Back in July his debut novel was published, last month we featured a competition to win a copy of his novel and today we are privileged to interview Adi Alsaid, author of Let’s Get Lost which is set to become one of this year’s best-selling novels from a new writer.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
Like hunger, or wanderlust, I can’t suppress the desire to write. It happens whether I want to or not, often spilling out of me into napkins or onto the screen of a cell phone when I am out supposedly doing other things. If no one in the world wanted to pay me a dime to do it, or if no one in the world had any interest in reading a word of what I wrote, I would still be writing.
I see the world through language. What it means to be alive, in my opinion, is best expressed through stories. To get to do something you can’t help but do, something you see as crucial and intricately tied to who you are, to get to do that for a living, is, well, to put it lightly, ideal.
When and why did you begin writing?
Before the desire to write took over me, I discovered it in a homework assignment. It was the sixth grade and I had an assignment to write sentences incorporating a list of vocabulary words. I don’t remember the sentence itself or the word that spawned it, but it was typical of a sixth grade boy. A sniper rifle and guts were involved. I remember thinking, hey, that was kind of cool.
I’ve been writing ever since.
What is the hardest thing about being a writer?
You have to learn to juggle solitude to give yourself time to write, while also being social to a) stay sane and b) gather more material. You have to keep a brief but sure-handed touch on your doubts that you’re not good enough, because they’ll feed you to get better. Your ego you have to keep in check, so that you don’t ever start thinking you don’t have to get better (and also so that you can still have friends). You have to learn to handle criticism, understanding that people have different tastes, that readers can have different interpretations of your writing, while knowing that certain criticism can make a story and your writing better. You have to juggle actual writing time with revising time, reading time, social media and self-promotion time. Requests from bloggers, requests from the publisher, a request from one particular reader. Juggle stories: the one you already finished writing and are now promoting, the one you’re still working on, the one(s) you want to write.
You need to keep your hand on everything, even if briefly.
What inspires you to write?
The easy answer here is everything. No, I’m not constantly inspired by everything at all time, but inspiration can come from anywhere, at any time. An old woman’s feet at a wedding. Sweet potato fries. A berry I can’t recognize, a thought I wake up to. Life, basically.
What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
Not to sound like I have a corporate sponsor, or anything, but just do it.
Write a ton. Write every day. Write until the story in front of you falls apart or sings. Write something else. Tear it apart. Try to get it published. Swear no one will ever see the abomination you created. You’ll never know how good you are until you actually write. You think you’re no good? Good. Keep writing, you’ll get better. Make time for it.
You need to revise to come up with anything good, and you can’t revise unless you’ve already written something. So go write.
Adi’s Debut novel, Let’s Get Lost, centres around four teens on a road trip to Alaska. Unlike most road trips however, these teens have never met before but they are happy to put their trust in at least one person, Leila, the car owner. This is a story that traverses 4,268 miles whilst allowing for a bit of self discovery along the way.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank Adi for agreeing to feature in our ‘Author of the Week’ series.
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