#BIR2011 – Dark Parties by Sara Grant: Guest Post

Posted December 12, 2011 by Stacey in Blog, Uncategorized / 4 Comments

Dark Parties is a favorite read that Stacey and I both agree on – it’s a dystopian, but it’s so realistic it’s scary. Sara Grant has written this fantastic stand alone that has a perfect ending but leaves you wanting to know more.  To learn more about Dark Parties stop by Sara’s website and you can also read our review here. With out further ado here is Sara Grant to tell us more about Dark Parties…

First thanks to Stacey and Amber at Page Turners for selecting Dark Parties as their ‘Best I’ve Read’ book. I am thrilled and flattered!

Now to respond to their questions….

The dark party plays a huge rule in the book; it sets up everything that is to come. Where did the idea for that event come from and how did you research it? And why did you choose that to be the catalyst for the other rebellion that is to come in the book?

For those who haven’t read Dark Parties a little background. My book is set in Homeland, an isolated nation ruled by fear, lies and xenophobia. Hundreds of years ago, this country constructed an electrified dome to protect itself from the outside world. Because of a limited gene pool, its citizens are growing to look more and more alike. They don’t look identical but have a family resemblance. Neva, my main character, explains it like this: “I see myself around every corner — every minute — like living in a maze of mirrors.”

I considered how teens might rebel against such uniformity. Having a party in the pitch black would strip away everything visual and allow them to experience each other without the burden of sight. There’s something liberating, disorienting and exhilarating about complete and utter darkness. The thrill and fear of the situation seemed the perfect opening for my story.

When I was writing Dark Parties, I tried to experience total darkness. But when you live in an apartment in a big city like London, you are never truly in the dark. I rarely see stars because of the ambient city illumination. Curtains and blinds only block out so much light. And then there’s the glow of clocks and the standby lights on electronic gadgets.

I finally achieved pitch black when I took a vacation in Scotland near Loch Ness. I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t see my hand when I waved it in front of my face. I tried to find the bathroom and got totally turned around. When it’s that dark, your eyes strain to see something, anything. The darkness seems to have substance.

I’ve also had the chance to experience a dark party. When I signed my book deal with Little, Brown, my friends arranged a dinner party for me at Dans Le Noir, a London restaurant that boasts a pitch black dining room. I went with my husband, agent and a few friends. It was a very ‘enlightening’ experience. The waiters at the restaurant are blind. They lead you to your table in a line with your hand on the shoulder of the person in front of you. When the person in front of me stopped suddenly, we were detached from the rest of our group. I realized I had no idea exactly where I was or how to exit. We just stood there, completely helpless, and waited for our waiter to find us.

It was amazing how much the lack of visual cues effected our conversation and dining experience. Discussions dwindled. You couldn’t see if someone was preparing to speak or rolling their eyes or smiling. You didn’t know exactly what you were eating, and finding your water glass and utensils wasn’t always easy. It was an interesting evening. I actually revised a few scenes in the novel based on this experience.

The dark party in chapter one is the catalyst for everything that comes next. My characters are ‘in the dark’ about so much that is happening in their society. I liked the symmetry of creating a story that starts in the dark and ends in the light – both literally and figuratively.

Thanks again for selecting Dark Parties!


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4 responses to “#BIR2011 – Dark Parties by Sara Grant: Guest Post

  1. Another one I haven't heard of, but sounds like I would really enjoy reading. I couldn't find this one on goodreads to add to my tbr list, but I'll be checking the library. Love the description of the dining experience!

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