Author Interviews

From the Drafts to Published: Interview with Sonora Reyes, Author of the Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School

Welcome back to my blog! I’m back again with another installment of From the Drafts to Published! I’m here with Sonora Reyes, Author of the Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School!

I invited Sonora Reyes to chat about themselves and their debut, The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School, which releases on May 17th, 2022! I actually received an arc of The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School which I won in a giveaway that Sonora held and I absolutely adored it from beginning to end!

I would definitely recommend you check out their new debut once it releases!

Without Further Ado, Let’s get started!

Synopsis for The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School:

Sixteen-year-old Yamilet Flores prefers to be known for her killer eyeliner, not for being one of the only Mexican kids at her new, mostly white, very rich Catholic school. But at least here no one knows she’s gay, and Yami intends to keep it that way.

After being outed by her crush and ex-best friend before transferring to Slayton Catholic, Yami has new priorities: keep her brother out of trouble, make her mom proud, and, most importantly, don’t fall in love. Granted, she’s never been great at any of those things, but that’s a problem for Future Yami.

The thing is, it’s hard to fake being straight when Bo, the only openly queer girl at school, is so annoyingly perfect. And smart. And talented. And cute. So cute. Either way, Yami isn’t going to make the same mistake again. If word got back to her mom, she could face a lot worse than rejection. So she’ll have to start asking, WWSGD: What would a straight girl do?

Told in a captivating voice that is by turns hilarious, vulnerable, and searingly honest, The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School explores the joys and heartaches of living your full truth out loud.

Welcome Sonora! Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to join us today on Inking & Thinking! To begin, Can you tell us a little about yourself and your upcoming debut novel?

Thank you so much for having me!

I’m Sonora Reyes, author of The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School, which follows 16-year-old Yamilet as she volunteers to follow her brother to a mostly-white Catholic school to keep him out of trouble, since he’s been getting into fights. What she doesn’t tell him is that she could use a fresh start of her own, since she just got rejected and outed by her ex-best friend and crush at their old school. At Catholic school, Yamilet vows to never fall in love again—but the only openly queer girl at school challenges her will almost immediately.

The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School is a story that explores the ups and downs of finding your identity while trying to be true to yourself. Have these themes been present since the first draft? If not, how have they changed?

While the themes have been there from the start, they’ve definitely deepened over time. I knew from the beginning that this would be a coming out book, but as I wrote it, it became clear how much care needed to be put into that kind of narrative. In this book, Yami gets a second chance to come out, this time on her own terms. She can take the time she needs to explore who she is and really understand herself before letting anyone else in on it. While writing this book, Yami showed me how beautiful coming out on your own terms can be, all the ups and downs included.

If you could meet your characters, what would you say to each of them?

  • To Yami: I love you, I’m proud of you, you’re doing amazing! Keep going!
  • To Cesar, after hugging him for way too long: I LOVE YOUUUUU!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • To Bo: Thank you for being the role model Yami (and high school me!) needed. I LOVE YOU!

Without spoiling much, what is your favorite scene from The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School? 

I loved writing the Baile Folklórico performance scene! I used to do Baile Folklórico when I was little, so writing down all the feelings that dance would give me made me so happy!

The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School is scheduled to be released on May 17th, which must be so exciting! How has this journey been for you, especially as a debut author? 

It is incredibly exciting! The journey has been long. I revised the book with my agent for a year before going on submission, then after selling the book, it was another two years for it to come out. So, needless to say, I am SO READY for this book to be out in the world!

You have been a huge advocate for queer writers of color to come together to share their work, and you’re the creator of #QPOCChat on Twitter! What inspired you to create a chat for queer writers of color to share their work? 

Thank you! I actually thought that there already was a chat for queer writers of color, and I was looking forward to finding it and participating! But when I realized that I was mistaken, I decided to start it myself, since I really really wanted it to exist lol.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors currently in the process of writing their own stories?

Take care of yourself first and foremost. Take breaks when you need them, step away when you need to, and try to have fun with it when you can! The worst thing that can happen is to burn yourself out and lose your love of writing. This industry can be so hard to predict, and the rejections can really take a toll, so remember to take care of yourself and do what you need to do to keep your love of storytelling alive! For me, I made sure I had a couple of close friends who I could rave to about all my new ideas. Hearing their excitement about my stories really revved me up to be able to write more!

What’s the next step for you? Do you have any future projects in the works currently?

Ohoho do I ☺ I have quite a few works in progress, but my next book will be coming out in about a year! It’s a #MeToo revenge book with a queer autistic protagonist!

Thank you so much for deciding to do this interview! I’m so excited for when readers will finally be able to get their hands on this incredible story you’ve written! 

Thank you so much!! ❤ 

Sonora currently lives in Arizona in a multi-generational family home with a small pack of dogs who run the place. Outside of writing, Sonora loves dancing, singing karaoke, and playing with their baby nephew.

They write fiction full of queer and Latinx characters in a variety of genres, with current projects in both kidlit and adult categories. Sonora is also the creator and host of the Twitter chat #QPOCChat, a monthly community-building chat for queer writers of color.

You can find Sonora on twitter at @SonoraReyes and get exclusive updates and blog posts by subscribing HERE

Will you be picking up The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School when it releases? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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