Happy publication day to K-Pop Idol Diaries by Go Futa (⭐⭐⭐⭐)! To celebrate this delightful debut of the series, I did an interview with the twin-duo author, Go Futa. Their insights into their writing process and extra details on the story give a perfect taste of what you can expect from their book. Plus, they provided bonus art that’s not included in the story! Keep reading below for the full interview, then check out the full review or grab your own copy from Amazon!
For a cute quick read, for anyone who’s all about the idol fandom, for a likable but realistic MC.
Gigi (or her rapper name, GG) is a 16-year-old from South Korea, who dreams of becoming an idol for the famed talent agency, One-Shot Entertainment. As fate would have it, Gigi is recruited as their newest trainee, but winds up in a situation far from what she ever dreamed of when she’s placed in an experimental unit group project code-named “SKS.” From there, Gigi’s new life as a K-Pop idol begins to unfold more like a K-Drama after she’s assigned to the newly defined co-ed unit SKS-7, and must adjust to working with 6 male bandmates who aren’t very thrilled by her placement in their group. Will Gigi be able to survive in SKS-7 and the world of Korean idol life, or will her dreams go up in flames as quickly as they were ignited?
Interview with Go Futa,
author of K-Pop Idol Diaries
All about the book
Q: Where did it all start from? What first made you want to write this story?
Go Futa: It happened to come during K-Con NY 2017! During the concert, an idea just sparked after watching the many boy and girl groups performing – what if there were a mixture of boys and girls in one group? What would that group’s dynamics be like? During this time, we weren’t aware of the co-ed group KARD, as they hadn’t officially debuted yet, so although the idea seemed interesting while we were discussing it, we weren’t sure if it had already been done before, or if it was just farfetched. However, once KARD debuted a short time later, we resurfaced the idea seeing as it wasn’t too farfetched, and decided to develop it further. Now, we had never written a story together before, but we were both really intrigued at the idea, and we both wanted to work on it, so that’s how K-Pop Idol Diaries was born.
Q: What was the first scene that you had imagined for this book?
Go Futa: I believe the first scene we imagined was the “coup” scene, as we were trying to figure out how the heck a girl be placed in a group of mostly boys without using the obvious gender-bender “twist.” Thus, we explored the possibility that Gigi would be coming from a girl group she didn’t fit in with and instead joins a boy group who was having issues with their line-up, and this by itself would create drama, so we decided to go with it. Naturally this scene went through many variations, including one where Gigi was actually in the room when the coup began! In the end, we believe the final version helped set the stage for what would come before, and after that fateful meeting.
Q: What kind of research did you do for your book on idol life and training? Where did that knowledge come from?
Go Futa: While we love K-Pop, we admittedly have zero knowledge of the industry beyond a fantasized view, so we scoured the internet for as much information as we could find. This research aspect was definitely the most difficult part of writing the book, as we wanted to do our due diligence, but we knew it would be impossible to be 100% accurate without actually being in the industry, so we just did our best using what was out there.
Q: GG has some rap features throughout the story. How did you write these portions? Do you have any experience yourself with rapping?
Go Futa: We wish! Fortunately, we have an older brother who’s a talented rapper and lyricist, so the moment we decided to have some rap portions in the book, we reached out to him to write up something for us. For the rap battle, he recruited a friend to “battle” with, so that was entertaining! If we didn’t have our bro, let’s just say the rap portions would have been omitted! Haha!
Q: What would be GGs top 5 played songs?
Go Futa: Great question! This is a tough one, but as a fan of hip-hop, G.G. would listen to a variety of Korean and American hip-hop artists. Her 5 most played songs would probably look something like the following:
⦁ A Boy by G Dragon
⦁ Haru Haru by Big Bang
⦁ Money by Cardi B.
⦁ Truth Hurts by Lizzo
⦁ Timeless by Drunken Tiger ft. RM
Getting into the process
Q: What is your best way to focus when working on the book? Ex: Listening to music, having a specific snack, going to a certain place
Go Futa: Listening to music is really helpful for focusing, and it also helps set the mood for specific scenes. Our go-to music comes from video game soundtracks like Final Fantasy or the Legend of Zelda series, as they carry so much emotion. I recall listening to “Beneath the Mask” from the Persona 5 OST when writing the scene with Gigi and her mom in the car, and that set the tone for getting into Gigi’s head perfectly. Despite the book being centered around K-Pop, listening to K-Pop while writing was too distracting as it makes you wanna sing or dance along, so that was a no! Haha!
Q: How is the art created? What determines which scenes will get a picture or not? It seemed to be mostly on important introductions of characters — GG’s family, SKS7, etc
Go Futa: From most Japanese light novels we’ve read, there are usually 1 or 2 illustrations in between that emphasize an important scene in the story, but when we read our original drafts over and over, 1 or 2 illustrations sprinkled here and there didn’t feel like enough. There were several parts in our story that we identified as crucial and just screamed to be illustrated, so our process involved combing over each chapter and identifying one scene that we believed was the most important scene for that chapter, then including that scene in a list of possible scenes to illustrate.
In the end, we narrowed down our list by selecting the scenes from the list that were the most exciting or important to the overall story. Still, despite those cuts, over half of the chapters in this volume include an illustration, so we think readers will enjoy seeing a scene play out as they read along the story.
Funnily, entry 0 (the intro of the story) had two illustrations, one of which included Gigi’s idol G6! However, there was concern that perhaps he looked far too similar to a particular idol he parodies, so in order to avoid a cease and desist, we chose to exclude this illustration from the book. However, we’d love to share it here, so that readers can imagine what G6 looks like!
Q: Did you also make the cover yourself?
Go Futa: Yes, we did actually, since we knew early on that we wanted the cover to feature Gigi holding the cover of her own diary, and we imagined that future volumes would have different variations of her holding her diary in some way. The inspiration for the style of the cover came from various Japanese shoujo manga covers that we own a ton of, and we selected our favorites as the template for the style and background of our cover.
Q: Congrats on your first book! How does it feel? What are some unexpected things you’ve learned in the process of writing and publishing your book?
Go Futa: Thank you! Honestly, we cannot believe this day has come! It feels surreal, amazing, and quite scary all at once. Putting something you love and feel protective of to be critiqued is hard, and hoping that someone appreciates the hard work you’ve put into it by buying and recommending your story is even harder in terms of stress. But it’s good that both of us are experiencing this journey together so that there’s always a positive half of Go Futa encouraging the other to remember the reason we decided to self-publish this story in the first place – to tell a fun story by K-Pop fans for K-Pop fans, and encourage others to pursue their dreams no matter how difficult it might be.
One of the more interesting things we learned in this process of self-publishing is that writing and editing our book wasn’t the hardest part. The hustle of promoting the book, bringing awareness via social media, and trying to contact reviewers who would be interested in reviewing the book was more difficult, stressful, and time consuming than we thought. But we’ve learned so much along the way that we can share with our siblings who are now inspired to publish books too. As the first in our family to publish a book, it feels like an accomplishment that was years in the making, and this is definitely a notch off of our respective bucket list!
Q: We’re very much left hanging at the end of the book… please tell me there’s going to be a second one! Any hints on if this is in progress?
Go Futa: Best believe there’s going to be a volume 2, and we’ve already gotten started on it. Our writing process is a bit unique since there’s two of us, and it involves us literally playing out our story with one of us portraying a group of characters and the other portraying another set, which results in dialogue in the form of a screenplay that is then adapted into a narrative as told by Gigi. There’s some really funny scenes to look forward to, along with new characters, and of course, more drama following SKS-7’s debut on MVNet. We believe the next volume will be worth the wait.
Learn about the author
Q: We see some band references in the book that feel familiar. Who are your favorite k-pop artists or groups?
Go Futa: Fans of the second generation of K-Pop will definitely catch nods or parodies of amazing idol groups such as Big Bang or Super Junior for example, and that’s because we’re fans of those groups ourselves. However, our introduction to K-Pop was actually through the third (current) generation of idols, so our own personal favorites are BTS (our ultimate group), NCT, Red Velvet, and Stray Kids. This current generation of artists definitely had an influence on how we developed the core members of SKS-7.
Q: What other hobbies do you have? What do you do when not writing?
Go Futa: Our friends always joke that we perhaps have too many hobbies! When we’re not writing, we enjoy watching anime, reading manga, playing video games, cosplaying at comic conventions, and traveling. We’ve been to South Korea twice, and have been to Japan numerous times, including for a summer semester abroad in Kyoto when we were university students. Needless to say, we enjoy experiencing different cultures, and we hope that shows in our writing.
Q: Anything else you’d like to share with readers?
Go Futa: We’d first like to thank anyone who has an interest in our series. This moment has been 3 years in the making, but it feels like yesterday that we started our first draft of characters for what would eventually become SKS-7. Since then, we have developed some very interesting storylines that we cannot wait to write and illustrate and share with you all. We believe those who stick around will be rewarded with a fun pastime they cannot put down. Please look forward to more drama and fun in volume 2 and beyond!
Big thanks to Go Futa for the interview! Getting to know more about the behind-the-scenes of the book was incredibly fun and adds a flavor of insight to the characters. If the interview has you curious about the book, take a look at the full review here or swing by Amazon to get a copy of their self-published debut!