Yfke thoroughly enjoyed reading Caleb Roehring’s White Rabbit and wanted to know more about the man who wrote that book. Let’s find out!
So, who is Caleb Roehrig? Can you describe yourself in five keywords?
Your third book, Death Prefers Blondes, recently came out. Congratulations! (I can’t wait to read it!) Does it get easier for you to write a book?
Certain aspects of writing get easier every time for sure. For instance, I understand my creative process better now, and what my strengths are, and I know how to structure my approach to emphasize those things; but writing is work, nonetheless, and certain aspects will always be difficult. DEATH PREFERS BLONDES was much harder to write than my previous novels, for example, because the scope of it was more ambitious. It’s an ensemble narrative with lots of action and overlapping plotlines…it required a ton of thought and planning. But I think if you’re not challenging yourself, then you’re not improving, and I hope I continue to grow with each new project!
Why did you start writing? What inspired you?
I’ve always loved reading and storytelling, regardless of the format, so growing up to be an author was a dream of mine since I was really little—but what got me started seriously was probably a short story writing class that I took in high school. It taught me how to develop my ideas and gave me a chance to really explore that part of my creative side. In fact, the very first full-length manuscript I ever completed grew from a short story that I wrote around that period. For the first time, I could see a whole universe expanding around characters I’d created, and I wanted to explore it. After I finished that work, I never looked back; I just kept on writing!
Do you have a particular process when you write? (morning or evening, special location, music or total silence, things like that)
I used to write in the afternoons, but now I am most definitely an evening writer. My routine is typically to go for a long run, because I use that time to organize my thoughts about what part of my novel, I’ll be tackling that day, and then to set myself up with my computer and a cup of green tea. I can’t write with too many distractions around, but I find that I also can’t write in complete silence either, so I have a white noise app that is a life-saver. What works for me is to set a daily word count goal, so that I can move the story forward at a decent pace, and give myself a schedule for when I can take breaks and when I’m allowed to pack it in for the night.
What do you enjoy more: working in television, or writing novels?
Television was an incredibly exciting field to work in, but I absolutely prefer writing novels, if only because it gives me more creative control than my work in production did. In a lot of ways, I still approach storytelling the way I did in TV, with a strong emphasis on the visual components; but from the conception to the execution, all of it comes from my imagination—as opposed to in television, where a finished episode is truly the result of constant collaboration between dozens of creators.
Who do you like to read?
I try to read really widely, especially when I’m writing, but some of my main inspirations from the world of adult fiction include Sue Grafton, Sara Paretsky, Armistead Maupin, Raymond Chandler, and Robert B. Parker; and on the YA side, Karen McManus, Kara Thomas, Tiffany Jackson, Becky Albertalli, Lily Anderson, Julian Winters, Tim Floreen, and Kiersten White are all auto-buy authors for me, just to name a few!
What do you consider to be essential for a great book?
For a great book, just in general, I think it’s necessary to have a protagonist people will want to root for, prose that’s fun to read, and a plot that contains genuine surprises—even if it’s not a mystery. But for a book to be great for me, personally, it needs to contain my three favorite things: murder, make-outs, and mayhem. I want high stakes and lots of kissing! (And preferably some good humor as well.)
Would you ever want to write a book in a different genre?
Exploring different genres—or bending them, or creating unlikely crossovers—is something that really appeals to me. My problem is that I often have trouble coming up with a satisfying plot that doesn’t involve murder or heists or some other kind of criminal activity. But I’ve considered trying my hand at horror, or maybe a little light sci-fi/fantasy, or even a romantic comedy. Maybe if I come up with the just the right story, I’ll dive into one of those genres.
LGBTQ+ seems to be a recurring theme in your books so far. Is it important to you to incorporate diversity (in terms of sexuality, gender, lifestyle) into your books?
It is definitely important to me to write inclusively. I had no access to positive, accurate LGBTQ+ representation when I was a teenager, and it would have changed my life if I had; so I write the books that I would have given to a younger me, and I hope that LGBTQ+ youth reading my stories now feel seen and understood. Beyond that, it’s equally important to me to include other underrepresented groups in the worlds I build, as well. Growing up, my friendship group was very diverse, and it benefited me greatly, so I like to reflect that reality in my work.
Reading your bio online, I get the idea that you love to travel. What’s your favorite destination so far? And where have you always wanted to go (but haven’t yet)?
Probably my favorite destination is Venice, Italy. It is such a gorgeous and romantic city, and despite being a major tourist destination, there are still thousands of places where you can find yourself alone with a postcard view and a cup of excellent coffee. As for places that are still on my list, well, I’ve never been to anywhere in Asia or South America, and I am dying to make a trip. Japan and Brazil have both been calling to me for ages!
Finally – what’s your favorite season of [RuPaul’s] DragRace? (mine is season 8 – I love Thorgy Thor, okay)
Okay, this one is HARD because I cannot narrow it down! So for me it’s a tie between seasons 3, 5, and 7. Raja, Manila, Alaska, Jinkx, Violet, Katya, Pearl, Trixie, and Miss Fame are some of my all-time favorite queens. I was living for their looks, and those seasons served up some incredible drama!