NAW Interview with Adi Alsaid

Adi Alsaid

Adi Alsaid is the author of Let’s Get Lost, coming from Harlequin Teen and Alloy Entertainment in August 2014. He was born and raised in Mexico City. He attended college at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He writes, coaches high school and elementary basketball.  

NAW-Tell us about your book, Let’s Get Lost. What is it about? How did you get the idea for it?

Let’s Get Lost is five coming-of-age stories linked by a mysterious girl named Leila. She’s on a road trip from Louisiana to Alaska to go see the Northern Lights, but you only get to see her through the characters she meets along the way. It’s told in five different perspectives; four teens across the U.S and Canada that Leila runs into on her journey, and then Leila’s own perspective at the end.

It’s hard to point at exactly what inspired the novel, since it aims to be about more than just one thing. Yes, it’s a road trip story partially inspired by some of my own travels, but it’s also more than that, since each teen she meets throughout the novel is going through their own thing.

NAW- Tell us about the character of Leila. How did you develop the character? Did you borrow from your own life experiences?

I didn’t borrow from my life experiences for Leila’s general story, just some of the details (her knack for putting her feet up on the dashboard and smudging the windshield with her toes, for example, came from an ex-girlfriend). I won’t give too much away about Leila herself, because part of what drives the novel is the mystery surrounding who she is and why she’s on this trip, but I will say that it was interesting to develop her. I started the book writing from Hudson’s perspective, and every time I switched characters, I got to know Leila more and more, too. I learned about her throughout the progression of the story, much like readers slowly see new bits and pieces of her.

NAW- How difficult (or easy) was it getting published? Tell us about your publishing journey?

I’m incredibly lucky to have been published at the stage/age I am now. Yes, there were a few years of rejection letters and obscurity and all that, but fewer than many people have to toil through. I was lucky to meet my editor at Alloy Entertainment while in New York visiting BEA (Book Expo America) as an unpublished writer. I was at a Young to Publishing party that an ex-girlfriend (different one!) had invited me to, and that connection helped, a year and a half or so later, land me a book deal.

Lets get lost book cover

NAW- What made you pursue a career in writing? Unlike other authors, you have made the decision quite early in life, were you hesitant initially considering most writers have to struggle a lot to see their work published?

The funny story here is that I tried to pursue a career in business first. I think many people want to pursue their dreams and then out of necessity have to fall back on a different line of work. I studied Marketing hoping for a day job, with only the vaguest notion that I might someday save up money to be able to pursue my dream of writing. When, partially thanks to a tricky student visa, no one in the U.S wanted to hire me, I decided to pack up my apartment into my car, drive to the coast of California and started writing.

NAW- Tell us about yourself. What do you do when you are not writing?

As I hinted at before, and as my Instagram followers possibly know (and hate me for), I like traveling, cooking, and eating. I’m a huge movie fan, too. The last few years I’ve also been coaching elementary and high school basketball in my hometown of Mexico City.

NAW- Who are your favourite writers?

Tough question, and the answer changes every time someone asks me. This time I’ll say: Ann Patchett, Kurt Vonnegut, John Darnielle, Jennifer Egan,
and EtgarKeret.

NAW- How do you write, planning the complete plot beforehand or do you let the book take its course? Take us through your writing process.

I like the idea of just letting the book take its course, but I’ve never actually written a book that way. Every time I outline and plot there’s a book waiting at the other end, and so I’ve learned to plan ahead. Outlining is architecture, writing is interior design.

NAW-What are you currently reading?

I just finished Vicious by V.E Schwab and am about to start the upcoming release Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang.

NAW- What will you be working on next?

I’m working on rewrites for my next book, which is another contemporary YA with multiple perspectives. I like being secretive in the early drafts so that’s about all I’ll say for now, but stay tuned to my Twitter (@AdiAlsaid), Facebook, and my blog to find out more soon.

Thanks for having me!

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