If you’ve read Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid, you already know that he’s a gifted writer. But who is this guy that everyone keeps comparing to John Green? What makes him tick? And what kind of *feels* is he hoping you feel when you read his debut novel? We asked! He answered. Check out our Q&A with Adi Alsaid for the whole story.
What inspires you to write?
Everything. The urge to write has been with me since I was a kid, and it can be triggered by anything, big or small. I’ve written stories inspired by heartbreak and stories inspired by sweet potato fries. What most does it most often, though, is people, the spaces between them, and how those spaces are bridged or gapped.
The role of travel and self-discovery plays a large part in Let’s Get Lost. Is that something that is personally important to you?
Definitely. My first big trip on my own was to Israel when I was eighteen, and I consciously made it about self-discovery. “Now’s the time to figure out what I like,” I told myself, maybe thinking it might lead to deeper realizations, maybe just curious about what, exactly, people saw in coffee (and finding out). I came back from that trip more confident, less shy, funnier (I like to think), and convinced of travel’s ability to make you a little more yourself. I feel Leila might be able to relate.
Tell us a little more about yourself. Where did you grow up? Where else have you traveled?
I was born and raised in Mexico City, where I currently live after a few stops in Israel and the U.S. I coach high school and elementary basketball at the American School Foundation, which I attended while growing up. Ever since that first trip to Tel Aviv, I’ve traveled every chance I could get. I’ve taken two cross-country trips across the U.S, visiting over 25 states. Beyond the States, though, I feel I’m just getting started.
What 5 words would you use to describe Let’s Get Lost?
Mississippi, adventure, movies, Tim Horton’s.
Are any of the characters in Let’s Get Lost based off of you or people that you know?
I think most characters I’ve written have a little piece of myself in them, and most have little details stolen from real people. Leila putting her feet up on the dashboard and marking her toes on the windshield, for example, is something an ex-girlfriend used to do. The character I most relate to—or at least would have in high school—is Elliot. My two specialties back then were unfinished short stories and unrequited love.
If Let’s Get Lost became a movie, who would be in your fantasy cast?
It’s a good thing casting directors exist, because if I was ever put in charge, I’d probably cast Jennifer Lawrence to play every role, male and female alike. If I had to choose? Shailene Woodley seems to have a stronghold on YA adaptation roles, and I have no complaints about that because she’s wonderful. I could see her being a good Sonia. Liam James from The Way, Way Back would fit as Elliot. Leila feels very real to me, but I can’t imagine who might fit the image of her in my head.
How do you hope readers feel after finishing Let’s Get Lost?
Is there a word for the specific feeling of peacefulness you get when you finish a good book? When it happens to me, I kind of look around seeing the world as a more literary place, amazed that the people around me don’t see it, too, that the experience was contained to me. Readers will react differently to the same book, and as a debut author, I know I have to expect a wide variety of reactions. But if anyone at all gets that feeling when they’re done with Let’s Get Lost, I’d be thrilled.