I'm feeling a little starstruck today, because not only do I have an amazingly talented author here, but also a star from the Twilight Saga movies! Sarah Alderson (goddess author of Hunting Lila, Losing Lila and Fated) and her good friend MyAnna Buring (amazing actress; one of her roles being Tanya Delani from Twilight: Breaking Dawn) chat below about everything from life, their favourite Lila characters, who MyAnna would like to play in the movies and of course, some Alex vs. Edward comparisons... (Team Skinny Dipping Lieutenant, please!). These are both such inspirational woman, I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did!
Be warned: there may be one or two spoilers for those who have not read Hunting Lila yet.
Interview between Myanna Buring & Sarah Alderson
Sarah: Myanna, you’re a well-known actress, you first hit the big screen in The Descent (which, incidentally, scared the bejusus out of me) and last year you starred in the critically acclaimed movie Kill List, but perhaps your biggest role is in the Twilight Breaking Dawn films, in which you play Tanya Denali – the vampire who loves Edward…but I met you when you were about nineteen and we were both at Bristol University making student productions. My memory of you from that time is of this impossibly glamorous beautiful girl who was also incredibly funny and charming to go with it. I was quite in awe. And now you’re a Hollywood movie star and I’m writing books that hopefully one day you’ll star in the movie version of. Life is funny isn’t it?
Myanna: It is! You remember me as glamorous?!!? I can't remember that but I do remember you... I think you were living on some boat with a photographer (Sarah: hahahaha…no, that’s not quite right. I had done that but that was before uni) and I thought you were one of the most interesting people around! While many were worrying about how to do their washing or get the mice out if their kitchen you were out grabbing life by the horns- nothing's really changed in that respect. Still think you are inspirational in how you throw yourself wholeheartedly into life's adventures: leaving London's rat race, moving to Bali, deciding to write and going for it... Thank goodness you did because otherwise we wouldn't have Lila- whom I love. And who sort of brought us back in touch....
Sarah: Could you ever have imagined how life would turn out? And what piece of advice would you give to people in their teens?
Myanna: You can't plan life and nor should you! That said I think taking time to figure out what you want, how to do it and, then going for it is important- it allows you to point yourself in the right direction. I would advise teens (anyone for that matter) to not sweat the small stuff- be kind, be generous, spend time doing things you actually like as opposed to what you think others want you to do. Go out and live life proactively, and don't waste your time with people who make you feel bad about yourself.
Sarah: You’re a big fan of Hunting Lila and Losing Lila – who is your favourite character?
Myanna: I am a huge fan of Hunting and Losing Lila! I absolutely love Lila- I think she's got this great self deprecating humour, and her lust for Alex just reminds me of being in my teens. Alex is simply the most delicious man created, for me he's closely followed by Demos. I just love the Demos twist- you believe him to be this terrible man, and then all your preconceptions are turned on their head and you realize he is working from a place of love, and for what is right.
Sarah: Alex vs Edward – compare and contrast please.
Myanna: Alex is human. Edward is not. Being around Alex isn't necessarily dangerous for Lila, in fact loving Lila is probably more risky for Alex. Whereas Edwards vampiric thirsts are a constant potential threat for Bella. (though credit where credit is due- he has got incredible self control!) Both are deliciously hot, chivalrous, and caring males created by awesome female writers!
Sarah: If you could play any character in Hunting Lila who would you play and why?
Myanna: Probably Rachel or Amber. They're really different but, such great characters! Rachel is just so devious and that's really fun to play. And Amber is the complete opposite- she seems so full of light and composure- which of course makes it all the more heart breaking when she looses her love...
Sarah: As an actress you must get to play opposite some amazing actors – if you were Lila who would play your leading man Alex? And who would you like to see playing Demos?
Myanna: If I were playing Lila- I would definitely want your inspiration for Alex- Alex Skarsgaard to play opposite me! If looking at someone younger I'm intrigued by what Nick Roux might bring to the part. Demos for me has always been Vincent Cassel... He's just got an incredible charisma and a sense of danger and revolution about him.
Sarah: Which scenes do you think in Hunting Lila and in Losing Lila would be the most amazing on the big screen?
Myanna: In Hunting Lila - I think the scenes where all the Psys turn up and Demos's story is revealed are great... I'd be so excited to see how that could be done. I'm also dying to see the chemistry between Lila and Alex!!!!
In Losing Lila the very first chase scene is epic! It's got a Bourne/Bond quality to it that would be awesome to see on screen.
Myanna: Did you ever write when you were younger? Or was Hunting Lila truly your first attempt at it?
Sarah: I never wrote anything. I remember when I was about 9 being asked to write a story about an invention and I couldn’t think of anything. The page just taunted me. I still have nightmares about it. Hunting Lila really was my first attempt.
Myanna: I know you often write with people in mind when you are creating characters. Who was in your head when writing Lila? What inspired her and in what ways do you relate to her?
Sarah: Actually, Lila was about the only character I never had anyone in my head for. She was just there from the start and I suppose that I drew on a lot of my own personality for her. A lot of my friends say they hear me speaking when she talks. I really relate to that obsessive love you feel when you’re seventeen, where it feels as though your world will fall apart if you’re not with that person. And I also love how she doesn’t take no for an answer but is relentless. She’s also insecure, which I think deep down most of us are, yet in Losing Lila I like to see how she grows in confidence and starts to become this formidable young woman not scared to take on the might of a corporation that has shown it has no qualms in behaving immorally.
Myanna: As I mentioned above- Lila's lust for Alex reminded me of being a teenager- but the fact that her lust is rooted in a much more sincere, enduring, and deeper love make it so much more special. For most people their first love is not their forever love. Is that what you think readers feel connected to though?
Sarah: We’re all undying romantics aren’t we? Hilariously if I think back to my first boyfriend at seventeen, god I adored him. We were so in love and now he’s…well let’s just say he’s not the sweet, lovely boy I knew then. I’m so glad we didn’t stay together. But I think there is that ideal – you know Taylor Swift sings about it all the time ;) that you meet the one and you stick together through thick and thin until you’re 80 and still gazing in love and adoration at each other in your matching incontinence pants.
There is something really beautiful about a relationship that’s built on a really long friendship like Lila and Alex’s. I think then it has the potential for more longevity.
Myanna: What were your favourite scenes to write in Hunting and Losing Lila? And did you plot Losing Lila straight after Hunting?
Sarah: I love writing the romance scenes. I’m so there in my head, feeling what Lila is feeling everytime that Alex comes near so when he’s half naked and kissing her, I can’t stop grinning as I write. My favourite scene in Hunting Lila was the scene where they first kiss in the motel room. I get butterflies just thinking about it and in Losing Lila I really loved their connection, because they’re with each other from the start in this book – there’s no great build up of will he won’t he? So I really enjoyed the tenderness, Alex’s protectiveness, their joint strength in fighting but most of all I enjoyed writing the skinny dipping scene!
Myanna: What scenes would you be most excited to see on the big screen?
Sarah: In Hunting Lila – the finale scene in Joshua Tree National Park. I want to see all the explosions and humvees being flipped. I’d also love to see the falling down the stairs scene.
In Losing Lila I would love to see the scenes shot in Mexico City when they’re on the run, being chased over rooftops and into the cathedral. Pure adrenaline. OK, and also the naked swimming in the Caribbean sea.
Myanna: I have this image of you looking out over the fields of Bali, sipping coconut juice while effortlessly churning out brilliant book after brilliant book. What is the reality of your working day as a writer like?
Sarah: Ahahahaha, yes, it is something like that. Although our beautiful view is slowly disappearing under concrete as people build on all the rice paddies. I do drink a lot of coconuts. I stick my headphones in and just write every day and I love it.
Myanna: What do you do to put yourself in a place where you can write? ESP when writing young adult novels- do you do anything that helps put you in a place from where you can relate?
Sarah: I don’t do anything really, other than listen to music. I read a lot, watch a lot of TV and movies too which helps give me ideas as does travelling and meeting new people – hearing their stories. I find exercise is good for getting the thought process going if I’m stuck. I dance a lot. Or being on a plane. Being away from internet access basically helps me focus.
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