We fell in love with LET’S GET LOST, so were dying to learn more about the guy who created Leila’s heart-warming, life-celebrating journey. Luckily, he was brave (crazy!) enough to agree to play 20 Questions with us! Read on to discover more about the wonderful world of Adi Alsaid…
(and click on the book cover for more on Let’s Get Lost!)
Welcome Adi! Let’s Get Lost is really five stories linked together by one character, Leila. Did one character speak to you first, or did they all start as short stories, eventually linked by Leila?
Let’s Get Lost started as Leila’s story, and it was her I envisioned first. When I started writing, though, it was Hudson that came to me first. I really enjoyed opening each section with a different character before Leila comes in. Each time, it does feel a little bit like a short story, because we jump into someone completely different than the character before, someone usually right in the middle of their own thing. But once Leila enters the picture I think it’s easy to link them all together.
Each character is strong and special in their own right. Is there one character you fell most in love with or poured more of your heart into while writing?
Don’t make me answer this question! It’s like picking a favorite child. I’m going to give the diplomatic answer. I love them all equally. Elliot’s section needed the fewest revisions, so maybe it was easier to love him. But a more difficult child is not loved any less.
OK, no favorite child question! So how about a scene in Let’s Get Lost that’s your favorite?
I loved the opening scenes to each character. The treasure hunt with Hudson and Leila, too. It was fun to write, and also challenging. I had to show Hudson’s love for his town, his ability to see beauty where others don’t, and how that’s what makes Leila interested in sticking around for the rest of the section, and how her interest in those treasures makes him want to keep pursuing.
You’re obviously a big fan (and well versed!) on food, music and travel and appreciating the the joy of life’s simple pleasures, like Hudson. Did you have any moments where food, a song or a place had a strong influence on what you writing, and can you share that with us?
Well, I’ve always been a big believer in celebratory ice cream, so that had to go in the book! But songs definitely had an influence too. The song “Really in Love” by Royal Headache seemed like exactly the kind of music that Bree and Leila would listen to in the car while on their adventures. My love of travel and experience road tripping showed up in small ways in the book. The trash bag secured to Leila’s shift stick shift. The postcards she sends. The feel of wind and music flurrying for control over who’s louder. How the mood inside a car can shift palpably even when nothing is said.
Oh my gosh…LOVE that! What’s YOUR best ever road trip destination to date?
My trip from Vegas to Seattle then down the entirety of the Western coastline was pretty fantastic.
That’s a spectular drive! When you’re roadtripping, what’s the one thing you can’t live without?
Food. In great quantities and varieties.
Do you have a favorite guilty pleasure junk food?
I don’t really care, as long as it has hot sauce on it!
Unlimited time, unlimited funds…your dream vacation destination is….
A trip around Europe with a Eurail pass.
Which character in Let’s Get Lost best represents you?
Elliot. He’s heart-broken and he pours out his heart to the girl he loves. When I was in high school, I specialized in unrequired love. I can definitely relate to him!
You’re a romantic! So then what’s your ideal date activity?
I’m a big fan of the coffee and conversation date. (Hey, we love coffee and conversation. wink. wink.)
Favorite sports team?
Author you would love to collaborate with is…
John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats. I know he’s technically not an author, but a songwriter, and there are a ton of authors I would love to collaborate with, but I’ve always wanted to be able to write lyrics and I can’t seem to. I’d love to hear my writing being sung, and I can’t think of anyone else who’s better at writing songs that are also stories.
Book you’re currently reading?
A Highly Unlikely Scenario by Rachel Cantor
What’s the last song you listened to on your iPod?
The Calculation by Regina Spektor
Your favorite song?
Impossible question to answer, but I’ll go with “No Children” by The Mountain Goats and then re-answer the question a million times in my head.
What’s your favorite quality/attribute in a girl?
Describe your book in 3 words.
Would it be cheating to say, Let’s GetLost?
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
Indubitably. It’s impossible to say without smiling.
New Years and birthdays. I can get behind any day where the basic celebration is simply, “Yay, we’re still alive!”
You’re thrown into a time machine with only seconds to think…where do you go?
I probably try to buy myself more time by sending myself to the moments right before I get in the time machine and then get myself stuck in a time loop where I keep going back to right before I get in the time machine without ever actually thinking of where I should go. But, if I somehow manage to think quickly, I’d probably go repeat one of the best meals of my life (mole feasting in Oaxaca, all-you-can-eat sushi spots in Vegas, Israeli street food, etc).
If you could spend a week in book it would be…
Bel Canto. That might be weird, since it’s about terrorists taking over a party, but it’s an absolutely enchanting world that Ann Patchett created, and I think it would be magical to spend a week among those characters.
The actor you wish would play you in the story of your life is….
Maybe casting directors would disagree with me, but I would love to see Nic Cage’s interpretation of my life.
The best thing about a road trip is……
With friends it’s the inside jokes. Solo it’s the opportunity to explore unencumbered.