About six years ago I was sitting on the 7.38 train to London Bridge and I turned to John and said:

‘I’m going to write a blog. What do you think about the title ‘Can we live here?’

He nodded. And so this blog was born.

Back then I think I possibly harboured a tiny hope that maybe one day I might turn it into a book or find a way to monetise it somehow. I mean, people did that back then. Remember Belle du Jour? I wasn’t a call girl but I thought maybe there was some potential, not to become a call girl, but to write a blog.

I was clutching at straws you’ll remember back then, desperate to find a way to make money to help pay for our trip. Still, those straws ended up being life lines. And funnily enough I did follow in Belle du Jour’s footsteps. I do sell sex. Though only on the page. In fact, much to my parents’ embarrassment, I’m rather good at it (I even knocked E L James off the top spot for a time).

PROOF! (Mila Gray is my pen name).

Screenshot 2015-02-15 17.56.39

I guess one thing you can say about me is that I never let that small thing called probability bother me. I never weigh odds (probably because I’m not very good at maths) or think: ‘well, the chances of that happening are zero so why bother?’

I always think ‘why not? If it can happen to other people, why not me?’ (eg. if E L James can become a billionaire after writing that misogynistic pile of rubbish then why the hell can’t I?) and that attitude is the same attitude that saw us quit our jobs, book tickets around the world and the same attitude that saw me write a novel, write nine more and then pen a couple of movies just because it looked like something fun and WAY more lucrative than books.

Why not? is such a great thing to ask. What is the worst that could happen after all? Generally speaking we’re talking two things: You could be rejected or you could die. Now let’s think about those two things.

I’ve been rejected plenty in my life. Firstly by a boy I really liked when I was 14. Then there was the time I was fired from my customer service job at Accenture for telling a secretary who was above me in the pecking order to unjam the printer her own damn self. I was also rejected by nine agents and eleven publishing houses -all of whom turned down Hunting Lila before it was picked up by Simon & Schuster. I don’t like to smile smugly and say ‘hah, betcha regret that one’ but… no, I am smiling smugly).

Rejection makes you stronger. It can also help steer you down a more helpful path. I met a much nicer boy in the end. Me in customer service… ahahahahahaha. Being fired from Accenture made me realise I never wanted to work for a bunch of wanker bankers or management consultants ever again and gave me the push I needed to start working in the voluntary sector.

I’ve come close to death too – thank you dengue mosquito and tuktuk drivers all over India. But look at all that has happened! It’s nothing short of miraculous. I have to pinch myself most days that it’s all real.

Today marks my tenth book birthday. Ten books in five years! Not only is Can We Live Here published today (you can buy your copy HERE!) but so is my second Mila Gray book ‘This Is One Moment’.


For a chance to WIN signed copies of both head over to my author website.

I’m on BBC Breakfast tomorrow so look out for me swearing on that (or rather, don’t), and will also be on Claudia Winkleman’s BBC Radio 2 Arts Show this coming week talking all about the book and our travels.

And if you’ve been with me since the beginning – those panicked, early days when I still worked in the voluntary sector and had no clue how I was going to make a living – then thank you for still being here, reading my story.

Oh, and if you are in London, I’m doing a signing and Q&A at Stanfords next Thursday, August 13th. Do come along and heckle or… just say hi. You can book tickets here.


8 thoughts on “IT’S NOW A BOOK!

  1. Michelle says:

    Wow Sarah! !0 books in 5 years. Congratulations to you.

    I’m disappointed I’m not in the UK to listen to you in the media, but I can’t wait for my Uni break to read ‘Can we live here?’.

    One of my first memories in Bali is lying on a bed in Ubud (which I did quite a bit I must say!) and finding your blog on-line. You had posted the Colonic Irrigation story and I was in fits of laughter. Then, I found out our girls went to the same school, we started ‘Pilates for the Injured’ class of two (lucky us) and had a lovely time connecting in Bali.
    I am so proud of you and think you can do whatever you set out to do – you have proved it with damn hard work and persistence. I know it hasn’t all landed in your lap like a big gift from the writing gods 🙂

    Enjoy the limelight Sarah, you deserve it!

    Michelle xx

  2. CD says:

    Just watched you on the Beeb. I;m inspired. Thank you. I love real people who are brave enough to step off the hamster wheel. Keep inspiring. Keep living. My turn now to find my flying car. XXX

    1. SarahAlderson says:

      Thank you!

  3. Jan Givanim says:

    Hi Sarah, Just now after watching you in BBC, I got curious about your book and immediately googled it. I left my 59k IT job and I’m in the process of hoping to change my life.. And just hearing people like you make this kinds of decision in life makes me less afraid and inspired. I love this article esp. when you mentioned “wanker banker and management consultant”, so funny and honest, my first job after graduating was a IT support in a recruitment agency and I know exactly what you mean.. good luck and more success to come… i will be buying the book!


    1. SarahAlderson says:

      Hi Jan
      You should check out careershifters too as they really are great at helping people make the shift. I really wish you all the best in following your dreams!

  4. Teresa says:

    Hi Sarah, I have seen you on telly this morning and I found you very inspirational, the world needs people who dare otherwise a lot of talent will go to waste. I have gone through a crappy commercial job just to be made luckily redundant and go on to do what I want; Good luck with everything you do and keep on inspiring, greetings from Liverpool 🙂

    1. SarahAlderson says:

      Thank you so much!

  5. HELEN CARVER says:

    Hi Sarah, I saw you on TV this morning and loved the interview. I couldn’t help thinking that you’ve lived my life but quite a few years earlier 🙂 I quit my job at the age 50 and went travelling around the world for 6 months with my 19-year-old daughter! We had an absolute ball (as you do) and when I came back I decided I would write a book too…and so ‘Life Begins at Fifty’ was born – a humorous account of what we got up to (white-water rafting, skydiving, hiking up glaciers, jumping off waterfalls and posing naked in front of one! Wahay!) Can’t wait to read your book! Love the fact that you’ve grabbed life by the balls! All the best, Helen

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: