Today I have Jessica Park YA author of Flat Out Love in the spotlight!!
Hi Jessica, welcome to the blog, what inspired you to write FLAT OUT LOVE?
Indie publishing—Why do you think it’s becoming so popular?
Flat-Out Love was rejected by every single major publisher out there. All said that my heroine, Julie, was categorically too old for YA and too young for adult readers. No one would read this book. They also believed that there was no market for a non-paranormal/”realistic fiction” book. I was really ticked off, to be honest. I knew that I’d written a strong book, and didn’t understand that while all the editors who’d read it seemed to love it, they weren’t going with their instincts that it was a viable book option. I’d been willing to sell the book to a publisher for a decent advance only, and when that didn’t happen, a large part of me was relieved (and actually thrilled) that I didn’t have to deal with a publisher. It was clear to me that there was so much chaos and poor decision-making going on in that world, and I didn’t particularly want to be a victim of their increasingly poor choices. The money is often terrible and infrequently paid out, and the drag time between submitting a book and an actual publication date is obscene. They price too high, and my workload is the same whether I’m with a publisher or on my own.
Many authors who self-publish have written for major publishing houses and have decided to separate themselves from what are often raw deals. Indie authors are paid every month, and we’re in complete control of our business, which includes our pricing, covers, marketing strategies, and, of course, story content. Oh, and there are no deadlines! Only self-imposed ones, which, as we all know, are flexible when life gets in the way. Other indie writers are first-time authors who have never approached a publisher or who have spent years struggling to find an agent and buyer for their book. There are some amazingly talented indie authors who simply wrote stories that editors didn’t believe in. Readers very often prove publishing houses wrong. I hit #5 on Amazon’s paid Kindle chart and sold over 65,000 copies of a book that editors assured me would never sell. So they can be wrong.
FLAT OUT LOVE has become a movie; who is playing your main character(s) and why?
How fun would that be, huh? Every author fantasizes about his or her book becoming a movie, and I’m no different… Except for the fact that I cannot figure out how to cast mine! I do know that I’ve always felt a movie version should have a real indie feel to it, like a Juno or Little Miss Sunshine. A quieter movie that isn’t jammed up with Hollywood glitz. So I guess that I’d prefer lesser-known or unknown actors to fill the parts.
What top three indie books would you recommend to readers and why?
On The Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves is getting rave reviews and really resonating with readers, and Double Clutch by Liz Reinhardt is also a clear hit. These are two indie women who are definitely building an audience, and they’re authors to keep an eye on. Both are strong writers who are giving readers delightfully fulfilling reads.
What’s on the horizon for JESSICA PARK?
I’m in the early stages of a new book. It’s another older YA book with lots of romance with a focus on how the past (especially past trauma of various sorts) affects the ability to accept or sustain a relationship later in life. There is a lot of crisscrossing of paths and issues around the timing of a romance. While it has some pretty heavy themes, there will also be lots of humor, of course. I just can’t write something deadly serious and morose. I like the funny moments to balance out the tougher times.
I’m also very excited about the enhanced edition app version of Flat-Out Love that will be released this spring. I’ve been working with an app group called Digiglyph, and we are building a wonderful new version of the book that comes with author commentary, extra chapters, and tons of multi-media. You can read more about it here http://digiglyph.org/flat-out-love/ and sign up for updates about the app. I also have a blog http://flatoutlove.blogspot.com/2012/01/kickstart-my-heart.html that goes into even more detail about the project and how we’ve been lucky enough to pair up with an amazing indie band out of Boston called In Like Lions.
What do you want readers to walk away with after reading your book?
That’s a hard question to answer. Different readers focus on different aspects of the book. For some, Flat-Out Love is mostly a character study about a family in pain, for some it’s about Julie’s healing relationships, and for others it’s primarily a romance. The letters that I get from readers address so many sides of the story, and everyone seems to have their own favorite part.
But one of the pieces of the story that I hope people leave with is that we shouldn’t judge others according to social pressure. We need to look past social norms and see individuals for who they are, because very often, behind seemingly odd or supposedly unpopular exteriors, are some amazing people. People who can become family or important friends, and people who we can fall in love with. Look past what you are taught to find appealing.
Great advice Jessica! Thank you so much for being on the blog today and taking part in this event. Im so excited to read Flat Out Love.
Guess what my peeps? Jessica is awesome and is giving away a copy of her book Flat Out Love in an Ebook edition. To enter just leave a comment. All winners will be announced at the end of the event.
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.