Interview With Author Adi Alsaid: On Travel, Writing and Tornadoes
Last week I celebrated my 1.5k Facebook fans with a giveaway of Adi Alsaid’s debut novel, “Let’s Get Lost”. While reading the book, I gasped at the way he made the scenery come alive because it was clear whoever wrote it loved travel as much as you and I! And so I decided to investigate – who is Adi Alsaid? How does he travel? Find out in this exclusive interview for “Girl vs Globe“!
Hi Adi, thanks for taking the time out to talk to me! Congratulations on getting your debut novel published – you have done a fantastic job. How are you coping with the sudden influx of attention since your book came out?
Thank you! It’s a pleasure to be here. It’s been lovely, and surreal. My friends and family keep alternating between helping me be astounded by all of it and keeping my ego in check, which I’m thankful for. I’ve been promoting for “Let’s Get Lost” since January, so it’s been a steady buildup of getting used to things, although I haven’t quite gotten to the point where I feel it’s all normal.Seeing people all over the place posting about reading my book, getting fan mail, walking into book stores and airports and seeing myself on the shelves; there are a ton of surreal, wonderful things I’m yet to wrap my head around. But day-to-day life remains more or less the same.
You have lived in Mexico, Israel and the USA – three beautiful countries with very diverse cultures. What has exploring different mentalities taught you as a person and as a writer?
Well, exploring different mentalities starts with reading. Each book and each character is another person I get to explore. Before I started writing books, I was applying for jobs in the business world. In a “Sales Marketing” class that I was taking at the time, the professor told us to expect questions in job interviews about our strengths and weaknesses. One of my rehearsed answers was that being a reader taught me to be empathetic.That’s not just a great answer for a job interview that anyone reading can feel free to steal; I really believe it. The more you read, the better you are at putting yourself in other people’s shoes, the more empathy you develop as a person. Then it becomes easier to write in new characters’ voices, because you’re better at imagining yourself as someone else. Traveling, like reading, exposes you to different mentalities, teaches you to be more understanding of those not like you.
What is the more insane thing you have ever encountered on your journeys? I once hitchhiked to France with a pimp and a Mexican for example – do you have any similarly crazy stories or are you a relatively sane person?
I don’t know if I can top a pimp and a Mexican hitchhiking to France, but I like to think that I do try to step away from sanity. From the isolated cabin on the top of a mountain in a car that was not up for the challenge to the convis that took me around the jungles of Chiapas, this summer had its fair share of adventures. One of the craziest things I’ve personally seen, though, was at the hands of nature. I was with some friends at a cottage on Lake Huron in Ontario. We’d spent the day by the lake, barbecuing, catching up, narrowly avoiding a storm. Or so we thought. I’d fallen asleep on the couch as we were watching movies. Then my friends woke me up and told me I had to look outside.
Lighting was flashing every second. That is not an exaggeration. Every single second lightning streaked across the sky or struck the horizon over the lake. It was so bright and constant that we could see the storm approaching over the water, the rain and wind inching towards us. A tornado warning appeared on my friend’s phone, then things started flying around outside. A rock they kept on a bin to cover the patio furniture’s cushions got tossed aside. A mock lighthouse fell over. It was one of the most insane things I’ve ever seen.
Is there a country or a place where you feel particularly at home or do you consider yourself a citizen of the world?
A couple years ago I visited the couple from the story above in London for ten days. Within a day or two I was referring to their flat as “home.” I adjust pretty well to wherever I am. Like a potted plant, I feel like I could be moved to any environment and still thrive.
Who are your biggest literary inspirations? I know you’ve been likened to John Green on several occasions – how do you feel about that comparison?
I’m thrilled to appear next to his name, because I am a fan of his work and being even close to his spotlight is exciting. I don’t think we have such similar styles, though I could see why someone would make that comparison. My writing has been influenced by so many authors that it’s hard to list them all; I have the tendency to momentarily adopt the voice of whichever book I’m reading.I quickly settle back in my own voice, but I’m sure something has been left behind. Sometimes, you can see the influence. I think Kurt Vonnegut left a big mark on my voice, as well as Bill Watterson of Calvin and Hobbes. Ann Patchett and Jennifer Egan are two of my current literary crushes, and this year books by E. Lockhart, Corey Whaley, and Leslye Walton have been my favorites.
What advice would you give to young aspiring writers?
Make time to do it. It’s the easiest way to go from aspiring to accomplished.
What’s next for Adi Alsaid – are you working on any exciting new projects?
I’m in revisions for another contemporary YA. More details on that coming soon!
Did you enjoy my interview with Adi? You still enter my giveaway of his amazing debut novel, “Let’s Get Lost”! Just fill out the form below! US readers only, sorry for any disappointment caused – rest assured that there will be many more giveaways for everyone.
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This post is part of the #WeekendWanderlust and Sunday Traveller series. Check out both for some incredible posts from my fellow travel bloggers!