Thursday, August 5, 2021

Q&A with Suzanne Park




Suzanne Park is the author of the new novel So We Meet Again. Her other books include Loathe at First Sight. A former stand-up comedian, she lives in Los Angeles.


Q: What inspired you to write So We Meet Again, and how did you create your character Jess?


A: I have several female friends who work in finance, and over drinks one night they told me about some of the macro- and micro-aggressions they often faced in their Wall Street jobs. I left the restaurant that night knowing I needed to write about this.


Jess is a mix of all of those friends: she’s hard-working, determined, and sometimes underestimated. It didn’t take me long to fall into the right voice: Jess was someone I felt I knew well.


Q: The novel mostly takes place in Nashville--how important is setting to you in your writing?


A: In all of my novels, the setting is important because it plays a part in shaping who the character is.


I really enjoyed writing about my hometown in So We Meet Again: from the food to the hospitality, Nashville holds a special place in my heart and I wanted to make sure I paid homage to the place that influenced my upbringing.


The novel pays tribute to the “Old Nashville” I knew in my youth, and the new, bustling Nashville that had exploded in growth in the last decade.


Q: How would you describe the relationship between Jess and her mom? 


A: Loving, strained, and comical. It possibly mirrors my relationship with my own mother. *cough cough*


Q: Do you usually know how your novels will end before you start writing them, or do you make many changes along the way?


A: I usually know how I want the books to end, but not necessarily how all the threads will tie or weave together. I wanted Jessie and Daniel to reunite in the last big scene, but I didn’t exactly know how they’d resolve the conflict to put them on the same page.


Once I started writing the final scenes though, I was happy it all came together in a realistic way (whew!).


Q: What are you working on now? 


A: I just finished the manuscript for my 2022 YA holiday romcom and turned it in, so I have a few weeks before I start working on those edits.


Now I’m starting the brainstorming and early drafting process for my new adult book, The Do Over. It follows a Korean-American woman who finds out through a job-related background check that she never completed her college degree and has to go back to earn her final credits. While at school, she discovers that her grad student TA is her old college boyfriend.


This book comes out in Spring 2023 and I can’t wait for this release.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: I wrote So We Meet Again in the pandemic, right after turning in my YA book Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous (which I also wrote in 2020). So We Meet Again was a “comfort write,” a light-hearted book that also tackles heavier issues like sexism and racism. It’s meant to be a comfort read, so I hope it delivers.


--Interview with Deborah Kalb. Here's a previous Q&A with Suzanne Park.

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