On Day 4, Sara Grant participates in our festive Q & A.
Sara Grant writes fantastic stories for children and young adults. Her Magic Trix series is aimed at younger readers, with Chasing Danger being her latest novel for teens. Sara has worked as an editor, is a lecturer at Goldsmiths, has co-created projects to help writers get published and regularly blogs about books. She was born and raised in Washington, Indiana, graduating from Indiana University with degrees in journalism and psychology. Sara later earned a master’s degree in creative and life writing at Goldsmiths. She lives in London and writes full-time.
Name three things on your Christmas list this year! Lots of books, of course! Tickets to see Hamilton the musical. And spending time with my mother, who will travel from the US to spend Christmas with me in London.
Christmas is a time of family traditions – what are your best (or worst!) family traditions? We’ve got a bit of a wacky New Year’s tradition. On New Year’s Eve, if you are in any way, shape, or form related to someone with the last name Murray (my maiden name)…you calculate…you strategize…and you endeavour to be the first to ask ‘the riddle’ – a riddle that has been handed down through the generations and that can only be delivered on the last day of the year. It may seem strange, but it has become a beloved family ritual. I can guarantee I will speak to every member of my family on the last day of the year. The question leads to conversation. I’m not sure if it’s what my grandma intended. Or maybe it was her grandfather who started the tradition. No one knows for sure how it all began. But it keeps a scattered and growing family connected on one day each year. So what’s the riddle: Have you seen the man walking around with as many noses as there are days left in the year?
(What an amazing tradition…I don’t think I can possibly work out the answer!)
What is your favourite story to read at Christmas? There’s not one book I gravitate to again and again. Instead I like to pick a new holiday-themed book to read at Christmas. I met Rachel Cohn and David Levithan at this year’s Cheltenham Literary Festival so I have my signed copy of The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily all ready to read at the holidays!
If you could have Christmas dinner with anyone (alive today or person from history) who would it be? My dad. He passed away in 2014. He was a great man. He served in WWII. He had a song for everything. He was the most positive person I’ve ever met. Even when diagnosed with cancer, he told me it was ‘only a little bit of cancer’ so I wouldn’t worry. He always made the holidays special. I would love to share Christmas dinner with him again.
You have said that you like to use your fantastic Magic Trix series to encourage children to think of others and, like Trix, act as a fairy godmother by performing random acts of kindness. What random acts random acts of kindness would Trix do at Christmas time? I imagine she’d hand-make her very own holiday cards, using lots of glue and glitter –she’d probably ending up with more glitter on her than on the card. She’d personally deliver her special holiday cards and visit with people who might be sad at Christmas time.
Your novel Chasing Danger has been described as an explosive action adventure! At Christmas what do you find is the best way to take a break from the action and relax?! Thankfully my life is not as full of peril as my main character Chase’s life. No pirates, or vicious eels, shark attacks or dead bodies in blocks of ice. I like to relax with a bubble bath and a good book!
Reader’s question from Jamie, Age 11, Great Walstead School: why did you decide to have a female heroine in Chasing Danger? Thanks for your question, Jamie. When I was a young girl, there weren’t many action stories where girls were the heroes. It’s important to me to give girls great role models – smart, feisty and athletic girls who can catch the baddies. There are too many books, movies, TV shows and video games that portray girls as damsels in distress. I’ve never been that kind of girl – and I know a lot of girls and women like me.
(Chasing Danger reminds me a little of Nancy Drew, but with more edge! I loved the fact that the heroine was a girl!)
Turkey or goose? Turkey! I love it on Christmas day, but I love the turkey sandwich later that night or the next day even more!
Real or fake tree? Fake. No pine needles or mess.
Mince pies or Christmas pudding? No contest – mince pies!
Stockings – end of the bed or over the fireplace? Over the fireplace, if I had one, which I never have. So we’ve always lined up stockings on the couch.
Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve? Christmas Eve. It’s my tradition to go to a show in the West End on Christmas Eve. I love the theatre so the tickets are one of my Christmas presents. I’ve never seen a pantomime so I’m taking my mom to a pantomime this year. Oh, no you’re not! Oh, yes, I am!
(I couldn’t agree more about turkey sandwiches!!)
Thank you for participating and have a Happy Christmas!