Monday, March 11, 2013

Interview: Matty and Julie from Flat Out Love by Jessica Park

"Yum, I love Dunkin Donuts coffee," Kristie says taking a sip. "What time will Matt and Julie be here?"  Jen looks over to Lisa, who looks at her watch and says, "Any minute now." Jen glances out the window, "I think this is them getting out of the car." We look over and see Matt and Julie heading towards the door. Matt pulls the door open for Julie, and they look around and spot Lisa waving her hand at them. We all stand as they approach, "Hi, we’re the Three Chicks, I’m Jen and this is Lisa and Kristie, it’s so nice to meet you two." Jen blushes a little as she shakes hands with Matt. He is cute, he’s got this nerdy chic look going on which works for him very well, and he has on a pretty cool T-shirt. Julie’s pretty, and just by looking at her you can tell she’s a little feisty.
Everyone gets settled into their seats. “Are we ready to begin?” Kristie asks.

Three Chicks:  Matt, what was your first impression of Julie?

Matt:  Oh. Um… Well, I noticed that she didn’t have on anything that could be considered a “geeky T-shirt,” so that was a pretty big problem and immediately reduced any romantic interest I might potentially have in her. 

Julie smacks his arm 

Matt:  HEY! YOU DON’T HAVE TO HIT ME! God, this abusive relationship that we’re in is really becoming problematic. I may have to purchase some sort of protective gear. What? Oh, answer the question. Fine. I thought. . .  I thought she was. . . well, beautiful. Intoxicating, really. How could I not?

Three Chicks:  Julie, You seemed to take to Celeste very well, when most people would have run away. Why was that-why do you think the two of you bonded, when no else seemed to make a connection with her?

Julie:  Leaving Ohio and the cliquey social scene at my high school was a big deal for me. I saw how trapped I’d been there, and I met Celeste at a point where I was starting to get how judged I’d been and how I’d had to hide parts of myself. Also, if I’m honest, how easily I could fall into the trap of making assumptions about other people. It’s not fair, and it means that I probably missed out on some wonderful people. Boston was a fresh start for me. A time to quit caving to the pressure to see people in a certain way just because society tells us how to see them. Sure, I thought the whole Flat Finn thing was pretty quirky… that Celeste was pretty quirky… but I also thought it was refreshing and unique. That’s something that I wanted to celebrate. It was also so obvious to me that she was craving love and attention from another female. I have such a small family, and Celeste immediately felt like the little sister that I never had.

Three Chicks:  Julie, when you were at the coffee shop with Roger, something clicked and you knew that you and Matt were meant to be....What was it?


Julie:  Roger told me to remember his heart. That’s when everything hit me. Everything I felt for Matt flooded me. Overwhelmed me. I finally saw that the lies were really meaningless. They weren’t cruel or done to embarrass me. Roger reminded me of what I read in one of the chats. That I was supposed to listen only to my heart, and I didn’t do that. Your mind and your rational thought play tricks on you that they shouldn’t. When I listened, I heard Matt.

Three Chicks:  Matt, did you ever try to confront your parents and tell them how tired you were of pretending, and that Celeste needed her parents?

Matt:  *sighs and clears his throat*   Well… I had a few tense conversations with my mother. We just didn’t see eye to eye.

Three Chicks:  Julie, what were you thinking when you ran into the freezing water? Did you do it because of Finn? In some weird way did you want acceptance from him?

Julie:  I don’t know that I entirely understood what I was doing at the time. I guess I felt like I wanted to prove something to myself. And to… Finn. (Julie smiles and looks shyly at Matt.) I’d lived a pretty safe life with few risks or unexpected events. This was part of the new me. Also, I was angry with my dad. It was really the first time that I admitted that to myself. So I was doing something brave and… unlike me… which was what I needed. It helped me take control. Looking back, I can see that plunging into water has a certain literary element of rebirth. Starting over. So there’s that.

Three Chicks:  Matt, you had so many opportunities to tell Julie the truth, why didn't you?

Matt:  Because I’m a dumb boy? (He smiles and tosses up his hands.) Okay, okay. I was scared. Life had been so messed up already, and then I got myself into this stupid lie with her, and there didn’t seem to be any way to get out of it. I didn’t think that she’d ever want to be with me. I thought that she wanted something… someone… different.

Three Chicks: Julie, has your relationship with your father changed at all or are you still not talking?

Julie:  We don’t… really talk much. I’m okay with that now. I have a much more realistic understanding of who he is and what his failings are, and I’ve stopped taking his lousy parenting personally. And I’ve stopped hoping for better. Having smart, reasonable expectations helps. But it still hurts. It probably always will. *Matt takes her hand between both of his*

Three Chicks:  Julie, is Matt really a delicious kisser and does he have great hands? (the Three Chicks lean in closer to hear the answer.)

Julie:  Ha! I shouldn’t kiss and tell should I? But I’m going to. *Matt groans and leaves to get a coffee refill*   Matt is… Well, he’s just a spectacular kisser. He’s slow and gentle and sweet at first. And then… later… he can be super intense and passionate. Oh, and his hands? You know how he is so meticulous and skilled with all his nerdy kind of stuff? *Julie smiles*  He is just as meticulous and skilled when he touches me. He… takes his time. 

*Matt sits back down, looking both embarrassed and pleased*

Three Chicks:  Matt, was there ever a moment when you wanted to just escape it all and be a normal college student?

Matt:  Yeah, of course. But I knew that was never going to happen. I used to want a different experience. I mean, I’d always imagined college to be one way, but it wasn’t something that I got to have. At a certain point, you stop hoping. You stop chasing dreams.

Three Chicks: Julie, have you gotten used to Matt's shirts yet? Come on, admit you love them!

Julie:  ARGH! His shirts! Just once I’d love to see him in a really sleek outfit—

Matt:  *jumps in, clamping a hand over Julie’s mouth*  Let me answer this question. Julie--although she may weave some ridiculous story about how I have no fashion sense and I could dress so much better--in fact loves my shirts. *He raises an eyebrow* I’d like the world to know that just last night she slept in my “Periodic BaCoN” shirt. *He takes his hand away*  Go on, tell them. There’s a good part of you that’s highly aroused by my T-shirt collection.

Julie:  *rolls her eyes*  No comment. *She pauses while Matt grins expectantly*  Okay, fine, I confess! They’re so geeky and sexy and… Matt looks hot in ‘em . Especially in the “Obey gravity. It’s the law!” one.

Matt:  *sits up with interest*   Yeah? You like that one in particular? Want me to wear it tonight when we--?

Julie:   *clamps her hand over his mouth* Matt! We can talk about that later! *She smiles and whispers*   But, yes, I totally do.

Three Chicks:  Matt, when did you first know that you were in love with Julie?

Matt:  *He looks at Julie, his expression soft and sincere now* I hardly remember what it was like not to be in love with Julie. Maybe it was when I saw her standing on the sidewalk outside of her non-existent apartment, trying hard not to look discouraged. And how she just rallied and didn’t fall to pieces the way so many other people in her situation would have. Or maybe when I saw her on the couch with Celeste, doing what she does so well. Making everything better. I kept falling in love with her every single day. It’s an accumulation of moments that add up to be so much more.

Julie:   *touches her hand to his cheek* Matty…

Three Chicks:  Julie, did you ever think that all the secrets and pain that surround this family were too much for you?

Julie:  I did. Not because of what they’d gone through, or because they were all hurting. I wouldn’t run from that. The summer after… after I learned the full story… I didn’t know if there would be room for me in their pain. Matt hadn’t grieved or healed yet. I didn’t know if he could be in a relationship or if I’d want one with him after everything that had happened. But in the end? In the end it doesn’t matter how you find each other, just that you do.

Three Chicks:  Julie, when you found out the truth you left. You lost all trust in Matt. We totally understand his betrayal, but we also understand why he did it. You know his family was also holding onto the lies, so why be mad at just Matt? After everything he had done for you.....think that you were a little harsh towards him? Do you regret reacting the way you did?

Julie:  It’s not so much that I was angry at him. I was confused and totally rattled. And very upset with myself. Sometimes you can’t see what’s right in front of you because you don’t want to. We bring our own baggage to how we understand situations, and I brought mine. Was I too harsh? Maybe. Maybe not. It was how I was feeling at the time. Us? Getting to the place I’m at with Matt? It was a process, and going through that year together the way we did, and then falling apart the way we did… The truth is that those experiences made us stronger now because we had to fight for each other. You don’t fight for someone who isn’t worth it.  With Erin and Roger, it was different. While I love them, it was easier to forgive their behavior because I wasn’t invested in them the way that I was with Matt. When you care so deeply, you hurt harder.

Three Chicks:  Matt, since Julie is in your life, and your secret is out in the open, do you feel free and more like your old self?


Matt:  I do. Even before Julie showed up at our house, I was not my old self. Even given everything that we went through over that year that she lived with us, and as many downsides as there were to what went on, it helped me. It let me… practice, I guess… who I used to be. Or wanted to be. It was at her expense, which I’ll never forgive myself for—

Julie:  *cuts him off*  Stop it. Don’t say that, Matt. I wouldn’t change anything about how we got together. I fell in love with you slowly. And beautifully. And, yes, sometimes painfully. But it’s how it happened, and if that year let you find yourself again? I would never want to trade that.

Three Chicks:  Julie, so how was your first experience skydiving?

Julie:  *grins* Which kind of skydiving? The real kind or the metaphorical kind?  *She winks* I can tell you that the real kind was mind blowing. Terrifying in many ways, but feeling Matt against me, protecting me, keeping me safe, and talking me through it? He made it perfect. So, actually… I can say the same thing about the metaphorical jump, too.  

Three Chicks:  You have had a rough start to your relationship, are there any obstacles that would prove to be too much for the two of you? 

Matt:  *leans in and puts his arm over Julie’s shoulders, pulling her in*   No. I’m not letting her go. I will stuff her under my “2 + 2 = 5” shirt and keep her there if she tries to leave.

Julie:  *laughs* Very funny. I think we’ve proven that we can get through pretty much anything. Okay, fine, if Matt made a bunch of Flat Julies and set them up around the house, I might get pretty freaked. But I do have a pretty high tolerance for Flat People, so even then…

"They were really fun and very cute together," Kristie says, while getting up to throw away the empty cups. "Yes, they were. And you know, Matt is sexy in a quiet and smart kind of way. And there is something about him that draws you to him," Jen says dreamily.
Lisa is cracking up at this point and says, "Okay, ladies, let's go, we need to find something to do to burn off all of this caffeine energy we have going on.  Any ideas?"

Jen and Kristie are lost in thought trying to think of something fun to do. "I know, I know! Let's go sky diving!" Kristie says excitedly. Jen and Lisa look at her like she has lost her damn mind, and then they smile and Jen says, "I’m in!" and Lisa shouts, "Let's do it!"


  1. I absolutely LOVED this book and this interview was awesome & funny!! =)

  2. An amazingly wonderful interview. Both funny and insightful. I am not surprised after getting to know Matt & Julie from thier story in FOL. Makes me want to reread the book, immediately. However, lent it to a friend, so I'll have to wait :-(

  3. This is so cute! Very original questions and way of setting up the whole interview. Loved hearing more from Julie & Matt after the end of FOL.

  4. So cute! I'd like Matt to wear his “Obey gravity. It’s the law!” shirt for me tonight! LOL

  5. Yay, I loved this! I read it months ago, and it's so great to come back to it again, thru this hilarious and touching interview. Thanks!

  6. I just finished reading the story today. Loved the interview, it was really cute.


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