Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Sarah Alderson Interview - Losing Lila

Photo Content from Sarah Alderson

Having spent most of her life in London, Sarah Alderson quit her job in the non profit sector in 2009 and took off on a round the world trip with her husband and princess-obsessed daughter on a mission to find a new place to call home. After several months in India, Singapore, Australia and the US, they settled in Bali where Sarah now spends her days writing by the pool and trying to machete open coconuts without severing a limb.

She finished her first novel, Hunting Lila, just before they left the UK, wrote the sequel on the beach in India and had signed a two book deal with Simon & Schuster by the time they had reached Bali.

A third book, Fated, about a teenage demon slayer, was published in January 2012.


Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?
No, not during my childhood. I didn’t discover writing until I was 30. After I finished Hunting Lila however, I knew there was nothing else I wanted to do but write.

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
Storytelling has been used since ancient times in every culture to pass down history, wisdom and traditions. I think people like to be transported beyond their own reality. We like to live vicariously. My daughter is 6 and most of her knowledge is gleaned from books. It helps her build empathy, seeing the world through others’ eyes.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
If you get sued don’t worry, it’ll be good publicity. (I’m not sure this is good advice, but it did make me laugh).

In your new book; Losing Lila, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it and why they should read your novel?
I’ve actually published three books since Losing Lila, and have another book coming out in August!

I write really, really fast. Losing Lila is the sequel to Hunting Lila. If you like action, delicious hot boys, kick ass girls, heart-stopping romance, with a little danger thrown in (and NO love triangles), then this is the book for you. I’ve been so lucky that the fans of Hunting Lila loved Losing Lila. I think because Lila grows up in it and starts to really come into her own. Plus the romance between her and Alex blossoms in special ways ;)

For those who are unfamiliar with Alex, how would you introduce him?
Well, Alex, how can words do justice? He was very much my dream man. My muse if you like was the actor Alex Skarsgard. I saw him in the brilliant Generation Kill and fell in love.

My Alex is 21 and a Lieutenant in the Marines. He’s intelligent, sensitive, intuitive, protective (without needing to be macho). He thinks strategically, has a lot of heart, and his first instinct is to protect Lila. I wanted my lead guy to not be the one with the special power (Lila is) but he does know how to shoot a gun and he is quite Bourne at times (the opening chase scene in the book, over the rooftops of Mexico City, is one I really want to see on film one day). Did I mention the ice-blue eyes and six pack also?

I was also very wary of creating a male lead who was over-protective or violent or controlling in any way. Hate those guys. What is it with girls falling for that?

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating Lila?
To trust my instincts and just write; to let the characters speak and act for themselves without forcing the plot.

Why do you feel you had to tell this story?
I was so involved with that set of characters, perhaps as it was my first novel. After I finished Hunting Lila, even before I had a publishing deal, I knew I had to keep writing, because their story wasn’t finished.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I would introduce Lila to Ren, who is the main character in my next book The Sound (out in August). Funnily enough, I will be writing a short story with them both in it! Ren doesn’t have any special powers, except funny one-liners, but I think the two of them would really get on.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
This year has been really busy. I published the two sequels to Fated earlier in the year (Severed and Shadowed) as well as a short story about Ryder & Amber (two characters from the Lila series) for World Book Day in March.

The Sound is out in August and I think it is my best yet. It’s set in Nantucket, a little island off the east coast of America, and it’s kind of Gossip Girl meets The Killing. I wanted to call it ‘How not to fall prey to serial killers, prepsters & bad boys’.

When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
Mummy, did you eat my chocolate?

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
Live your passion. If you don’t, you’re not really living. You’re just existing.

Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?
My husband. Or my best girl friend.

What’s your most missed memory?
The smell of bonfires and late autumn.

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?
The 1960s in New York please.

When was the last time you cried?
Yesterday I cried twice; once with laughter, watching The Thick of It (a BBC political satire), and once in the car driving my daughter to school. We were talking about the Second World War and the Battle of Britain. I love history and I grew up with my grandparents recounting stories of their lives during the Blitz. I feel a great responsibility to pass on this history to the next generation so they know that people died to allow them to live freely. It’s why I get mad when people don’t exercise their right to vote.

What is the one, single food that you would never give up?
Chocolate, sushi, coffee.

What are you most passionate about today?
Good question. If you mean today, today, then it would be about teaching young Balinese how to ride their motorbikes safely and what the point of a helmet is (I live in Bali and the driving standard here is awful – think 8 year olds driving motorbikes with chickens, dogs and five siblings hanging off the back). But in general, at this point in my life, my passion is for empowering girls around the world; I want every girl, no matter where she’s born, to have access to education and to be able to make informed choices. That’s my life goal.

Alex and Lila are on the run, desperately trying to stay one step ahead of the Unit, which is somehow tracking their every move. While Alex is determined to keep Lila safe and her ability secret at any cost, Lila's only thought is of finding a way back to California so she can rescue her brother and mother from the military base where they're being held. Struggling to control both her growing power and her deepening feelings for Alex, Lila decides the time has finally come to stop running and start fighting. Together with Alex, Demos, and the others she's come to think of as family, Lila plans not only to save her brother and mum, but also to completely destroy the Unit and everything it stands for. But the plan requires Lila to return to California alone, and to make friends with the enemy - and in doing so, she risks losing everything: Alex, her family… even her life.

The sequel to Sarah Alderson’s explosive Hunting Lila, briefly brings back Alex and Lila together before going on the run to escape the Unit. Lila cannot distance herself too far from the Unit as they have her mother and brother. With the Unit hot on their trails, she will have to learn and use her ability in an advantageous effort to rescue her family. She will quickly learn that bringing down the Unit is not going to be easy. The second installment, Losing Lila, will have Lila facing real danger as she jeopardies losing everything trying to rescue the people she loves.

Lila is definitely a YA heroine that carries many likable attributes. The character goes through a leap of growth in this book and finally takes control of her life instead of everyone safeguarding her. Her determination will have her risking everything, including her family and her relationship with Alex. The special bond she has with Alex is endearing and very emotive to read through.

Readers will find it easy to be enthralled back into the story. The adrenaline rush that Alderson had delivered is back at full force. The Unit seems to be indestructible but with the support of Alex, Lila finds reassurance that her ability will overcome it. Desperately trying to stay one step ahead of the Unit, Alderson provides the right measure of excitement and surprise waiting at every turn of the page. The writing style leads a nicely paced story that keeps every moment thrilling. The reunion of all these unforgettable characters is just one aspect that readers will enjoy. The ending is composed of a pleasant surprise and proves that with these two books, a third one will definitely be a book that many readers will look forward to.
You can purchase Losing Lila at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you SARAH ALDERSON for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Losing Lila by Sarah Alderson.


  1. Awesome giveaway and can't wait to read this book!

  2. FATED was amazing. An awesome read, one that I'd recommend to everyone who's a fan of young adult. It's one of those paranormal books that's more of a contemporary with a paranormal twist than a paranormal.