It’s June and that means it’s time for another year of Pride Month spotlights! I’m so excited to spotlight Flip the Script by Lyla Lee and share the interview with the author!
Welcome Lyla! Thank you for allowing me to interview you! Can you start off by introducing yourself?
Hi! My name is Lyla. I’m the author of the Mindy Kim series chapter books for younger readers and young adult books about K-pop and K-dramas. My newest book, Flip the Script, came out on 5/31.
How would you describe Flip the Script in one sentence?
Flip the Script is about a Korean American girl who gets cast in the most popular K-drama of the year and falls in love with her female co-star (who is also her rival) instead of her male co-star, like everyone expects her to do.
Can you introduce us to the main character(s) of Flip the Script?
The three main characters are, who I like to call, the Chaotic Good Trio. They consist of Hana, Minjee, and Bryan. Hana is a B-list K-drama actress who is hoping to have her big break with this new show. Minjee, Hana’s rival from school and now her “enemy” on the show, is a K-beauty model who also stars in K-dramas. Finally, Bryan is an internationally famous K-pop star who is trying to get into the TV/film industry. The three of them are all starring on the show together and become friends throughout the course of the book. They all have good intentions but are hella chaotic, as you’ll find out in the book, haha.
What representation will readers find in Flip the Script?
Hana is Korean American (born and raised in Florida but came to South Korea in middle school after she got scouted) and bi; Minjee is Korean (born and raised) and lesbian; and Bryan is also Korean and pan. As a queer 1.5 generation immigrant Korean American author, it was really important to me to write about a diverse range of queer (and Korean!) identities.
Do you know from the beginning how your books will end or do you let your characters decide their journey?
I am a “plotser,” which means that I go into every book with an outline that has a general idea of where I want the story to go. However, I keep things open and a lot of times the book doesn’t end up where I thought it would go BUT it turns out to be for the best because it’s usually where the characters want to end up at the completion of the story. So a little bit of both?
Do you have a favorite scene, moment, or quote from the book?
I’ll try to keep it vague to avoid spoilers but I will say that my two favorite scenes in the book take place in the same location, Jumunjin Beach (which is known as the beach with the BTS bus stop and the shore from the 2016 K-drama, Goblin).
What is something readers will find in Flip the Script that they may not realize based on the synopsis?
I think a lot of the synopsis focuses on the rivals-to-lovers, sapphic romance between Hana and Minjee. Which is fine because it’s fun and that is the crux of the book. However, much of the book is about the found family friendship dynamic between Minjee, Bryan, and Hana (the Chaotic Good Trio, like I mentioned before). I really hope readers will enjoy that fun dynamic outside of just the romance between Hana and MInjee.
What’s something you hope readers will take away from Flip the Script?
The bookplates I’m signing for my preorder campaign and launch week events (I’m currently writing the responses before the book comes out) say “Never Be Afraid to Be Yourself.” That sounds cheesy, I know, but it’s generally the message I want readers to take away from Flip the Script. Throughout the book, Hana, Minjee, and Bryan all struggle with who they really are (in terms of their queer identity, careers, personalities, etc.) vs who people expect them to be. Essentially, the book is about their journeys toward self-acceptance, and I hope readers will be able to relate with their journeys in a way that makes them feel less alone about their own.
What are three books you would recommend if someone enjoyed Flip the Script?
I recently really loved TOKYO EVER AFTER by Emiko Jean. Her book and FLIP THE SCRIPT are essentially sister books because TEA is about a Japanese American teen that gets whisked off into Japanese royalty life similar to how Hana gets whisked off into the Korean entertainment world. Both books discuss what it means to be both Asian and American in a fun, light-hearted way while also having a really cute romance as a bonus!
I also really loved my friend Axie Oh’s XOXO. Axie’s writing is always amazing but even as her friend I was really taken aback by how grounded and profound (while still being fun!) her writing and worldbuilding was. It’s about a Korean American girl who falls in love with a K-pop star and meets new friends in that world.
Finally, I haven’t finished it yet but I’m loving I KISSED SHARA WHEELER so far. As a southerner (I’ve spent most of my life in Texas and Florida) who is also queer, the book really spoke to me in a way that I didn’t expect it to. The queer representation in the book, which is kind of like FLIP THE SCRIPT in that almost all the main characters are queer, haha, is really fantastic while the love-hate sapphic rivalry between Shara and Chloe is very intriguing. Again, I haven’t finished it yet so I don’t know how it’ll end but I’m excited to find out!
What’s next for you? Anything you can share?
I’m working on a new YA project that I can’t quite share about yet. But rest assured, it’s also very fun and very queer like my previous two YA books. Other than that, I recently announced more books in my Mindy Kim series for elementary school readers along with a brand new series for middle schoolers. People can follow my updates on social media, since I’m on TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter as literarylyla
ABOUT THE BOOK
The first rule of watching K-dramas: Never fall in love with the second lead.
As an avid watcher of K-dramas, Hana knows all the tropes to avoid when she finally lands a starring role in a buzzy new drama. And she can totally handle her fake co-star boyfriend who might be falling in love with her. After all, she promised the producers a contract romance, and that’s all they’re going to get from her.
But when showrunners bring on a new girl to challenge Hana’s role as main love interest—and worse, it’s someone Hana knows all too well—can Hana fight for her position on the show while falling for her on-screen rival in real life?
-K-drama lovers will fall for all the fan-favorite tropes that make for a hit show.
-Romance is everywhere in this swoony, joy-filled novel, with fake dating, a secret relationship, and a classic love triangle!
-Visit South Korea as Hana takes readers through popular spots and hidden gems.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lyla Lee is the author of young adult novels like I’ll Be the One and the upcoming Flip the Script (May 2022). She also writes the Mindy Kim series for younger readers. Born in South Korea, she’s since then lived in various cities throughout the United States. Inspired by her English teacher, she started writing her own stories in fourth grade and finished her first novel at the age of fourteen. After working various jobs in Hollywood and studying Psychology and Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, she now lives in Dallas, Texas. Visit Lyla at lylaleebooks.com or on social media (IG, Twitter, and TikTok @literarylyla).