Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Mila Gray Author Interview

Photo Content from Mila Gray

Mila Gray is the pseudonym for Sarah Alderson. Having spent most of her life in London, Sarah quit her job in the nonprofit sector in 2009 and took off on an around the world trip with her husband and princess-obsessed daughter on a mission to find a new place to call home. They are currently located somewhere between India, London, Canada, and the US. Sarah is the author of several YA novels, including Out of Control, The Sound, Hunting Lila, and its sequel Losing Lila, plus the paranormal trilogy Fated, Severed, and Shadowed—all published by Simon & Schuster UK.


What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
Becky Wicks is one of my best friends and we’ve had each other’s backs and been each other’s cheerleader for years. She will always tell me to keep on keeping on and she’s so relentlessly positive all the time it’s infectious. We’ve both had successes but we’ve also both had a lot of failures and I think having someone else constantly helping you get back on your feet and reminding you to keep striving when you hit a pothole in the road has made all the difference between quitting and not quitting.

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
Do you follow Humans of New York on Facebook? This guy takes random portraits of strangers in New York and manages to always coax the most wonderful stories and wisdom out of his subjects. It shows that every single person on the planet has a unique and incredible story. The project for me is all about empathy.

To a degree Pantsuit Nation the FB group that began just before the election is striving to do similar; To use the power of story telling to inspire. Anything that helps create empathy between people, that makes us realize that we are all more similar than we are different, that empowers people to know they are not alone and to question themselves and the judgements they make, is a powerful tool, and especially in this day and age where the media and those in power seek to divide, anything that brings people together and makes them more empathetic to others, is a great thing.

Love, grief, loss, tragedy, pain, betrayal, trust – these are constant themes in stories and they help us understand ourselves better. Stories teach, inspire and can even give us clarity on who we are (or who we want to be) and also give us courage to be that person.

Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre?
That’s an impossible question to answer. I have so many favorite books. The book that has had the most profound impact on me was ‘If This Is A Man’ by Primo Levi. This year I also devoured A Little Life.

In your book; COME BACK TO ME, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it?
Come Back to Me is about a girl called Jessa who is in love with her brother’s friend Kit but both Kit and her brother are Marines. Home on leave Jessa and Kit start a relationship and fall in love. They have to keep it secret from Jessa’s Colonel Father who suffers from PTSD and who, for some reason, hates Kit.

We know from the very start that either Jessa’s brother or Kit has died and then we flash backwards. The story catches up with itself about two thirds of the way through and the final third is very heartbreaking but is about Jessa coming to terms with her grief and finding a way to live her life the way she wants and to follow her dreams.

I’ve written ten books (I write under Mila Gray and also as Sarah Alderson) and this book has hands down been the bestseller. I think people really connect with the heartbreak and the intensity of the love. It’s a rollercoaster ride! I’m also good at writing steamy sex I’ve been told. That might have something to do with the word of mouth reviews!

For those who are unfamiliar with Kit, how would you introduce him?
He’s gorgeous, sweet, sensitive, daring, courageous and, as the younger brother of three older sisters, he’s been well trained in how to treat women. He’s also a phenomenal cook. With an amazing body. Dream man anybody?

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I would introduce Jessa to Lila from my Hunting Lila series. Both books are set in Southern California where I live and both characters are in love with their brother’s best friend. But Lila (apart from having mind control powers) is much more impulsive and follows her heart with no regard for consequences. She would teach Jessa to be bolder and braver about going after what she wants!

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating Jessa?
I did a lot of research into PTSD and what it was like to be a child of someone who is in the military. It’s incredibly hard and very stressful and I don’t think people outside of that world often get an insight into what it is like to live with that level of fear and worry every day. The impact of war and disability and death is huge and terrible and not something we should ever forget.

Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?
A couple of hours ago someone drove into my car. It would have been worse but I managed to steer myself out of the way so it wasn’t a head on collision, just a prang. But after that I went home and called my dad in the UK.

Otherwise I call my girlfriends and tell them it’s wine o’clock. I have lived in London, Bali and California and am so fortunate that in each place I have a posse of friends I can reach out to for love and laughter when I need. I didn’t make great girlfriends until I was in my twenties, but I’ve been making up for it since!

What's the most memorable summer job you've ever had?
I nannied in Nantucket when I was 17. It was AMAZING. I stayed in a beautiful house. I biked around the island and went to parties on the beach and met a cute boy or two, and generally did more socializing than actual babysitting. I didn’t know it at the time but 17 years later I would use the experience as the basis for my book THE SOUND.

That book, about an English nanny in Nantucket, who gets caught up in a conspiracy between a local bad boy and the rich private school kids who summer there, is in development as a TV show. It’s a cross between The Killing and Gossip Girl.

Tell me about your first kiss
Urgh. It was awful. Awful. Awful. I’d rather not think about it.

What would be harder for you, to tell someone you love them or that you do not love them back?
Neither really. I’m very loving. I’m always telling my friends I love them. But I’m also famed for my honesty and bluntness so I wouldn’t feel bad telling someone I don’t love them back. But I’ve been married forever so it’s not something I have to think about any more.

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?
I’m quite a fan of the 90s which is when I was a teenager. We didn’t have the internet so life was so much easier in respect of social media and online bullying but I think we tend to look back with rose tinted glasses. Heroin Chic and Grunge... I’d rather forget that.

There is still inequality between genders, and if you are LGBTQ+ or a person of color, then there’s even greater inequality to deal with on a daily basis. We still have so much progress to make, but I also believe that it is better than it was, so you know, maybe I’d choose to be a teenager now.

Teenagers today seem so much more empathetic and switched on to global issues, and way less selfish. They are also far more accepting of others and of difference. That gives me hope because I think my generation and the generation above have royally screwed things up and we should just hand over to the next generation now and let them take over.

What is the one, single food that you would never give up?

In this heart-wrenching tale of love and loss, a young Marine and his best friend’s sister plunge into a forbidden love affair while he’s home on leave.

When a Marine Chaplain knocks on her door, Jessa’s heart breaks—someone she loves is dead. Killed in action, but is it Riley or Kit? Her brother or her boyfriend…

Three months earlier, Marine Kit Ryan finds himself back home on leave and dangerously drawn to his best friend Riley’s sister, Jessa—the one girl he can’t have. Exhausted from fighting his feelings, Kit finally gives in, and Jessa isn’t strong enough to resist diving headfirst into a passionate relationship.

But what was just supposed to be a summer romance develops into something far greater than either of them expected. Jessa’s finally found the man of her dreams and Kit’s finally discovered there’s someone he’d sacrifice everything for.

When it’s time for Kit to redeploy, neither one is ready to say goodbye. Jessa vows to wait for him and Kit promises to come home to her. No matter what.

But as Jessa stands waiting for the Marine Chaplain to break her heart, she can’t help but feel that Kit has broken his promise…

Riley or Kit? Kit or Riley? Her brother or her boyfriend? Who’s coming home to her?

You can purchase Come Back to Me at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you MILA GRAY for making this giveaway possible.
3 Winners will receive a Copy of Come Back to Me (Come Back to Me #1) by Mila Gray


  1. My first love was love at first sight and unfortunately resulted in a long-distance relationship. The distance (he was Canadian and I'm US) became too much and it was really difficult to let it go.

  2. Oh my he was in the Navy and lived far away. My parents loved him. :D