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Jennifer Vido | Jen's Jewels Interview: ONE LAST WORD by Suzanne Park

One Last Word
Suzanne Park




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April 2024
On Sale: April 16, 2024
Featuring: Harry Shim; Sara Chae
384 pages
ISBN: 0063216094
EAN: 9780063216099
Kindle: B0CC5TV966
Paperback / e-Book / audiobook
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Also by Suzanne Park:
One Last Word, April 2024
The Do-Over, April 2023
So We Meet Again, August 2021
Loathe at First Sight, August 2020

Hey there, bookworms! It's time to cozy up with another edition of Jen's Jewels, where we dish all the juicy details straight from the authors themselves. This week, we're chatting with the delightful Suzanne Park about her latest gem, ONE LAST WORD. Get ready for a heart-to-heart as Suzanne spills the beans on her inspiration, character quirks, and the perfect blend of laughter and life lessons in her writing. So grab your favorite reading nook and dive in as we uncover the magic behind Suzanne's storytelling prowess. Let's get started!


Jennifer Vido: What inspired the concept of ONE LAST WORD, an app that allows users to send messages after they pass away, and how did you develop the idea into a full-fledged story?

Suzanne Park: The idea came to me after binge watching SHARK TANK and TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE during the pandemic. Looking back, it seems weird that those two shows could converge in my mind and spark an idea for an adult book. I’d also always wanted to write about the Venture Capital industry (I’ve written about the gaming and investment banking industries in the past), so this was a good way to…venture into it (I’m sorry, I haven’t had my coffee yet).


Jen: Your novel's premise involves confronting unresolved feelings and relationships after death. What themes or messages did you aim to convey through this unique lens?

Suzanne: Not to be morbid, but the early part of the pandemic made me think a lot about mortality— and then it left me wondering if I’d done everything I’d set out to do, and said everything I wanted to say — and the answer was no. By nature, there are many people who avoid conflict and hate having difficult conversations, including me. After researching the psychology around conflict avoidance at work and in personal lives, I wanted to write a book about a main character who learned how to better communicate, so she could live her life with an eye for toward positive resolution rather than harboring resentment or frustration.


Jen: Sara, the protagonist of your book, experiences a rollercoaster of emotions and unexpected twists. Can you discuss the process of crafting her character arc and the challenges she faces?

Suzanne: With Sara, I started with her misbelief that focusing on school and professional accomplishments would lead to a successful, fulfilling life. At 34, she’s starting a new job and living in her younger sister’s closet, and realizes how her mid-thirties life isn’t what she thought it would be.


Jen: Humor plays a significant role in your writing, adding levity to serious topics. How do you strike a balance between humor and depth in your storytelling?

Suzanne: I think performing standup for 10 years really helped me hone my comedy skills. On stage I included social and cultural humor and observations into my act, and refined my craft for a whole decade. In novel writing, I’ve leveraged what I learned: I like to put humor in dialogue as well as in the funny (often absurd) situations or surroundings that my characters find themselves in, while not losing sight of the serious topics and situations I introduce into the characters’ lives.


Jen: ONE LAST WORD explores the complexities of family dynamics, friendships, and unrequited love. Were there any personal experiences or inspirations that influenced the portrayal of these relationships in your novel?

Suzanne: Over the last two decades I’ve seen family and friend relationships around me break down due to miscommunication. I’m someone who sometimes gets caught in the crossfire of two parties who tell me their side of the dispute, and I’d say most of the time it starts with a misinterpretation of what was said, then a cascading and compounding of angry feelings from every interaction after the initial incident. I wanted Sara to be more forthcoming with her parents and best friend by the end of the story. As for the love interest, who doesn’t have an unrequited love from high school?


Jen: Your book delves into the world of venture capital and mentorship programs. What research did you undertake to ensure the authenticity of your depictions of these industries?

Suzanne: I definitely nerded out by attending virtual pitch sessions and Zoom discussions about VC, and I interviewed people in the start-up and VC industries. I briefly thought about applying for a venture capital mentorship (those do exist!) using a fake company just to see what the process was like, but I didn’t go through with it.


Jen: Sara and Harry's mentorship is a central aspect of the story. What do you hope readers will take away from their dynamic and evolving relationship?

Suzanne: Harry has been a Sara cheerleader since their high school days. I knew I wanted this to be a workplace comedy but also needed to be mindful of their relationship (mentor and mentee) without crossing any “ick” lines. They respect one another, intellectually and romantically, and are willing to change their ways for the better to be with each other.


Jen: Who was your favorite character in ONE LAST WORD, and why?

Suzanne: Jia, because she reminds me of my own sister in some ways. She’s all about tough love!


Jen: What’s on your TBR stack?

Suzanne: I just finished WHITE WOMAN MISSING, and I’m currently reading and enjoying MY VAMPIRE PLUS ONE (out later this year). Next up is a non-fiction health book out this spring that I’ve been excited to read: IT’S NOT HYSTERIA.


Jen: What can readers expect from your next project? Can you provide any hints or details about your upcoming work?

Suzanne: I have two comedy projects my agent and I are discussing now. Once we figure out a direction, I’ll be able to share.


Jen: Finally, Suzanne, on behalf of our readers and myself, I'd like to extend a heartfelt thank you for sharing your captivating story with us.

Suzanne: Thank you so much for the opportunity. I really appreciate it and can’t wait till the book is out in the world!

ONE LAST WORD by Suzanne Park

One Last Word

What would you say to your meddling parents, your ex-best friend, your toxic boss, or your high school crush if you didn’t have to face the consequences?

Sara Chae is the founder of One Last Word, an app that allows you to send a mes­sage to anyone you want after you pass. Safeguards are in place so the app will only send when you’re definitely, absolutely, 100% dead, but when another Sara Chae dies and her obituary is posted online, Sara discovers that drafted messages she had drunkenly uploaded on one night have been released —one each to her emotionally charged mother, to her former best friend who ghosted her, and to her unrequited high school crush, Harry Shim.

Still reeling from this disaster, Sara finds out she’s been accepted into a venture capital mentorship program— and that the mentor she’s been assigned to is none other than Harry, who’s now a major VC superstar. With her life going from uncertain to chaotic overnight, Sara has to deal with the havoc that ensues and reopen wounds from the past to find a true path forward.

A pitch-perfect homage for fans of Annabel Monaghan, Alisha Rai, and Jenny Han, One Last Word is an empowering, laugh-out-loud story about a woman who learns to speak up and fight for what she wants in life and love.


Women's Fiction Contemporary [Avon, On Sale: April 16, 2024, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780063216099 / eISBN: 9780063216105]

Sure to Leave A Smile on Your Face!

About Suzanne Park

Suzanne Park

Suzanne Park is a Korean-American writer who was born and raised in Tennessee. As a comedian, she was selected to appear on BET's Coming to the Stage. Suzanne was also the winner of the Seattle Sierra Mist Comedy Competition and a semi-finalist in NBC's Stand Up For Diversity showcase in San Francisco. Suzanne graduated from Columbia University and received an MBA from UCLA. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband, female offspring, and a sneaky rat that creeps around on her back patio. In her spare time, she procrastinates. She is also the author of a YA romantic comedy novel The Perfect Escape.


About Jennifer Vido

Jennifer Vido

Jennifer Vido writes sweet romances set in the Lowcountry filled with southern charm and hospitality. In between chapters, she interviews authors for her bi-weekly Jen’s Jewels column on FreshFiction.com. Most mornings, she teaches an arthritis-friendly water exercise class for seniors before heading to the office to serve as the executive director of a legal non-profit. A New Jersey native, she currently lives in Maryland with her husband and two rescue dogs and is the proud parent of two sons who miss her home-cooked meals. To learn more, please visit her website.

Gull Island





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