Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Author Interview - Jessica Park

Today, I would like to introduce to you, Jessica Park.
Author of Relatively Famous, her first stand alone novel.

I stumbled upon her novel accidentally and I'm so glad I have. As I was browsing through first novel debut authors, although she isn't one, I found this book with an interesting book cover.
After reading the book description I thought I might give this book a try. At this time, I was very sick of reading a series. So I started this book without expecting to like it that much.
But that's what I love about reading a book, it surprises you when you are least expected ! I found myself pulled by the story.
I don't know about you all, but I don't read tabloids or any type of gossip magazines. I mean things get around without you actually having to pay for a certain news. But this book was different. I found myself clinging to every detail just like everybody else. LOL
When asked for an interview, she was very kind and thorough. After reading the interview myself, I like her even more !
You will see what I mean. So, enjoy this and please check out her book and my review here.


Author's Blog 
http://yaauthorjessicapark.blogspot.com/

Author on Goodreads 
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/22159

Author's Books 
Relatively Famous  (Available in paperback and Kindle)

Steamed, A Gourmet Girl Mystery, #1  (4 more books in the series)




♠ Interview ♠


You've written the "Gourmet Girl Mysteries" before but "Relatively Famous" is your first young adult novel. Why did you change your genre? 


─ I loved writing the Gourmet Girl books, but after writing five, I was getting itchy to do something else. Writing a series has its advantages; it can be easier in many ways because you have your characters, setting, writing style, and other general guidelines all in place, and then you get to just play with the plot. But it can also feel constraining, especially when writing a cozy mystery, where there are a lot of “rules” about what you can and can’t do. RELATIVELY FAMOUS was a chance for me to explore other sides of my creativity, invent new characters and new relationships, and take on a completely different style from my other books. Plus, I love all that teenage angst stuff.

How did you come up with the idea of this story? I read your bio, and it doesn't seem like you've lived anywhere near Hollywood.


─ True, I don’t have any Hollywood experience. Sometimes writers write what we know, and other times we write what we might like to know…! There are a lot of TV shows, for instance, that play up the young-rich-and-stupid angle, and I wanted to write a book in that sort of setting but that had more heart. So even though the book has the backdrop of wealth and fame, at its heart, this is a book about relationships and coming-of-age struggles. The dichotomy between the superficial setting and the deep, meaningful relationship struggles is immense, so in many ways the Hollywood world heightened the intensity of the story.

Which character has most of your affection and why? 



─ Ah, that’s an easy one. Mark. I sort of fell in love with him by the end of the book. When we first meet him, he is such a self-serving, narcissistic jerk. He has no real emotional connections to anyone, and it appears that there is nothing redeeming about him. But, once his daughter, Dani, comes into his life, we slowly see him start to change. What I really love about his character is that it’s not that finding out that he is a father simply changes him. Rather, it awakens an old part of himself. We learn that he wasn’t always such a smarmy, career-hungry power-player, but that he used to be a man who was capable of loving others, and who came into the acting business out of a true passion for theater. Being with Dani reminds him of who he really is, and watching the shift in his character completely endeared him to me.

Which part of this book would you like to see on screen? (because I totally see this book becoming a motion picture !)

─ I really did picture this book as a movie while I was writing, so much of it does read like a screenplay, and there are a few I’d love to see! There is a scene in which Mark takes Dani camping and the two of them walk a short trail to reach a beautiful view. They sit together on old Adirondack chairs, and Mark is suddenly struck by how much he genuinely cares for her. Not much is said between the two, but it’s a major moment for Mark. Sniff, sniff. He’s a big ol’ sap inside.

Another scene that would be fun to see is when Dani goes to one of those totally over-the-top, extravagant birthday parties. She’s managed to get herself into a bit of a romantic mess, and things get heated and intense when she catches the guy she’s been dating with another girl. But that’s when she realizes… Well, I don’t want to ruin the scene for anyone who hasn’t read the book, but it would be awesome on film. J


What is the first sentence you wrote for this book?  Did you happen to keep it intact or did you rewrite it? 

─ First of all, let me say that writing the first sentence of a book is about as fun and scrubbing the toilet. There is nothing more wretched than staring at that taunting blinking cursor at the top of a blank page. I’ve learned to tell myself that I should just go ahead and write anything at all, and it doesn’t matter; I’ll go back and change it later. That takes the pressure off. And so funny enough, because the pressure is off, I can sometimes write a not so terrible first sentence, which is what happened with RELATIVELY FAMOUS.

What type of a writer are you? Do you schedule yourself to write everyday? And tell me one of you most compulsive book fetishes. (Like underlining, breaking spine etc.)

─ I used to be very disciplined when my son was younger and more demanding. When he was in preschool and kindergarten, I would start writing the second that he was out of the house and stop for the day when he came home. I’d often have a ton written by ten in the morning. And I certainly never wrote at night. Now that my son is nine, and more self-sufficient, I actually do my best writing in the afternoon and late evening.

I call myself a “snowball writer.” It can take me a while now to get going, but then once I hit my stride, it’s hard to get me to stop writing. The last manuscript that I wrote, I started in January. I think it took me three months to write a hundred pages, and it felt like I was never going to make it to the end. Then I finally “got it,” and I wrote another two hundred and fifty in the next three months. I was often up until midnight or one in the morning writing, my fingers totally cramped up from typing, and my vision swirling from having been staring at the glare of the laptop screen. I feel badly for anyone who tried to pull me out of the imaginary world that I was creating, because there were times that I practically dissociated from reality.

Look, if people are reading and they want to fold over pages and write in 'em and wreck books... fine by me. The more beaten up a book is, the more loved it is. Some people think that marking up a book is disrespectful, but I think that it shows a wonderful level of comfort. I will tell you that what does irk the daylights out of me, is when I buy a book on Kindle and it comes with millions of sections "highlighted." It feels like a used book, I don't care what other people highlighted. Really. It's distracting. There seem to be lots of complaints about this on the web, so I'm hoping this practice will be laid to rest very soon.

I gotta ask, is the main character "Dani/Danielle" anything like you when you were a teenager? If so in what way? 

─ Probably in some ways. She is compassionate and caring, the way I was, and easily swept up in romance. And I think that we can all relate to getting momentarily lured into behaving badly (cough, cough). But Dani is more level-headed and pragmatic than I was. She is pretty well composed for a teenager, so that makes it all the more fun when she breaks out of that composure.

What do you hope readers will get from reading this book? 

I think that RELATIVELY FAMOUS is a great reminder of our ability to change, to forgive, and to allow relationships to go through ups and downs. Dani and Mark both struggle to figure out their father/daughter relationship and bring different issues and personalities to the situation. The capacity to move on from the past and open your heart is something that we should always be open to. 

If you would like to add anything else, please feel free. ^_^ 
And once again, thanks for agreeing to do this interview ! 

Thank you so much for having me! I really want to acknowledge here how grateful authors are to bloggers. Whether going through a big publishers or self-publishing, our marketing funds are stretched pretty thin. Bloggers bring word-of-mouth to a whole new level. As I’ve been getting more involved with YA bloggers, I am continually astounded at the level of professionalism! Authors know how seriously you all take your blogs, and we appreciate your time and generosity more than we can say. Thank you!





2 comments:

Jessica Park said...

What an incredibly sweet introduction you gave me! Thank you so much for letting me stop by your blog!

Kathryn L. said...

don't mention it ! I had so much fun reading your responses to my questions ^_^

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