Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Love for FLAT OUT LOVE and a Contest!

About two months ago, Amazon recommended a book for me to read. I buy a lot of books through Amazon's recommendations, so when Jessica Park's FLAT OUT LOVE came up, I snatched it up.

I'm glad I did. The book was cute, funny and something I know my students would love (which is why I bought three paperback copies for my classroom). There's another reason why I liked this book...I'm a HUGE (and I mean HUGE) Gilmore Girls fan, and the dialogue in this book reminded me so much of a conversation between Rory and Lorelia. Seriously, what could be better than that?

I reached out to FOL's author, Jessica Park, and she agreed to let my interview her and give the book some love.

First...the plot summary...

Something is seriously off in the Watkins home. And Julie Seagle, college freshman, small-town Ohio transplant, and the newest resident of this Boston house, is determined to get to the bottom of it. When Julie's off-campus housing falls through, her mother's old college roommate, Erin Watkins, invites her to move in. The parents, Erin and Roger, are welcoming, but emotionally distant and academically driven to eccentric extremes. The middle child, Matt, is an MIT tech geek with a sweet side ... and the social skills of a spool of USB cable. The youngest, Celeste, is a frighteningly bright but freakishly fastidious 13-year-old who hauls around a life-sized cardboard cutout of her oldest brother almost everywhere she goes.

And there's that oldest brother, Finn: funny, gorgeous, smart, sensitive, almost emotionally available. Geographically? Definitely unavailable. That's because Finn is traveling the world and surfacing only for random Facebook chats, e-mails, and status updates. Before long, through late-night exchanges of disembodied text, he begins to stir something tender and silly and maybe even a little bit sexy in Julie's suddenly lonesome soul.

To Julie, the emotionally scrambled members of the Watkins family add up to something that ... well ... doesn't quite add up. Not until she forces a buried secret to the surface, eliciting a dramatic confrontation that threatens to tear the fragile Watkins family apart, does she get her answer.

The main character of FOL, Julie, is obsessed with Dunkin Doughnut Coolatta. What drink are you obsessed with?

Salted caramel lattes from Starbucks. We had a four-day power outage in November, and I holed up in our local Barnes and Noble, which conveniently has a Starbucks! I very quickly got addicted, and now I make my own version at home.

And what about food? What is a must to munch on while you write?

Chips, salsa, and guacamole. If I’m really in a writing groove, I can’t be bothered to stop and fix any kind of real meal, so… Besides, it’s a good excuse to inhale guac.

The daughter in the family that Julie is staying with has a cardboard cutout of her brother. What celebrity would you like to carry a life-sized cutout of?

Currently, Matt Nathanson. And I would attach an iPod and little speakers to it so that he could sing to me.

The book is told in a mixture of prose, instant messages and Facebook status updates. What is your most current Facebook status?

“This day and I are no longer friends. One of these days, Author Jamie McGuire and I will rule the world, and there will be no tolerance for idiocy.”

I went to school in Boston and am obsessed with the city. Why did you decide to set your story in Boston? What's your favorite part of the city?

I grew up just outside Boston and absolutely love it and the surrounding areas. Cambridge, in particular, is so perfect for Flat-Out Love. Not only is it an extremely academic city, but Harvard Square is the sort of place where absolutely anyone can fit it. Putting Matt and Julie there, for instance, gets them on equal footing. I have spent so much time in Harvard Square over the years and will never tire of its amazing energy.

What have you done lately that would get you coal in your stocking?

Moi? I can’t think of a thing….

What is on your Christmas list?

I want an Anakin Skywalker sound effects light saber. For real.

Who would win in a fight? Frosty or Rudolph?

Rudolph. He’s got those crazy hooves. Plus, I’m pretty sure that his red nose shoots out pepper spray.

Where is the strangest place you've ever written?

I’m pretty boring. I almost always write sitting propped up on my bed with the laptop, but sometimes I’ll even venture to the kitchen table. I like routine.

What book are you currently reading?

Halfway through Mockingjay.

Any New Year's resolutions?
Write a book!

What are you working on now?

I’m still working on some material for an enhanced edition app version of Flat-Out Love, but I’ve got an outline ready to go for a new book, so that’s up next!

Who are your favorite writers?

Just to name a few: Elinor Lipman, Pat Conroy, Brendan Dubois, Jamie McGuire, and Craig Lancaster.

Sound good? Here's where you can find the book:

And here's where you can learn more about Jessica:
Facebook: jumby24
Twitter: JessicaPark24

And as a special Christmas treat, I'm giving away an electronic copy of the book the one lucky winner. You'll have until midnight on December 22 to enter and all you have to do is fill out this form...


Lindsay :) said...

I love Matt Nathanson. His music is so relaxing.

This is an awesome post.

Kristan Hoffman said...

Haha, fun interview! The cardboard cutout is funny/interesting. I have one of Captain Picard that scares the crap out of people who aren't expecting it when they walk into my room. :P

Thanks for the giveaway opportunity, Rachele! I hear so many great things about FOL. :)

Bee said...

This book sounds brilliant and quirky and...GAH, I JUST SO WANT TO READ IT.

And the interview was just SO much fun to read!

Jessica Park said...

Thank you so much for having me here for such a fun interview! I love these quickfire questions. :)

Lisa Nowak said...

I read about this book a couple weeks ago on The Character Therapist blog and bought it. Now I just have to find time to read it. It sounds so interesting.