Jun 16, 2017

Cale Dietrich talks The Love Interest, YA tropes and writing inspirations || DiverseReads2017

Hey guys!

Guess who's back??? I know I made a fake promise to you all that I am not going to take a hiatus because of my NYC trip, but I ended up taking one, because I forgot to schedule posts. I know I know, but forgive me, and I am back now, so let me treat you all with all the amazing posts hereafter! :D

Today on the blog, we have the author of one of my favourite reads of 2017, who's also one of the best human beings I've met - he's just so wonderful! So everyone, say hi to Cale Dietrich,the fabulous author of The Love Interest!



Describe your book in 5 words

First up: hey! I just wanted to say how happy I am to be doing this interview with you! :D
So, five words. Ahh, that’s so few. Ermm how about: Two spies fall in love!

What inspired you to write The Love Interest?

So, the initial idea was pretty much “how cool would it be if there was a training academy for the swoony love interests of YA fiction”. This idea popped into my head, and I instantly thought it was super interesting and funny, so I decided to write it. But I think TLI was heavily, heavily influenced by my own experiences in being gay. I started writing when I was sorting out my feelings and going through my first experiences in coming out, which was quite tough for me. I remember this feeling that people were dismissing me because I’m not straight, and I used writing TLI to sort out my feelings about that. It was very therapeutic, haha.

I just love the twist in the love triangle trope, plus how unconventional the book is, even going forward to take a slight jab at popular YA cliches. Was all this intentional? If so, how did you come by the idea?

Ahh thanks!! Do you mean the meta stuff? Yep, that was totally intentional. It’s a fine line, but I never wanted to take a jab at YA, or one at YA love triangles (which I am actually generally a fan of). I wanted to write a YA version of, say, THE CABIN IN THE WOODS or COMMUNITY, which are both meta, while still being examples of the types of fiction they are meta about. I think it’s about the tone – I wanted it to be more like “oh, he’s using that familiar trope now, haha” not “he’s saying that trope sucks and anyone who uses it is the worst” if that makes sense? I think of it as lovingly meta. I really hope I pulled it off!

On that note, what is your favourite/least favourite YA trope? Or maybe a trope which you wish was given a LGBT twist?

THE GAY BEST FRIEND TROPE NEEDS TO GTFO. I’m not sure straight people even know how much damage this trope can do – there are a lot of straight people who instantly think of gay men/boys as sort of accessories because of it and it’s so gross.

Also, I’m not a fan of any trope where a marginalised person is treated in a stereotypical or derogatory way. My favourite trope would probably be anything to do with romance, because I love a good old trope-ey rom-com. And as for LGBT twist, I basically would like any of them, because I think we still need more LGBT books (especially ownvoices ones!).

This is a million dollar question……..Team Caden or Dyl? ( I know, I am cruel, my bet is on Caden, though)

THIS IS SO CRUEL. Umm, I mean, Caden is the protagonist, and he means a freaking lot to me. But I’m a huge fan of Dyl. So argh I can’t pick, sorry! I love them both in totally different ways.

The boys’ sexualities and romance is beautifully portrayed in the book ( especially Caden coming to terms with his sexuality), was it hard to capture the self realization and coming out experience on the page?

Aww thank you! Hahaha I mean, you already know this from Twitter, but TLI is super personal. So not really! Writing it was easy. I’m not saying Caden’s experience is exactly the same as mine, but I definitely figured out my feelings through writing, so they’re linked in this weird complicated way. Showing it to people was hard, but writing it was really easy.

What has been your favourite aspect(s) of the entire journey of TLI?

It’s been such a whirlwind, it’s honestly hard to pick a favourite! But I won’t ever forget the moment I saw the cover – I had been anticipating it for so long and when it came it was so unexpected (I thought it’d be blue) but I instantly loved it so much. That was a huge moment for me.

What advice would you give for aspiring authors, especially but not limited to queer teens?

Sure thing! I think the main thing I would tell people is to listen to their instincts. It can be really hard to do, but yeah, if you have that voice inside your head telling you that the book you’re working on is the one, you should listen to that, no matter what anyone else says. Also: network! Twitter seems to be the place now (when I was a teen I was on Absolute Write). But yeah, find writer friends and critique partners – they will teach you so much. And for queer teens, I don’t have advice per se, but just want to ask them super nicely to write so freaking much, because it’s so needed. Things are definitely getting way, way better, but I think the more ownvoices LGBT books out there the better, so I just want to encourage those teens to write as much as they can.

Can you share with us what you’re working on next?

I can’t give too many details yet, I’m afraid! But I can say it’s got a gay protagonist, and I really, really hope I will have more news soon.


Thanks so much for this! Answering these was super fun. :D

The Love Interest
Title : The Love Interest
Author : Cale Dietrich
Release Date : May 16th 2017
Publisher : Feiwel & Friends
Synopsis :
There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets.

Caden is a Nice: the boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection. Dylan is a Bad: the brooding, dark-souled guy who is dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose the Nice or the Bad?

Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to be—whoever the girl doesn’t choose will die.

What the boys don’t expect are feelings that are outside of their training. Feelings that could kill them both.


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