Never Give Up! – Advice for Writers and Rebels

Guest Author: Sara Grant

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I wrote my first story when I was eight yearssara grant author photo old. But I never thought I could be a published author because all through my pre-college years my creative writing assignments were returned looking like studies in blood spatter. Back then, I couldn’t spell, and my grammar and punctuation weren’t so hot either. (This was in the dark ages before spell check.) My teachers’ red pens corrected my errors. They graded my technical faults, not my enthusiasm nor my creativity.

Once I graduated high school, my parents encouraged me to study for a ‘real job’. Instead of focusing on creative writing, I earned bachelor’s degrees in journalism and psychology. I worked for seventeen years in public relations. I would wake up early and spend many weekends secretly writing. I attended workshops, joined writers group and kept improving – and collected lovely rejection letters for my efforts. My passion for writing never dwindled. Each rejection only made me more determined.

Dark PartiesTen years ago, I moved to London, England, I went back to school and earned a master’s in creative and life writing from Goldsmiths University. That was the turning point. I changed careers and became an editor at a company that creates series fiction for children. I have worked on twelve different series and edited nearly 100 books, which were published around the world, but none of them had my name on the spine. My work was strictly behind the scenes.

I never stopped writing, reading, experimenting and learning. And then came DARK PARTIES. It started as a short story. As so many stories do, it grabbed hold and demanded to be written. I got an agent and ultimately book deals in multiple countries. I remember the moment I learned I was going to be published. My agent sent me an email that said Little, Brown was going to make an offer. I couldn’t believe it. I forwarded the email to my husband because I needed him to confirm that I wasn’t dreaming. The email actually said I was going to be published at long last.

Dark Parties follows sixteen-year-old Neva, who 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 decide to start an underground rebellion. Neva uncovers secrets that threaten to destroy her friends, her family and her country – and discovers the horrifying truth about what happens to The Missing…

It’s no wonder my debut novel Dark Parties is about a girl who sees injustice and tries and fails and dusts herself off and continues with her rebellion. Tenacity. It’s what makes a good heroine and also a good writer.

 About Sara Grant

Sara writes books for both children and teens. DARK PARTIES, her first young adult novel, won the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award for Europe. Her next novel for teens – HALF LIVES – is a story told in two voices from a pre- and post-apocalyptic time. She also writes a new funny magical series for young readers – MAGIC TRIX, which is published in the UK. Sara lives in London where she divides her time between talking about writing to school children and adult writers and writing her own books. Find out more about Sara at


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