Wednesday, November 23, 2011

HOLLYWOOD SPY'S EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH BESTSELLING AUTHOR SAMUEL PARK THE WRITER OF "THIS BURNS MY HEART" FROM AMAZON'S TOP 100 BOOKS OF 2011! PLUS EXCLUSIVE GIVEAWAY!

 Continuing the popular series of HOLLYWOOD SPY'S EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS, today I'm chatting with one of my dear friends, bestselling, utterly wise and super charming author Samuel Park, the writer of THIS BURNS MY HEART novel, published for one of world's most famous publishing houses
SIMON & SCHUSTER.

The book just got into Amazon's top 100 best books of 2011 list. Ever so kind, Samuel gave me one copy of his novel for a giveaway, so leave a comment on the post, and I will announce the lucky winner this Saturday!
Originally born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Korean-American author Samuel Park graduated from Stanford University and USC, where he earned his doctorate in English. He lives in Chicago, where he is an Assistant Professor of English at Columbia College.

DEZZ SAM, TELL ME SOMETHING ABOUT THE STORY OF YOUR NOVEL "THIS BURNS MY HEART", AND TELL ME WHERE DID YOU FIND THE INSPIRATION FOR IT? I HEARD IT'S A VERY PERSONAL STORY.
SAM This Burns My Heart is about a woman who has to choose between two men, and makes the wrong choice. Then, she has to figure out how to live her life once she has that burden, and realizes she's a much stronger person than she thought. The book is inspired by something that happened to my mother in real life. The day before her wedding, a stranger asked her to go on a date with him. She said No, of course, but she spent the rest of her life wondering who that man was, and what would've happened if she'd chosen him instead of my father.

DEZZ THAT PLOT IS EXTREMELY INTRIGUING, SAM! "THIS BURNS MY HEART" HAS BEEN PUBLISHED BY ONE OF WORLD'S BIGGEST PUBLISHERS "SIMON & SCHUSTER", IT IS NOW IN AMAZON'S TOP 100 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR, YOU GOT AMAZING REVIEWS, A PRAISE FROM "PEOPLE MAGAZINE" AND AUDREY NIFFENEGGER THE AUTHOR OF "THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE" AND MANY OTHER WORLD WIDE FAMOUS WRITERS, SO, SAM, HOW DO YOU LIKE ALL THE REACTIONS, THE SALES, THE SUCCESS? WHAT HAVE YOU ENJOYED MOST?
SAM I was completely surprised by all the exciting things that happened. When I got that blurb from Audrey Niffenegger, I was on the phone with a friend and I literally started screaming, "Oh my God! Oh my God!" And then when I found out about the Amazon thing (a fellow blogger, Sherrie Petersen, actually told me about that), I actually thought it was a mistake, and I kept refreshing the page over and over. I thought it was a kindle thing; I couldn't believe it was the actual Best of the Month thing. And then the host of the Today Show talked about the book on-air, and it was completely surreal. I enjoyed all of these things- but one of the things I've enjoyed the most is hearing from women of that actual generation- Korean women who are now in their 60s and 70s. I had one such reader come up to me after a reading and tell me how "Korean" the book is, and how true it felt to her own knowledge of Korea -that was really nice.

DEZZ THAT MUST HAVE FELT GRATIFYING, SAM, BUT I'M NOT SURPRISED SINCE "THIS BURNS MY HEART" SEEMS QUITE EPIC AND ROMANTIC. HAVE YOU THOUGHT OF A MOVIE OR TV ADAPTATION? WHICH DIRECTORS AND ACTORS WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE IN IT?
SAM I think the book would be too hard to adapt -it would have to be at least three hours long and cost a gazillion dollars. It has so many different periods, settings, and a huge cast. If there were to be a film adaptation, I feel like it should be done by Korean filmmakers and actors in Korea. I'm a big fan of Korean cinema, especially directors like Bong Joon-Ho ("Mother") and Kim Ki-Duk ("Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring"). For the part of Soo-Ja, I picture someone like Han Hyo-Joo, who I think is a brilliant actress. She's done mostly TV dramas in Korea, but she has an air of decency and quiet strength that really fits Soo-Ja, the heroine.

DEZZ AND DO YOU SEE MOVIES AND TV AS A SOURCE OF CREATIVE INSPIRATION? I KNOW THAT YOU DIRECTED A SHORT MOVIE BASED ON YOUR NOVELLA "SHAKESPEARE'S SONNETS"
SAM I absolutely do. I get a lot of inspiration from movies, as I find them to be incredibly immediate and powerful. I watched a lot of old Korean films as part of my research, and one in particular, "Madame Freedom," had a huge influence on the book. The movie documents really well the impact of Western music and fashions on 60s Korea, and that's one of the subplots of the book -the struggle between ancient traditions of filial and parental duty versus the temptations of Western beliefs in individualism and freedom.

 THIS BURNS MY HEART
Samuel Park’s epic tale THIS BURNS MY HEART begins the day before Soo-Ja Choi’s marriage, as a mysterious and handsome doctor approaches her for a date. She declines the invitation, choosing instead a world that leaves her trapped with suffocating customs. In a post-war
South Korea torn between past and present, Soo-Ja struggles to find happiness in a loveless marriage—and to carve out a successful future for her only daughter. But in a land where wives have no rights and mothers own little, her only hope for survival is to remember the lessons of the four tenets of Confucian tradition: perseverance, strength, loyalty and grace. Will this be enough to lead a beautiful and ambitious young woman to fulfillment or will she be forced to live out her days wondering, “What if?”
Drawing from the memories of his mother, Samuel Park masterfully weaves together an enduring and sensitively told love story with a portrait of a nation rising out of poverty into a major world power. THIS BURNS MY HEART is a memorable debut that is destined to become a classic love story.

I made the short film in L.A., back when I lived there. It's impossible to live in L.A. and not make films! They hand you a high-def camera and Final Draft when you land in the airport. But seriously, I was very lucky to work with some really impressive people. I don't see myself directing again, but it was a really fun experience. Sometimes when you're in love with a story, you want to see it in different forms -as a play, as a short film, as a book. It's like dressing up your lover in different outfits. You get to rediscover and re-engage each time.

DEZZ PUTTING FILMS ASIDE, SAM, SINCE HOLLYWOOD SPY IS READ BY TONES OF FELLOW WRITERS, DO YOU HAVE SOME ADVICE FOR THEM?
SAM My advice is to write about things that you are truly, genuinely invested in, instead of chasing trends or genres. If you care deeply about what you're saying, the reader will smell your investment and get equally engaged. Having said that, you have to write in a genre that sells. What I'd do is look at the New York
Times best seller (adult or young adult), and see what's a book that you could've written or would be interested in writing. Then write a book similar to that book, in terms of genre. Also, remember that writing is not a lottery ticket, a means to make money -writing is about loving a craft that makes you feel a sense of mastery, makes you feel good about yourself. Everything else -money, attention, publication- is gravy. Having said that, it's particularly yummy tasting gravy!
Another piece of advice I would give is to be patient. Writers often expect to sell a book too soon. I've been writing seriously since I was 18 years old, when I started to have plays produced. That's an almost two-decade period of apprenticeship. I do strongly believe that everyone has their moment -it just comes at different times for different people. Some writers get published in their early 20s, and we never hear from them again. Some reach their peak in their 50s. Everyone's on a different path, and so it's pointless to feel envious. No one else can write the book that you want to write. I personally think it's better to toil in anonymity for years and then sell a book, then sell a book early on and never be able to match that success again.

DEZZ  I'M SURE YOU'VE ENJOYED YOUR GRAVY, SAM :) BUT AFTER THE MEGA SUCCESS OF YOUR NOVEL, I GUESS YOU FEEL THE PRESSURE OF WRITING A NEW BOOK. ANY PLANS? GIVE US SOME WORLD EXCLUSIVE INFO ON YOUR W.I.P. :)
SAM Well, I actually don't know that much about the new book myself, as I've just started it, but I can tell you it's about a mother/daughter relationship. In that sense, it's similar to THIS BURNS MY HEART. I have a poet friend who tells me that the germ for every new book of poetry can be found in the preceding book. So I guess the new book will expand on the mother-daughter theme, which is one of many themes in THIS BURNS MY HEART. Rest assured, though, that as soon as I know more, I will give you that exclusive info that you want! Anything for Hollywood Spy!
DEZZ OH, I LOVE IT WHEN YOU'RE AIMING TO PLEASE THE SPY :) BESIDE WRITING, YOU ARE ALSO A PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH AT COLUMBIA COLLEGE, BUT WHAT DOES SAM DO IN HIS FREE TIME? IS THERE ANY TIME FOR HOBBIES? WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE
NOT WITH YOUR STUDENTS AND WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORLD'S NEW WRITING SENSATION? :)
SAM Oh, I love the way you describe that! Can I put that on a sticker for my car windows? :) My hobbies, to be honest, consist mostly of watching TV. I watch an embarrassing amount of reality television: Survivor, Top Chef, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Wow, writing that, I'm realizing how lame I am; I may have to pick up a few new hobbies soon...

DEZZ AH, AS IF YOU WOULD HAVE TIME FOR A HOBBY BESIDE WRITING WORLD'S NEXT BESTSELLER, SAM :) I MUST THANK YOU FOR THE LOVELY CHAT, YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I ENJOY OUR LITTLE TALKS. 
SAM Thank you so much for having me on your blog. It's been an absolute pleasure and honor! Very glad we're pals!

TO WIN A COPY OF "THIS BURNS MY HEART" LEAVE A COMMENT. YOU GET ADDITIONAL POINTS IF YOU POST THE COVER OR THE RIGHTSIDE BAR ADD FOR THE INTERVIEW ALONG WITH THE LINK AT YOUR SITE :) 

28 comments:

  1. That is cool. Thanks for the interview!

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  2. Great interview and how can one not read after your introduction. I don't know if I can forgive all that reality television though, just ewww..hahaha

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  3. Congrats to Sam!!! Dezz, I think I found your blog through his blog many months ago!!

    Wonderful, thorough interview, gentlemen. And my sister is a professor at Columbia College in Chicago too!!

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  4. @Javid
    glad you liked it

    @Pat
    thanks, Pat. Yep, watching reality shows is a huge sin of our dear Sammy :) We shall make him repent for it :)))

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  5. @Kelly
    it's possible, Kelly, although you and I know each other for years now :)
    How interesting, maybe Sam knows your sis :)

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  6. Great interview. I agree wholeheartedly about writers not chasing genre trends. It's true that authenticity shines through if the story is told from a author's heart .

    Congratulations on the book's success!

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  7. glad you liked the interview, Luanne, and I wish nobody would follow trends in writing, and that everybody would just try to be original and unique, but it ain't gonna happen :(

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  8. Wow,Sam, you've had such wonderful success for your book. It sounds truly special. I also like your advice that writing is not a lottery ticket. So, so true.
    Thanks, Dezzy, for the brilliant interview!

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  9. Kudos for Samuel! Fantastic news. I'm so thrilled for him. This Burns My Heart, will definitely be on my 'to be read' list :)

    Excellent interview, Dezmond :)

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  10. @Lyndy
    thanks, Lyndylove, isn't Sam's success mega exciting :)

    @Wendy
    glad you liked our little talk, Wendy, and I'm equally thrilled for Sam! :)

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  11. well, thanks for having the need to tell us that, Adam, I'm sure Sam hasn't heard about you either.

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  12. Another great interview Dezz! A wonderful introduction for me to Sam Park. As someone who was also raised in two cultures and also as a story of mothers and daughters I think I will like this book. I also need to explore Korean films. Thank you Dezz and Sam.

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  13. My heart broke instantly upon reading the intro :) nevertheless I'll be reading this as soon as I'm done with my current classic read which is more of a chore. Lovely interview gents! Thanks Sam for those honest replies - I'm always amazed when a male writer is able to write from a women's point of view. Besides the premise of the story - what if .. - I love the cultural setting - always appreciate insight into another time, place & culture -

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  14. @Fabo
    thanks, Myri dearest :) Glad you found a connection with Sam and his book, I'm sure you will love reading it

    @Fanny
    he he he the book really is a heartbreaker, and so is Sammy :) Thanks for popping over, my dear

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  15. Great interview! Congrats on the success of your book, Samuel. It's hard enough to get a book published, let alone having it be a best seller. That is quite a feat. I like the title of your book, too!

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  16. Dezzy - Fantastic interview (as usual). Love the covers for his novel. So gorgeous! =D

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  17. @Flixy
    glad you liked it, and Sam was in doubt about the title of the book, I remember when we even talked about the possible title at his site last year, one of the options was FOUR GENTLEMEN FLOWERS, Sam will correct me if I'm mistaken :)

    @Shells
    the covers are delightful, aren't they? :)

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  18. Awesome interview, Dezz. This book sounds amazing and being female-centric I am adding to the top of my to buy list. I love that Sam lives right here in Chicago. I pass by Columbia College every day on my way to work.

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  19. Lovely interview, Sam looks like a very nice man. Just like Ruth said,the title is interesting. I like the cover with the silhouette lady, very beautiful.

    But Dezzy, although I do enjoy reading the interview and decide to leave a comment, you don't have to put me for the giveaway.You can give it to some one who loves reading romantic book...I am more of a bloody and thrilling kinda book reader ;)

    To Sam...you''re such an inspiration for a small writer like me :) maybe I can write a full novel too one day (publish or not is secondary wish)

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  20. Great interview Dezzy! Sam's book got my interest; I would like to know more about Korean culture and the role of women in their society. The premise of a mother/daughter relationship and a possible cultural generation clash sounds really promising.
    Thank you both for this great interview!

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  21. Good interview Dezz.

    Congratulations Sam. What a great response to the book. That much be very gratifying.



    Lee
    A Faraway View

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  22. @Melsy
    glad you liked the interview, Melsy, and you should visit Sam for a coffee one of these days and gossip a bit about me :) I love when people gossip about me :)

    @Novia
    glad you liked our talk, Novia, and yes, that cover is really gorgeous and romantic and special

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  23. @Summer
    thanks for dropping by, Summer dearest :) And I also find it very tempting to learn more about Korean culture and the clash of Asian and Western rules

    @Arlee
    thanks, Lee!
    glad you liked the talk!

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  24. Hi Dezz,

    Thank you so much for letting me be a part of your blog! An absolute honor and a pleasure! Dezz asked me to comment on comments, so I hope folks don't mind if I intrude here :)

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  25. @Javid--thanks for stopping by!

    @Pat--thank you for your comment.

    @Kelly--What a lovely coincidence! Very glad I share that in common with your sister. Wonderful to catch up with you!

    @Wendy--thank you so much for your kind words! So glad you came by Dezz's blog and left that comment. Hope all's great with you!

    @L.G. Smith--thank you so much! Wish you all the best with your own work!

    @Lynda--Thank you for the incredibly kind and generous comment. I really appreciate it. It reminds how writers are often so supportive of each other.

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  26. @Arlee Bird--thank you for commenting--and I agree with you that Dezz asked some great questions!

    @Summer--thank you for your interest in the book--nothing feels as gratifying than to hear that someone has connected with the subject matter/theme of your book. You absolutely made my day.

    @Novroz--I'm so glad you like the cover for the paperback--I do, too! And I wish you the absolute best with finishing your novel (and publishing it!)

    @Melissa--so nice to hear from a fellow Chicagoan! I Heart female-centric books, and those are the only kind I read (and write), so I'm with you on that one. (Though, who knows, maybe I'll write a male-centric book eventually. :) Thank you for your comment!

    @RaShelle--So glad you left such a great note for Dezz--I loved what he did with the interview--very eye popping lay out and presentation!

    @Ruth--thank you for the kind words! So glad you stopped by.

    @Fanny--Your comment just completely made my day--thank you thank you thank you. You've made this writer very happy. I haven't heard someone say something this kind about the premise of the novel in a while!

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  27. Thanks for answering the comments of all of these lovely people, Sammy, I'm sure their kind words made your day, and possible the whole week :)) And thanks for making one of these people happy by giving one copy of your book to the lucky winner (which will be announced on Saturday)

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GIVE SOME LOVE TO YOUR DEZZY :)

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