Monday, 1 August 2011

Hunting Lila Blog Tour: Delightful Debutantes with Sarah Alderson!

To celebrate the release of the excellent Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson, Simon & Schuster UK have organised a fun blog tour which I'm kicking off today by hosting Sarah as a Delightful Debutante. Hunting Lila is such an exciting read and one of my favourite debuts of 2011.  You can read my review here on Thursday, so keep an eye out for that! 

Hunting Lila is such an exciting read. A perfect blend of action and romance, I was totally gripped by the storyline which kept me guessing right to the end. Where did you get the inspiration to write Hunting Lila?  I believe you may have had a little help from Alex Skarsgard. ;) Tell me more!

I talk about Alex Skarsgard a lot, if he ever Googles himself and sees how many references to him I’ve made all over the web he’ll probably ask for a restraining order.  It’s true, when I was thinking up the idea for Hunting Lila I was watching Generation Kill and he’s, well…he’s exceedingly hot in that, and he did become the inspiration partly for Alex, though Alex then became very much his own person. Story wise I started with the premise that I wanted the story to be about a girl, but a girl who had a special power, rather than the boy, and I knew I wanted Lila to be strong and funny and determined and not a weak girly girl obsessing over a boy. Then I went from there. And the story just flowed.

I often ask authors about their paths to publication, and while everyone has a different story, yours is the stuff that dreams are made of! Tell me a little about your path to publication and how your life has changed since you sold Hunting Lila.

I literally decided one day to write a book. As you do. I’d never taken a writing course – hopefully that’s not too obvious! I had worked for ten years for a charity and had never even thought about becoming a writer. And then I quit my job to travel around the world and decided I needed to do something to earn a living so I wrote Hunting Lila (there’s an irony in that if you know how much authors actually earn! Luckily I didn’t have a clue and didn’t think to Google it). It took me four months to write, I got an amazing agent within a month and then she sold it and the sequel to Simon & Schuster. It’s miraculous. And did I mention I live in a tropical paradise? Sometimes I feel like Lila when she says she thinks she must be lying comatose on a pavement in south London. It really feels like I must be imagining it all.

How has my life changed? My life would have changed anyway. I had already quit my job and was travelling around the world with my husband and daughter when I got a book deal. So I know that either way I would still be living in Bali even if I hadn’t sold a book. I’d just be doing something else to earn money whilst I tried to keep writing. I count my blessings every day and feel such gratitude for where I am. But of course getting a book deal has changed my life. I can’t imagine being as happy as I am right now. I love writing full time. When I’m writing, even stopping to go to the bathroom is an annoyance, so I really appreciate I’m not having to work another job like a lot of writers have to do. I feel like there is nothing that could top my life right now whatsoever. It rocks.

Ok, except maybe a film deal.

Hey, ASkars - give Sarah a call!
And for anyone who wants to live the dream too – what is your top tip for any aspiring authors out there?

I could write a book on this, so sorry there’s more than one tip.

1.      Don’t think ‘It only ever happens to other people’ – that’s so limiting. I always believe anything’s possible and I try as much as possible to will it into being (you listening Alex Skarsgard? You hear me HBO?). 

2.      I had no formal writing training so I really believe that you can just pick up a pen and write and get a deal – I’m proof. Don’t sweat it if you haven’t got an MA in creative writing.

3.      Start building your profile NOW! Blog, tweet, befriend people on Goodreads and generally build a platform of followers any way you can, because nowadays publishers aren’t just buying a book – they’re buying an author, and if you have your own platform they like it very much. It can make a big difference.

4.      Start calling yourself a writer even if you’re not published yet. And start telling people that’s what you are. Don’t be scared to share your dreams. It’s human nature to want to help people. I found that as soon as I started sharing my dream people started helping me achieve it. I wouldn’t be here today if I hadn’t spoken out about what I wanted.

I love the characters in Hunting Lila. I have a serious crush on Alex (yum) and Lila is feisty heroine who everyone is going to love and totally root for.  Then there’s a wonderful array of quirky characters that we get to know as the book progresses. Besides Lila and Alex who were your favourite characters to write, and why?

I have to say Demos – the bad guy. I love his story. His life has been dictated to by one bad decision he made when he was at College. He has this crazy mind power – he can literally stop people thinking or moving. I mean, what would you do with that power? Where might it take you if you let it? And he suffers, there are depths to him that won’t come to the fore until book two, the real truth of who he is. He’s dangerous and frightening and yet he instills incredible loyalty. His character was so complex he was a joy to write.

But I also love Suki and Nate. They make me laugh all the time. I liked dealing with Suki’s mind-reading power and what that might mean for her in terms of personal relationships. I like Nate’s vulnerability. In book two they are hysterical – they both crush big time on Alex and when you’re a mind reader and someone who can astrally project that basically means you can access all areas, if you know what I mean.

I also like Ryder – he’s only a small part but in my head he was Sawyer from Lost and well, yeah, he can hang out in my head any time he likes.

As I was reading Hunting Lila I found myself totally thinking that book would make a great movie or TV show.  Who would you like to see in the roles of Lila and Alex if a movie or TV version of Hunting Lila were ever to happen?

Thanks for saying that! In my head it plays out like a movie. But those roles have always been quite blank. I think because I’ve never seen anyone who can do justice to my imagination. I mean I’ve mentioned Alex Skarsgard before but he’s far too old now. And Lila, I think she’d be played by an unknown, I like the idea of her being an English actress because she is half-English.

I have a fantasy cast list – where you can see who I imagine the other characters to be. It’s here:

Can you name three other books that you think fans of Hunting Lila might also enjoy?

I just read Divergent. I can’t believe how young the author is. She’s incredibly talented. I like the fact the lead is kick ass. We need more girls like her and Lila in YA.

More recently Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. It features a road trip too, except unlike Lila, Amy’s not being chased. This has been my favourite read of the year so far.

A quiet belief in Angels – it’s not YA but it’s a brilliant murder mystery with quite exquisite prose.

I am really excited to read the sequel to Hunting Lila, but before that, you have another book releasing in January 2012 called Fated. Can you tell me a little about both of those books and anything else you might be working on?

Fated is about a seventeen year old girl called Evie, who finds out she’s a demon hunter and about Lucas, the half Shadow Warrior sent to spy on her and then ordered to kill her. It’s great. It’s a love story – an intense one. I adore Lucas and Evie and am hoping readers will too. There’s a lot of action in this one and some great characters.

It’s about fate versus free will. I wanted to explore the idea that we can choose who we become, especially as teenagers. We don’t have to listen to other people when they tell us who we are or what our limits are. We can follow our own path.

The second Lila book is much more emotional, darker in tone. Lila’s struggling to control her growing power. Alex is also struggling with his role as she grows more powerful. I don’t want to give too much away but yes, there’s more of Alex, if you catch my drift.

I’ve written two more Fated books which I’m hoping will see the light of day and right now I’m working on a completely new book but I’ll keep that one close to my chest for the moment.  I’m really enjoying writing it though.

 Thank you for having me!

Thanks Sarah for such a fun interview! I really enjoyed reading your answers and I can't wait to see more of Alex in the next book. And I totally catch your drift, yes. Ahem. 

If you'd like to find out more about Sarah and Hunting Lila, make sure you follow the blog tour.  The full list of stops are listed on the sidebar. The tour is stopping over at Wondrous Reads tomorrow where Jenny will be having a giveaway!


  1. Great post and def. awesome tips! ;)Ryder sounds really good. Who doesn't love Sawyer from Lost?! I'm looking forward reading your review for this book!

  2. Thanks for sharing this interview. I love her tips concerning writing and the references to Alex Skarsgard are enough to get me to read this book. ha. He's super hot! I'll have to add this book to my TBR list.

  3. Oh Alexander Skarsgard. SWOON! Love that he was the inspiration for Alex:) I haven't heard too much about this book but it is certainly on my radar now! And I have Divergent on my nightstand waiting to be read, can't wait!

  4. Thank you for the interview and sharing today. Your book is new to me and I am definitely interested in what sounds like a fine read. I hopped over to your site and then on to FB and this read is more and more intriguing. I have sent good thoughts out for AS to call you soon :)

  5. Really looking forward to Fated! It sounds awesome. And also can't waiting for Lila 2 - I'm intrigued by the fact that it's darker than the first one. Character wise, <3 (and wow to AS too :P). And I really liked reading about Demos! Thanks for the interview :).

  6. Oh wow!
    How amazing that you just suddenly decided to start writing. You must have a very natural talent! =)

  7. I can't help it, but I absolutely think Sarah is FABULOUS! I loved Hunting Lila, though now worried she may be locked up for stalking.

  8. I love your advice on #3 for aspiring authors! The internet is a HUGE resource! As I blogger, I find it crazy when I can't find an author's website or twitter...those are important nowadays!


  9. Great interview! I am so excited to read Hunting Lila. And Fateful sounds amazing too :)

  10. thanks for sharing all this info. i loved reading every minute of it and cannot wait to read the book (it is on it's way to me right now ~ yay!)

  11. I'd love to read this book! When I saw ASkars my heart went pitter-patter!!


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