You’ve probably seen it all over TikTok, everyone raving about the newly released book found on Amazon, Call It What You Want, by self-published author Alissa DeRogatis.
What’s hidden between the pretty bright pink covers is a true masterpiece. A relatable story about the realities of a situation-ship. No one ever talks about that one person they never really dated but fell hard for. This book is one of the few that describes every detail, emotion, and event during a long-term situation-ship.
I got the opportunity to interview DeRogatis about her inspiration behind writing her successful story and what the journey of creating such a relatable book looked like for her.
Photo Credit: Alissa DeRogatis
Passion for Writing
The 2018 UNC Charlotte graduate, explained how she has always “had a very imaginative and creative personality” ever since her childhood. Alissa recalls being gifted the “Young Authors Award” in the third grade, which got her invited to a summer writing camp. Little did she know that her passion for writing would later be something she could use to express her feelings and eventful life experiences.
DeRogatis wrote for Her Campus and The Odyssey while in college, which sparked her interest in writing about lifestyle and dating pieces. “Once I graduated and kickstarted a career in social media, I didn’t write as much for fun only when I had really big feelings. I picked it back up again after a breakup and that’s when Call It What You Want started.” Despite a long-term unconventional relationship breakup, Alissa was able to process her emotions through writing and help young people all over the world feel seen and heard.
From Real Life to the Pages
As some readers may know, Call It What You Want is fiction, yet Alissa’s inspiration stems from her own personal experience with what she describes as “a very long-term on/off relationship I’d been in since college ended. He was my first love and my first heartbreak.”
In the summer of 2022, her relationship ended, which is when she decided to turn to writing again. For many young women and men, it’s hard to find a relatable story that justifies feelings of confusion after an unconventional relationship or “situation-ship” ends. DeRogatis explained how these emotions are not uncommon, “I felt like I had to justify why I was so hurt over someone I wasn’t dating”.
This feeling is so familiar and hits home to many, so by writing this novel she created a piece where people can find a community that understands them. She recalls feeling at a loss for words when having to explain her situation, “Most of our relationship was dating without a label and I remember how hard it was to explain to people, not only while I was with him but even after we ended.”
Although the plot to Call It What You Want, as Alissa describes it, "is completely different from the relationship I went through, I couldn't help but feel like I was reliving those feelings of unrequited love and never feeling good enough for commitment" these events and feelings are all very real to many and this book created a source for the heartbroken to turn to help pick up the pieces. As a new author, DeRogatis learned a couple of things throughout her journey of writing her book, "All in all, it took me under a year to write and I think a big part of being able to start moving on from that relationship started once I was done drafting".
Secondly, "I've learned a lot in terms of investing in editors and not rushing the process", she tells us.
Photo Credit: Alissa DeRogatis
Behind all the trial and tribulation that the main character endures in Call It What You Want, there is a true purpose for why it was written. "I'd like to think that Call It What You Want is one of the first novels that introduces unconventional relationships and doesn't romanticize every interaction within them", Alissa continues, "The purpose in writing Call It What You Want was to write for those girls (and guys) like me who lost themselves in someone else – whether it was someone they were dating or weren't dating."
As an avid reader, I can wholeheartedly say that no book I have read so far has been as relatable, deep, or meaningful as Call It What You Want has been. You can truly tell that Alissa wrote this book with the purpose of helping readers "feel less alone and more understood", she expressed.
After The Release
Soon after releasing Call It What You Want, Alissa received so much love and support from many who confided in her, "I think my favorite part is the private messages I receive saying that it's helped some people heal, understand their feelings or get closure after years of searching for it" she shared, "It's really gotten so much more love than I could've ever imagined! I'm so grateful."
Be sure to get excited and follow Alissa's socials linked down below to stay tuned for her next release, as I asked her if there was any new writing in the works, "I can't say much, but book 2 is well underway!".
After all, Call It What You Want has been a huge hit and success. From helping herself heal to guiding readers through their own journey, DeRogatis truly captured what it means to be in a long-term situation-ship all while juggling the events and feelings that come with it. She wants readers to know, "Love is hard, it's complicated and it doesn't always make sense, but nevertheless, it was love".