Thursday, October 6, 2011

INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Sarah Alderson - Hunting Lila


Author of

Today on the blog I have the absolute pleasure of interviewing Sarah Alderson, author of Hunting Lila (her debut novel).  
Welcome Sarah and thank you so much for taking time out of your sun drenched, massage fuelled busy schedule!!!! 

Sarah currently resides in one of the most beautiful places in the world…..Bali, Indonesia.  It is a place of dreams – and Sarah is living the dream!!! 

1.      Was there a certain something that inspired the writing of Hunting Lila?

My husband and I quit our jobs in London in 2009 and packed our bags and princess-obsessed, tutu wearing toddler and took off on a round the world trip looking for a new place to live. I didn't have any skills so to speak of and was wondering what I would do to earn a living and one day whilst puzzling on this I thought 'I know, I'll write a book. Stephenie Meyer wrote a book about vampires and look at her - she's a gazillionaire.'
And that is how Hunting Lila was born. Literally that day. Five minutes after that thought, I had the kernel of an idea. By the next day I had a list of Demos's crew and a description of Lila and Alex. The day after I started writing. And I never looked back. That was just over two years ago and I'm just finishing up my sixth book.
Ok, and also Alex Skarsgard. He inspired the character of Alex. If you haven't seen Generation Kill you should watch it. Marines with their shirts off, sweaty and grimy. And Alex Skarsgard. Say no more. 

2.     I’ve read on numerous web haunts that you have a “thing” for Demos (the “villain” in Hunting Lila)…. What exactly about him has you interested?
Demos' power is so interesting - he can stop people from thinking or feeling and even from moving.

When he was younger he abused this power and learned a hard lesson as a result. Actually he still occasionally abuses this power! But really I like to think he's a deeply misunderstood man who is acting from outside the law but who has his reasons for doing so. He has a strong moral code and he commands great loyalty and respect from those around him.  He's flawed and he's the anti-hero and I always like the anti-hero as they make far more interesting characters. They're more the everyman in life - the ones who make the mistakes most of us would make so it's easier to empathise and easier for us then to put ourselves into their shoes.
I guess too that my heart aches for Demos. In Losing Lila we get to know him more and discover more of his back story - there's a scene - one of the final ones in the book - that made me cry when I wrote it and still makes me cry just remembering it.

One day when they make the film (fingers crossed!) I can't wait to sit on the casting couch for Demos. Because in a way I think he's the heart of the book. Becasue the book is all about the things we do for love. 
3.     Who do you feel has the most awesome super power in Hunting Lila (and why?)….

  I like how Lila's power (she can move things with her mind) develops in Losing Lila. In Hunting Lila she doesn't have it under control and it scares her, though towards the end we glimpse just how strong she really is.
In Losing Lila we stop seeing Lila as vulnerable and insecure and start to see her growing in confidence and in her power. This is shown through the choices she makes - instead of reacting she starts making more careful choices and thinking things through - she's still impulsive at times but her actions are surer. Lila's bravery was never in question and she was never the damsel in distress but in Losing Lila she really comes into her own - by having to face even greater challenges and learning to trust herself and those around her.
I think partly she is able to gain this control because her relationship with Alex provides her with some stability. They are very much a partnership in Losing Lila (the opening scenes are reminiscent of the Bourne Supremacy but with two Bournes not one) and it's interesting to see how this partnership between them develops over the course of the book. Alex has been alpha male saving her quite frequently in Hunting Lila and suddenly the power balance is shifting. 
This journey of Lila's was always one I plotted over two or more books. It's a lot to ask someone to go through what she's gone through and then transition into the archetypal heroine, overcoming all her challenges and self-doubt within just one book. She needed time to grow into who she is and in Losing Lila she really does.
 She kicks ass.

4.     What are some of your writing distractions and how do you overcome them?

  Social media. Without a doubt. I'm addicted to it. And to Goodreads though I'm trying to step away from the refresh button and not go there. Hunting Lila has had such amazing love from reviewers but every time you check your reviews your heart is in your mouth. It's not good for the soul. 
Other distractions include a five year old, a liver-eating puppy, the need to dance regularly, the school run and watching Sons of Anarchy, True Blood and Game of Thrones.

I overcome these by writing whilst my daughter at school, employing someone to cook the liver, dancing ecstatically every Friday night (normally imagining I'm dancing with one or more of my characters), using the school run to plot out dialogue in my head and not thinking of watching TV as a distraction but rather as RESEARCH.
5.     Have you enjoyed the road to being published?  Worst and best occasions.

  Of course! It's been amazing. Though it's also very, very SLOOOOOOW. I was very lucky in that Hunting Lila was my first ever manuscript. I wrote it in less than five months and had an agent within six weeks of submitting it and a deal two months after that. That's fast. Some people struggle for years. I only had to wait a year until the publication date which again is considered fast. 
From the moment I sent off my manuscript to agents through to the publication day  it felt like slow and agonising torture with occasional moments of bliss - the day I got my deal - the day I saw the cover - the day I opened the box with all my author copies in it - the day I got an offer on the film rights! 
Without a doubt the worst occasion was when I was waiting for publishers to come back to my agent with a yes or a no. I didn't eat for three weeks because I felt so completely sick with nerves.
Best occasion? Wow, probably my book launch. It was so overwhelming to have so many people from so many different parts of my life come along to support me - from my oldest friend through to my blog readers and even the producer of the King's Speech. It was epic. Like getting married. And I bought myself the most incredible Vivienne Westwood dress and shoes to celebrate.

6.     What style of writer are you?  Do you plan it all out on a story board or maybe you just run with what happens when you start typing?

  I used to plan a lot more but I've never story-boarded. I would jot down notes and dialogue and plan out chapters and swim for hours trying to figure out where the plot was going. Now I'm on my sixth book I just sit and write and have faith that it's all going to work out. I have a start point and I have a vague but fairly certain idea of where I want the book to end but that's all. And so far, so good! I have a huge belief in the universe providing me with all the ideas I need exactly when I need them. In fact, I have that quote written above my desk. It's a good thing to remember.

7.     So glad to read that music plays a huge part during your writing.  The soundtrack you have posted is fantastic!  With artists that include Muse, Sia, Little Boots and La Roux – what song or artist of your playlist was the most powerful and for what scene did it help to mould?
Music is essential to me! I can't live without music and all my playlists are on spotify and open to the public. You can also see them on my website (  
For Lila I guess the song that really became the anthem I wrote the book to was La Roux, Cover my eyes. I used to listen to it on repeat endlessly whilst I wrote - particularly the chapters when Lila goes on the run right up to the point in San Jacinto national park. It seemed to evoke every emotion Lila felt about Alex in such a poignant, heartfelt way, and the loss she felt at having to leave him. Whenever I hear that song I feel Lila's heart breaking inside my chest.
Also Midlake's 'Acts of Man' - that track evokes for me the final scene in Joshua Tree. If you listen to it you'll know what it's about. 

8.     Do you have any tips for those wanting to achieve “the dream” of being a full time writer?

  HA! Move to Bali. Because 99.9% of writers don't earn enough I'm afraid to live on, unless you live somewhere with very low living costs. Or you luck out and are in the 0.01% of authors who actually become bestsellers. And even if that did happen I'd still say come live in Bali because not only is it beautiful but it's also full of some completely bizarre people  - many of whom are going to end up in books that I write. It opens the mind and furnishes the imagination living here!
9.     You have written another novel, “Fated” – can you please give an insight into this story and is it a stand alone or part of a series?

Fated is about a girl called Evie who finds out she's a Hunter - a demon slayer - and that she's being hunted down by a group of demons called the Brotherhood who are trying to stop her before she can fulfil a dangerous prophecy. One of the Brotherhood - a boy called Lucas, who is trying to avenge his parents' death at the hands of Hunters, is sent to spy on Evie and then ordered to kill her.
It has a lot of action, a very passionate love story and a lot of great characters. 

I wanted to explore this idea of whether Fate has a hand in our lives and who we meet - whether we have freedom in choosing who we are.  I believe that people come into our lives for a reason but I also think we have control over our lives and the choices we make.  
It does stand alone but I've written two more in that series because I just had to and wanted to follow my heart even though I was only contracted for the first one. 
 My personal all time favourite character is called Cyrus and he's in the sequel to Fated. He's awesome - the most fun character I've had the chance to write, so I hope people get to meet him one day. There is a fourth book in the Fated series but I haven't written it yet. I've moved onto a new book!

Thanks again Sarah for taking the time to answer my questions.  I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Hunting Lila and look forward to it’s sequel Losing Lila (but have to wait!!).  I’ll also be getting my hands on “Fated” real soon.
Enjoy Bali, your beautiful family and your wonderful life!  Cheers, Marissa

  Thank you for having me on the blog!

 Thanks to Simon & Schuster (thanks Caroline!) 
we have three (3) copies of 
Hunting Lila to giveaway - YAY!

Entry is simple:
1. Follow Novels On The Run (GFC)
2. Leave a comment below with email contact 

 Competition closes midnight (AEST) 
15th October 2011

Oh yeah.....entry is open international!!
Winners are determined by 
psst....... keep your eyes on the blog as we will have some awesome SIGNED Hunting Lila items (A4 prints and bookmarks) to giveaway at a later date!!


  1. Yay! What a great giveaway!

    Hankesj(at) gmail(dot)com

  2. I enjoyed the interview. It sounds like a really good book, I would love to read it.
    I am a gfc follower

  3. Thank you so much!

  4. Thanks for the interview Sarah!I hope I get to visit Bali sometime:)Sounds amazing:)
    I really want to read Hunting Lila *fingers crossed*

    I'm a GFC follower-Janhvi Jagtap

    justjanhvi at gmail dot com

  5. Wow!! Hunting Lila sounds soooo intriguing !! and moving things with mind? thats so cool!!
    and thanks for this great giveaway !!

  6. i've wanted this for AGES!


  7. Oh I really want this one! :D
    Thank you.

    GFC Rose

  8. Great interview! I've wanted this since I first heard about and everyone says it's awesome.
    Thanks for the giveaway and for making it international, fingers crossed!!! :)


  9. I really like the interview! It's nice to know that music plays a huge part in her work.
    Thanks a lot for the chance!
    by.evie at yahoo dot com dot br

  10. thanks for the giveaway and great interview!!

  11. I'd love to play please.

    GFC follower.


  12. This book sounds great! :D Thank you so much for the chance to win it. <3
    Follow on GFC as Carina Olsen :)
    Love, Carina ~

  13. Ah awesome, please enter me:)


  14. kaysi373(at)yahoo(dot)com(dot)au

  15. Hunting Lila has very beautiful story. Thank you for the giveaway!
    GFC follower as Diana

    artgiote at gmail dot com

  16. Thanks for the giveaway and great interview!This book sounds great!

    I'm a GFC follower- sweety

    email contact:-

  17. Thanks for this amazing giveaway! I follow on GFC as Suz and I would love to win!

    susanw28 (at) mindspring (dot) com

  18. Thanks for the giveaway! I've been waiting for this book for a while!!

  19. Hah!? Move to Bali!? I'm moving now !!:)
    Thank you for the giveaway

  20. Please don't count me in as I already have a copy--I just wanted to say how much I love this book!

    Oh, and I can't wait for the next book. I need more of the Alex--ahh, I mean, I need more of gang---yeah, that's what I meant *looks sheepish* LOL!

    Awesome interview too!

    Rachel @ The Rest Is Still Unwritten

  21. OMG thanks so much for the chance to win Hunting Lila. I've been looking forward to it for so long! The author sounds super nice! Great interview and thank you!

    Giselle Cormier
    cormier.giselle at gmail dot com
    Xpresso Reads

  22. Great giveaway! I've been so anxious to get started on this book since quite long ago.


  23. oh my god I really want to read this book! I've been wanting to read this for so long.
    Thanks for the international giveaway.


  24. Thanks for the great giveaway. I would love to read Hunting Lila. :)

    GFC: simcsa1
    simcsa13 at gmail dot com

  25. Eeeep! Loved the interview! Thanks so much for this chance! I hope I'm one of the winners! :D


  26. Oh my gosh, thanks for the chance to win this book. It looks soo great, and I loved the interview.


  27. Looks like a really great book

  28. GFC follower - jayjay

    Thanks for the chance! been meaning to read this for awhile now *cross fingers*

    fallendream03 AT gmail DOT com

  29. New Follower via literary b!tch on GFC :)

    I want to read Lila!!!! thank you for giving me a chance to win this
    email: dliterarybtch-at-gmail-dot-com

  30. Great contest here!

    Old GFC follower: we fancy books

    wefancybooks [AT] gmail [DOT] com

  31. Ah, I keep hearing about this book EVERYWHERE!

    Carissa St. Amand

  32. Fab interview and giveaway. Heard nothing but good with this book

  33. Thanks for the giveaway! I'm really anxious to read this. I've been hearing great things!

    My email is abackwardsstory (at) gmail (dot) com and my GFC is A Backwards Story :)

    The interview was a lot of fun to read. Thank you!

  34. Thanks for the great giveaway~
    my email add is serenekua AT gmail DOT com

  35. Thank you for the Giveaway! I heard great things about the book too. And I would love to get my hands on it.

  36. I follow! :)
    PLease include meee! Dying to read it!

    precious_shusky at yahoo dot com

    Thank you!

  37. Please enter me! I'd love to get the chance to read Hunting Lila!

    GFC - Robyn @ Robolobolyn's Universe




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