YEM Author Interview: Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich share how they coordinated writing “If This Gets Out: A Novel” together

Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich are the authors of If This Gets Out: A Novel. The book follows Eighteen-year-olds Ruben Montez and Zach Knight who are two members of the boy-band Saturday, one of the biggest acts in America. It explores their relationship as the two come to rely on each other more and more, and their already close friendship evolves into a romance. YEM was able to speak with Sophie and Cale about what inspired the book, how they created the book, and their favorite part of it.

Young Entertainment Mag: Your new book is out! How have the past few days been for you since the release? 

Sophie Gonzales: A whole range of emotions! Most of all, excitement to get this book out there and into the hands of readers. 

Cale Dietrich: Definitely this! A lot of emotions, but mostly just so happy that it’s out there!

YEM: How exciting was it when you found out ‘IF THIS GETS OUT’ was an indie next pick? 

Cale: It was incredible! It’s such an honour and I am so happy that they picked IF THIS GETS OUT.

Sophie: It was wonderful! I’m always so, so grateful for the endless support of Indie Bestsellers. They really are out there going above and beyond every day, and having them reading and promoting IF THIS GETS OUT means everything. 

YEM: What inspired the idea of your new book? 

Sophie: It was actually Cale who came up with the idea!

Cale: Yeah! But I knew from the start that I wanted to work on it with Sophie. The idea came to me while I was on a walk one day, and I instantly thought it would be so cool – but the inspiration came from the multiple stories I’ve read about of artists, particularly queer artists, being controlled by their management.

YEM: How did you coordinate writing the book together? 

Sophie: We started with lots and lots of conversations, and then we each went away and created our own character (I wrote Ruben, Cale wrote Zach). Then we put together a synopsis and wrote it one chapter at a time, sending our chapter to each other when we were done so the other could take the baton. 

Cale: It took a lot of planning, and we worked together on the synopsis to make sure we were both happy, and once we had that outline, we wrote by alternating chapters!

YEM: Did you help design the cover for the novel together?

Cale: Sophie should take this one!

Sophie: The cover designer was Olga Grlic at Wednesday Books Design! She put the design together based on a piece of fan art I drew for the book on Instagram, and I re-drew it for the cover to match her vision. I must have sent Cale about two dozen colour options, though!

YEM: Is this book similar to your others in the past? How are they different?

Sophie: This book is definitely a lot darker than the ones I’ve been publishing in more recent years, and probably aimed at a slightly older audience, too! I’ve been relishing the darkness, lately, though, so in a lot of ways it was a welcome change of pace for me. 

Cale: It’s funny, in a lot of ways it’s similar and in other ways it’s very different. It’s the first of my books that doesn’t have a genre element, but all of my books are heavily focused on romance so I don’t think it’s totally unexpected. But it is a change of pace for sure, as there are no explosions in this book or anything like that.

YEM: You’ve been releasing books really quickly, within a year from one another or less. What is that like and how do you create them so quickly?

Sophie: Well, after experiencing two books in a year, I can say I’m not in a rush to do that again! It involves a lot of fifteen-hour days, eye-bags and panicking. I think from now on you’ll be seeing twelve-monthly releases from me again! (I hope these aren’t famous last words…)

Cale: Hahaha right, even with a book per year I am right with Sophie on the eye-bags and the panicking. I’m getting better about that last part though! I think it’s one of those things that’s dictated by the market, honestly – with YA releasing a book per year is what publishers and audiences prefer, so I have been working hard to meet that.

YEM: What’s a main theme or lesson you want fans to take away from ITGO?

Cale: If a reader was to take anything from ITGO, I’d want them to think about the pressure to conform to a certain image that so many stars are forced into. 

Sophie: I think we both really wanted to spark a conversation, ultimately—or rather, add to the existing conversation—around the entertainment industry, and its history of treating the stars at its centre like robots, designed to do what they’re told, for as long as they’re told, without always treating them with respect and care. Also, to pay homage to the power of fandom and teenage girls. 

YEM: Pride and Queer identity is a major part of your writing, does this book take self identity a step further? What sparked your interest in this particular plot?

Sophie: I wouldn’t say a step further so much as I’d say it examines it under a different lens! When you add in fame, pressure, and the eyes of the world, it’s going to affect the experience of queer identity in a very unique and specific way.

Cale: My interest in this plot I think evolved because even though it’s on a much smaller scale, I have experienced what it’s like being an openly queer person in the arts field, and I have felt the pressure to behave a certain way. I think that is what sparked my interest.

YEM: What is your favorite part of this book?

Cale: It’s so hard to choose, but I like the night in Amsterdam. It’s so romantic.

Sophie: The night in Budapest. I’m a sadist, I think. 

YEM: Do you plan to make this one into a series?

Sophie: We don’t have any plans for it, but I think there’s certainly room to explore more within the world if we felt ready to return to it one day!

Cale: This is a maybe, someday type deal! There aren’t any plans at the moment though.

YEM: What’s your favorite memory of creating this book?

Cale: The whole process was pretty amazing, honestly, and I look at it so fondly. If I had to pick, I loved the first serious conversation we had about it, where we decided on so many of the things that ended up in the final book. That was so fun and exciting.

Sophie: The zoom meetings. We’d always be like “oh, let’s just talk face to face about this one scene for ten minutes, it’s easier than messaging”, and I don’t think we once kept it under two hours or so!

YEM: Can you give us a little sneak peak of ‘The Pledge’ coming 2022?

Sophie: My next book, NEVER EVER GETTING BACK TOGETHER, comes out later this year. It’s a sapphic hate-to-love rom-com, following a girl whose cheating ex-boyfriend becomes famous and goes on a reality show in which he re-dates all his exes to find the one that got away. She signs up with one goal: make it to the finale so she can expose him and break his heart on national television. But to do so, she has to team up with the girl he cheated on her with, who also happens to be bunking with her while filming the show. 

Cale: My next book is called THE PLEDGE, and it’s a gay frat boy slasher! It’s about a boy called Sam who survived a horrific attack by a masked killer while he was staying at his boyfriend’s lake house. The book starts two years after that attack, when Sam is going to college with the hopes of leaving his dark past firmly behind him. He decides to join a fraternity in order to make new friends (and be around cute guys, sure). But then his new brothers start getting murdered, and the masked killer from Sam’s past starts stalking the campus. Now Sam will need to find out who is under the mask before they can finish what their predecessor started. 

You can find If This Gets Out: A Novel at any online or local bookstore!