An Interview with Adi AlsaidToday I am very pleased to bring you an interview with Adi Alsaid, author of Let's Get Lost and the upcoming Never Always Sometimes!
Goodreads / Preorder: Amazon
Dave and Julia are best friends. On the brink of high school, they made a list of cliches they would never do. Now in their senior year, Dave and Julia decide to try every Never on the list. As they break out of their comfort zone and have many adventures- both together and apart- they learn a lot more about who they are and what their true feelings are for one another.
And now, drum roll please, on to the interview!
*PSA: My questions/butt-ins will be bolded, like so, and Adi's answers will be not-bolded, like so.*
Describe Never Always Sometimes in seven words or less.
Best friends cliché it up, discoveries ensue.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I like the idea of pantsing, I believe in letting a story happen organically, but that never works out for me, and I usually don’t finish anything I write that way. So I plot. Sometimes it’s more extensive, more detailed, more structured than others, but I usually have at least a couple of pages where I’ve thought out the plot in some way to guide me in my writing. Both LGL and NAS were outlined chapter-by-chapter, a paragraph or so for each to make sure I hit the beats I wanted to.
Your YA debut, Let’s Get Lost, came out not too long ago. What was the best piece of advice you received as a debut author?
“Do not attempt to lick ANY of the eight-foot spiders working in publishing.” I forget who said it. I think my mom, maybe?
Is the publishing process less scary now that you have a book out?
Definitely. I understand it better now, though not entirely, and I think most fear comes from not understanding something. There’s still uncertainty about the future, but that’s not specific to publishing, or any career path. The eight foot spiders, those are specific to publishing. But they’re much friendlier than you’d think, once you take the time to know them.
Do you write to music? If so, what did the playlist for NAS look like?
Always! I’m listening to the new Sufjan Stevens record as I write down my answers now. I vary differently in what I listen, from favorites to exploring new music on Spotify or via All Songs Considered, so it’s hard to remember exactly what I listened to throughout the writing. A few artists/songs that are mentioned in NAS are:
Neko Case, particularly the song That Teenage Feeling.
Find Love by Clem Snide.
Blister in the Sun by The Violent Femmes
The Mountain Goats
And, of course: Guns N’ Roses
Do you find yourself putting pieces of yourself or other people you know in your characters? Is there a character in particular that stands out to you?
Yes. Putting bits of myself in characters is impossible to avoid, since writing is my personal filter for how I see the world. I rarely just base a character entirely off people I know in real life, though. In NAS, main character Dave is loosely based on a good friend of mine. Dave borrowed my friend’s last name, and his build, and a certain nervous habit, but he’s not entirely like my friend. Elliot in LGL has cartoonish versions of my parents, and a penchant for shyness and unrequited love, like I did in high school.
Why did you decide you wanted to write YA contemporary? Do you see yourself branching out to other genres in the future?
It was because I started reading more and more YA, absolutely loving some books, and loving the concept/themes of some, but feeling like they were falling flat for me. I was already writing adult literary fiction at this point, and I wanted to see if I could lend my voice to the world of YA. I think the transition was easy because I’ve always been drawn to coming-of-age stories with a tinge of romance to them.
I want to see what else I can do within contemporary YA, how much I can stretch my imagination within the genre. I love magical realism and want to see/do more of it, like Leslye Walton did last year with her fabulous The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender. My ideal situation is to be Rainbow Rowell-esque and release both YA and adult titles. (Serena sidenote: Though I’m not a writer, I too aspire to be Rainbow Rowell-esque. She rocks.)
What can you tell us about future books/projects?
I’m still figuring out exactly what’s coming after Never Always Sometimes. But something is coming, as my problem right now is not a shortage of ideas, but how to avoid Twitter long enough to work on one of them long enough to finish it. (Serena sidenote: I actually LOLed here because I feel this struggle.) Speaking of Twitter, I’ll be participating in the Twitter Fiction Festival May 11-15 with a dystopian, comedic YA set in an IKEA in Ohio, told through the perspectives of characters stuck inside (including two teens), as well as the IKEA twitter account itself. Should be fun!
That sounds awesome! I'll definitely be checking that out. Big thanks to Adi for being here today! Don't forget to look out for Never Always Sometimes, coming August 4th, 2015 from Harlequin Teen.
About Adi Alsaid:
Adi Alsaid was born and raised in Mexico City, where he now lives after spending time in Israel, Las Vegas, and California. His debut, Let’s Get Lost, was nominated for YALSA’s 2015 Best Fiction for Young Adults. Never Always Sometimes releases August 4th. Visit Adi online at www.SomewhereOverTheSun.com, or follow him on Twitter: @AdiAlsaid.