I am so excited to interview our next author to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month! This really means a lot to me because Sarah Suk was one of my first ever mentees! I absolutely fell in love with her sweet and fun writing style and I’m so excited to talk to her about her debut Young Adult RomCom Made in Korea, out now!
KAT: Welcome to the blog, Sarah! We’re so excited to have you. Can you give us a quick pitch for MADE IN KOREA?
SARAH SUK: MADE IN KOREA is a YA romcom about two teens selling Korean beauty products at school and going head to head to out-sell each other… and maybe falling in love along the way.
KAT: LOVE that summary! The book is so adorable and that encapsulates it so well! How did the idea of two rival K-Beauty businesses come about?
SARAH: It started with the thought ‘I want to write about teens selling K-beauty products at school, but I don’t know what else they do yet.’ I was really drawn to this idea of student run businesses selling things that were high in demand but maybe difficult to find – like K-beauty products directly from Korea. Naturally, the idea of competing businesses followed shortly after. With the help of some feedback from my critique partners, the story just kept on growing from there!
KAT: I remember when I was younger I’d always give my cousins lists of beauty products to bring back from Seoul every time they went. The struggle is real! Okay, fill in the blank: If you love _________, then you’ll love MADE IN KOREA
SARAH: If you love romcoms in the vein of WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI and SOMEWHERE ONLY WE KNOW, then you’ll love MADE IN KOREA!
KAT: Awesome! I adore both of those books! They’re amazing comps to MiK! So, let’s do a craft question. Why did you decide to tell the story from both POVs? Was it always like this in your mind, or did something happen to make this creative decision come about?
SARAH: Ah, so funny thing. In my very early envisioning of the story, I actually imagined it to be multi POV with my main characters Valerie and Wes, as well as their business partners Charlie and Pauline. That was a bit ambitious for the nature of the story, so I ended up scaling it way back to just Valerie and Wes. I wanted to offer perspectives from both businesses and show different angles of their competition, which I felt like dual POV allowed me to explore nicely.
KAT: Oh yes, multi-POV can be very ambitious. But I would love to see a book from Charlie and Pauline’s POV! They’re so cute too! How did you decide which scenes should be told from which POV?
SARAH: I think a big part of it was who was more active in the scene and whose emotions were the focal point. It would be interesting to go back one day and re-write a Valerie scene from Wes’ POV and vice versa!
KAT: If this book ever became a show or movie, who would you dream cast and why?
SARAH: I would actually love it if new teen actors took the roles of Valerie and Wes. I think that would be really cool. It would also be fun to have some crossover from the Korean entertainment world and have Korean actors/actresses play the role of Valerie and Wes’ family members. Like Kim Young Ok as Halmeoni?? I feel like she is literally everybody’s grandma in K-dramas, and she would fit perfectly as Valerie’s grandmother too.
KAT: Yes! Let’s get more young Asian actors in the industry! And love the idea of getting veteran K-Drama actors for the older characters, like two worlds colliding. If you had a business out of your locker in High School what would it be and why?
SARAH: Maybe some kind of pancake business? I would have one of those pull-out tables that come out of my locker with a hot plate and a frying pan, and people could line up for souffle pancakes. Genius! Though I feel like there may be some health code violation concerns with that haha.
KAT: Haha, yea the logistics of fresh food sold out of a locker might be tough. So, is there a playlist you listened to when you wrote MADE IN KOREA? OR tell us what song you’d assign as the book’s theme song.
SARAH: Yes! Some songs from my MADE IN KOREA playlist were: Instagram by Dean, Way Back Home by Shaun, Some by BOL4, BBoom BBoom by Momoland, and She’s Fine by Heize.
KAT: Ah! Way Back Home is one of my theme songs for K-PROM! Playlist twinsies! What’s your favorite part of writing romcoms?
SARAH: The banter, the cute and awkward fluttery scenes, the very beginning of when feelings are starting to catch. Love to read it, love to write it.
KAT: Anything on the horizon you can tell us about?
SARAH: All I can share for now is that I’m working on something that’s quite different from MADE IN KOREA in that it’s not a romcom, though it still focuses heavily on Korean family dynamics. I hope I can share more soon!
KAT:Yay! Cannot wait for more news from you! Thank you again for being on our blog!
If you’d like to buy a copy of Made in Korea, out now from Simon & Schuster, then go to THIS LINK!
Sarah Suk (pronounced like soup with a K) lives in Vancouver, Canada where she writes stories and admires mountains. When she’s not writing, you can find her hanging out by the water, taking film photos, or eating a bowl of bingsu. You can visit her on Twitter and Instagram @sarahaelisuk.
Sarah is represented by Linda Epstein at Emerald City Literary Agency.