young women.
Did you go in with the intention of transcending female stereotypes or was the development of these characters more organic in nature? And how important do you think it is to represent young women more diversely, particularly in teen fiction?
Sara: All my stories have strong females at the heart. There are no damsels in need of rescuing in my books. My leading girl characters find themselves in difficult situations, but they definitely save themselves. It’s also incredibly important to show diverse cultures, abilities, interests, shapes, sizes etc. Too often girls are portrayed in one-size-fits-all way. I’ve never been that girl so I won’t write about her.
Dewey: Speaking of female heroes, are there any real life heroines out there that inspire you or that you particularly admire? Share the love and give them a shout out here!
Sara: I’m lucky that I’ve been surrounded by strong, independent women: my grandmothers, my mom, my sister, my nieces, my step-daughter, step-daughters-in-law, my mother-in-law, my agent, my editors, teachers, bosses, and friends. I admire girls and women who are brave enough to strive to be whatever they want to be – whether that’s an astronaut, writer, mother, CEO, tech guru, doctor, personal assistant, construction worker…
Dewey: Finally, can you tell us anything about what you might be working on right now?
Sara: I’m working on the next Chasing Danger. Another exotic location mixed with mystery and mayhem!
In the spirit of book blogging, Sara has also been kind enough to send over a picture of her TBR pile. We hope that this is to see you through to Christmas, Sara- it’s HUGE!
About Chasing Danger
“I couldn’t shake the feeling that this vacation might actually kill me.”
When fourteen-year- old Chase Armstrong is sent to visit her grandmother at a remote tropical resort, she’s looking forward to sunbathing, swimming and snorkelling. The last thing she expects is danger. But she’s in for some surprises.
She discovers another girl hiding out on the island and uncovers a devastating secret about the mum she’s never known. When modern-day pirates attack the island, it’s up to Chase to outrun, out-think and outfight the pirates . . . before it’s too late!
Mystery at the Ice Hotel the second book in the Chasing Danger series will be available on October 6th.
Next up on the Tour is Emma Trevayne at http://daydreamersthoughts.co.uk/