Monday, October 24, 2011

Guest Post & Giveaway: Ink by SJ Davis

UFI welcomes SJ Davis Author of Ink. Thanks for Joining us!!

Writing INK and writing YA

When I started INK, I wanted to tell a story from the perspective of a Native American girl. As I started thinking about Sparrow (and I thought about her everywhere), her voice became very clear. I knew she felt awkward and less worthy. I knew she listened to alternative music and what type of clothes she wore. I knew how she walked and how she hung her head when she studied.  But I didn’t want to tell a story than imitated a young adult, I simply wanted to tell Sparrow’s story and express her pain and her strength, exactly how it floated in my brain.

Sparrow is tough. She’s broken in the beginning, she has lost her mother and she suddenly hears strange voices. The narrative also unfolds in a choppy way because that experience mirrors her life. I wanted the reader to figure out the story alongside Sparrow. I think as the reader progresses, it becomes apparent that the scariest voices in life are the voices created in our own minds.

    One of the reasons that I enjoy young adult novels is because they portray the “firsts” of many significant events. First loves, first loss, independence, and so on. There is just something about the firsts in life that amaze and enthrall me. It’s a period where we discover the cripplingly beautiful experience of love, sex, and the give-and-take of different kinds of partnerships. It’s a great time of experimentation and contact. Did I say contact? Never, ever underestimate the power of human physical contact. Because while you can talk and flirt and discuss things of importance with someone, that first touch of skin--a finger grazing a hand, a hand caressing the length of a neck--there is this feeling of experiencing that person in a completely different way. And that is something you never forget and never stop wanting.

    Is YA easier to write than “adult” fiction? Not really. In order to be any good at it, you have to be prepared to return to your early adult years and that is not for the faint of heart. You must move back, convincingly, to a time when your feelings were so exposed, raw, and easily crushed. You have to write with an open heart, ready to give and receive, because that is how teens are – full of expectation and hope. And that is a beautiful thing.


SJ Davis is the daughter of an ex-patriate British mother and a Southern Baptist ex- CIA father. As a child, she spoke in silly accents and recounted outlandish tales of fantasy over afternoon tea and to this day it remains her favorite activity. Born in Long Island, NY, she was raised in the suburbs of Washington DC and went to school for a very long time (University of Virginia and George Mason University), married an all-around wonderful man, had two kids (smart, funny, full of opinions), moved from Virginia to New Jersey to Philadelphia to Chicago, and began her writing career. She is a believer in fate, an avid tea drinker, a stiletto aficionado, Doc Marten worshipper, punk rock listener, and lover of flip flops and cardigans. She has a terrible sense of direction, loves gummy bears, and is a Johnny Depp fangirl.

Find Sarah and her books

September 1, 2011
“It’s a good day to die.”
My mother holds my arm fiercely.
“But as you grieve for me, listen for
the voices.
Then, you must get the ink.”

Sparrow stumbles between two worlds,  light and dark, love and hate, what is real and what is in her mind.

When her mother dies on the Reservation,  Sparrow’s world is shadowed with anger  and narrowed by pain. The voices arrive,  but are they real? And how can a tattoo  make her stronger?