Jessica Park is the author of the new hit YA novel “Flat-Out Love”. “Flat-Out Love” follows college freshman Julie on her endeavor to Boston. Julie ends up living with the Watkins family and falls for the two brothers: Finn and Matt. Jessica does not depict your typical romance triangle in FOL, and takes you on quite the emotional roller coaster ride. Jessica has also written “Relatively Famous”, five Gourmet Girl mysteries, and the e-shorts “Facebooking Rick Springfield” and “What The Kid Says” (Parts 1 & 2). Read our interview with Jessica below, and be sure to ‘like’ her on Facebook here.
What originally made you want to become an author?
“Fatigue from having a newborn baby. So I let my mother bully me into it. I was weak and defenseless.”
How did you come up with the concept for Flat-Out Love?
“The original storyline was a play on Snow White (you might see some remnants of that still!), but my plot got crazy complicated and I bagged it. I’d also seen this bananas blog some couple had done that featured a video of the two of them with a Flat Rick Springfield, carting him to stores, having him stand behind their lawn mower, hanging out of the car window… It was very odd. Funny, but also not totally funny because there was a creepy, sad element there that fascinated me. I started obsessing about WHY someone would have a Flat Somebody. What if it was a family member? The mix of humor and tragedy was a real draw.”
What is your all time favorite book?
“Oh, nooooo! What a horrible question! I just love Gone With the Wind. Talk about epic romance. The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy has stayed with me over the years. The movie was atrocious, but the book is unbelievably brilliant.”
What is the most recent book you’ve read?
“Oh, God, it’s been so long. That’s the thing about being a writer; you never have time to read! I think it may have been Easy by Tammara Webber, which I thought was wonderful. I highly recommend this to all high school and college girls.”
You included social media into Flat-Out Love. Are you more of a facebooker or tweeter?
“I’m a hardcore FB gal, always have been. But now that I feed my author page https://www.facebook.com/authorjessicapark into Twitter, I’m having a lot more fun over there. My problem is that I don’t like the word constraint. I’m a babbler.”
Julie has acrophobia. Was this trait based off anyone you personally know? Do you have any phobias?
“I really don’t care for heights myself. I don’t know that I’m a full-blown acrophobia, but… Yeah, I’m not a fan. I don’t actually have a panic attack or totally freak out, but I certainly won’t go on a Ferris wheel, and a few years ago my family was at Cadillac Mountain in Acadia, ME. We did the driving trip to the top of the mountain, and I absolutely could not go wandering around. It makes me sick to my stomach. Now, if Finn were there…”
Are any of the characters based off real people?
“Nooooooo. Well, maybe. I won’t tell.”
Are any of the scenes based off true experiences? Like Julie’s apartment fiasco? Or getting stuck in an elevator?
“Thank God, no. This is truly a work of fiction, although I have lived in some rather disgusting apartments in Boston before.”
What did you do for Thanksgiving?
“My husband, son, and I went down to MA and spent the day with my parents. Really an obscene amount of food for only the five of us, but I like to have a selection to choose from. Plus, Thanksgiving is really all about the leftovers, isn’t it?”
What is your favorite abbreviation or acronym?
What was the easiest and hardest scene from Flat-Out Love to write?
“I had so much fun writing the chapter when Julie puts hinges on Finn while Celeste stands by. I can still hear Celeste yelling, “Flat Finn is having second thoughts! Flat Finn is having second thoughts!” It’s a special chapter because although it’s very funny, it’s also pretty poignant. That day was a big deal for Celeste.
The hardest was probably the night of Celeste’s sleepover. I loved writing it, but there is so much intensity there and a whole array of emotions to cover. I had to manage the shift from one to the other in a way that felt natural. Lots of late nights of tweaking went into those scenes.”
Did you know all along how you wanted the book to end?
“Actually, the original ending was more comedic. And dumb. Author Heather Webber read my outline and called me. I can still hear her telling me the obvious and what I didn’t want to hear. She was totally right, of course; the ending of the book, the truth, was right in front of me, and I hadn’t wanted to see it.”
What is your favorite movie and TV show? (We’re guessing the movie may be Good Will Hunting?)
“Okay, yes, I do love that movie! I’m obsessed with Taken, also. I mean, how many good lines can a movie have? I tried to tally the body count last time, but couldn’t keep up. I’m a big 50 First Dates fan, too. For TV? Hm… so many to choose from. “24” and “Alias” are top shows from the past, and I’m currently enamored with “Downton Abbey”.”
What are you currently working on?
“I just finished writing a monster of a book that will be published by the YA/NA division of Amazon Children’s Publishing on May 21st. (I don’t think I’m allowed to reveal the title yet!) It’s a whopper love story set during my characters’ senior year of college. It’s very intense, very graphic in parts, and hopefully very moving. Sexy and passionate, but still with some very funny parts. It’s a big step up from FLAT-OUT LOVE, but I’m hoping that my readers will hang on for the ride.”