Author Trisha Slay launches her Star Wars themed novel Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away
When Erika helps her best friend, teen beauty queen Cassie Abbott, escape their “Nowhere, Ohio” town, she promises to keep all of their secrets safe, but then the days stretch into weeks with no word from Cassie. Worse, the sheriff’s investigation into Cassie’s disappearance is making Erika doubt she ever really knew Cassie at all. Under the weight of scrutiny and confusion, Erika struggles just to breathe . . . until a new movie called Star Wars transforms her summer with a new hope.
For Erika, Star Wars changes everything! She volunteers to do chores for a local theater owner just to gain unlimited access to a galaxy far, far away from her current reality. At the Bixby Theater—a beautiful but crumbling movie palace from a more civilized era—Erika discovers new friendships, feels the crush of first love and starts an exciting new romance with Super 8 film making. But she can’t hide in a darkened movie theater forever.
Eventually, Erika must step out of the shadows and, armed with her Super 8 camera and the lessons she’s learned from Star Wars, she’ll have to fight to save herself and the theater that has become her home.
Paperback: 316 pages
Publisher: Deeds Publishing (May 21, 2013)
Twitter hashtag: #NSLASlay
Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away is available as a print and e-book at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Book Giveaway Contest:
To win a copy of Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away, please enter using the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of this post. The giveaway contest closes this Friday, June 28 at 12:00 AM EST. We will announce the winner the same day in the Rafflecopter widget.
About the Author:
Trisha Slay is a writer with a passion for storytelling. She has studied at the Institute of Children's Literature as well as furthering her skills through online workshops. She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators and the Atlanta Writer's Club. She enjoys participating in writing groups and spends a great deal of time improving her craft. Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away is her first novel.
Tricia hopes Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away would be compared to Looking for Alaska by John Green and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. She has said that "If those two books had a Star Wars-obsessed little sister, I'd like to think she would be my novel."
Tricia lives between the Atlanta metro area and the North Georgia Mountains, but hails originally from Ohio...by the way of the San Francisco Bay area. When she is not working on her next book (tentatively titled Sometimes We Strike Back), her interests include: 70s pop culture; unsolved mysteries; Star Wars (original trilogy); historic movie theaters; haunted history; reading (especially YA novels); nutrition/weight watchers/healthy vegetarian cuisine; hiking (exploring the National Forest trails with her guy); yoga/meditation; miscellaneous crafting projects (that rarely turn out as envisioned); and writing letters she never intends to mail.
Find out more about the author by visiting her online:
Trisha’s website: http://trishaslay.com/
-----Interview by Crystal Otto
WOW: Trisha, one of your guest blog topics was titled “Critiques, the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”—this intrigues me. Can you share a bit more about how you kept the momentum going despite such critiques?
Trisha: First of all, I should explain what I meant by that topic. A good critique should detail everything that is and is not working in your piece. It is an essential part of the writing process, but a good critique can be hard to hear and very often feels bad. Many writers who receive an excellent critique from a knowledgeable publishing professional walk away from the experience telling people that it was a bad critique. "She hated it!" they moan to anyone who asks. I have had this experience and it can be painful. We all want to hear that our writing is brilliant, compelling and absolutely flawless. That said, I am my own harshest critic. The negative stuff coming from my inner editor makes even the most brutal professional critique sound pretty benign. Also, it helps that I really do want to know if anything in my fiction is not working.
A bad critique is just plain non-informative. "I loved it and can't wait to read more" is a bad critique. Don't tell me you liked it; tell me WHY you liked it? What makes you want to read on? "I don't like ghost stories, so you should take the ghost out of this paranormal mystery" is a terrible critique (and one that I actually received). A critique should never attack the genre or sub-genre of the story. I don't like stories about sparkly vampires or promiscuous housewives, but there are plenty of readers who do. So I will do my best to communicate what works and what doesn't in the actual story and leave my personal reading prejudices out of the conversation.
An ugly critique...well, the ugliness I was referring to is much more about the person giving the critique rather than the author or the work. Ugly critiques come in many varieties, including rambling, off-topic commentary, mean-spirited attacks and/or utter nonsense spoken with absolute authority. Ugly critiques are the bane of healthy, productive writing groups. When listening to one of these people review my own work, I like to imagine Godzilla's foot stomping down on the person a few times while I smile and nod. It's much harder for me to keep a stiff upper lip when listening to an ugly critique of another writer's work. There's a good chance I'll interrupt and contradict. Or, if I'm more in control of my manners, I'll take the other writer aside and try to reverse any damage the ugly critique may have wrought. The funny thing is, in my experience, ugly critiques tend to come from the same writers who can't accept constructive criticism without interrupting and arguing.
As for how I keep my motivation after a harsh critique, that's easy. My number one rule when listening to anyone's critique, whether it's coming from another writer or a seasoned publishing professional, is from Neil Gaiman's 8 Rules of Writing: "Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong."
WOW: Hah! Fantastic advice, Trisha! I totally agree with you and need to keep Neil's quote handy when reading critique notes. So what is your advice to other authors about the best way to write and revise a novel?
Trisha: I'm probably better qualified to advise other authors on the worst possible way to write and revise a novel. I have terrible writing habits. My inner editor can keep me from writing for days and even weeks during a bad stretch. That's why my best advice relates to breaking through procrastination.
I'm a huge fan of National Novel Writing Month. During a first draft, I need to focus on quantity instead of quality. Bad writing can always be rewritten and improved. Any novelist who struggles with procrastination should try NaNoWriMo to get the word count flowing. If November is too far away to wait, create your own NaNoWriMo month with one or more fellow writers (to hold each other accountable).
This novel started as a NaNoWriMo novel. I made it to 50,000 words in one month, but I did not write to the end of the story. That was a mistake. I lost all momentum and the story almost died. This brings me to another piece of advice. If you are writing a book in a month (or 3 months or a year) write a beginning, a middle and an end before you go back to edit. Many books die in the perpetual rewriting of the first few chapters.
Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite...then edit, then rewrite some more. Participate in critique groups and learn how to utilize constructive criticism.
During the final rewrite of this novel, I became paralized with perfectionism. One of my best friends agreed to be my book coach. She was given access to my bank account (she is a VERY close friend whose annual salary is roughly 4 times my annual salary). We set up an aggressive schedule to get the final rewrite completed in one month. If I missed any of my deadlines, she was authorized to send $50 to an organization I hate, loathe and despise. Yes, it was an extreme measure and it worked perfectly. I finished the rewrite ahead of schedule. This approach is not for everyone, but it was the powerful motivator I needed to cross that finish line
WOW: Wow, that's extreme! I just watched a video today from Derek Halpern who used the same type of approach—using money as a way to solve procrastination.
Who were some of the most influential authors in your life and how did they influence your writing and publishing of Not So Long Ago and Not So Far Away?
Trisha: When I was growing up, it was E.L. Konigsburg, Judy Blume, Katherine Paterson, Agatha Christie and the group of writers known as Carolyn Keene (Nancy Drew) who influenced me to dream up mysteries around every corner and create new worlds. In terms of my writing, John Green, Laurie Halse Anderson, Shannon Hale, Sarah Dessen and Libba Bray are my biggest YA influences. It was Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower that convinced me to try writing in epistolary format. I'm an avid fan of Joshilyn Jackson and follow her blog, Faster Than Kudzu religiously. If it weren't for her, I might never have started blogging myself. Aside from Joshilyn, Kate Morton, Karen White and Sarah Addison Allen are my favorite mainstream fiction authors.
WOW: You consider yourself a “Fangirl”; is this a title you gave yourself, or how did this come about?
Trisha: I came across the term "fangirl" while pinning Star Wars art on Pinterest and a little bell went off in my head. I remember thinking, "Yes! I'm a Star Wars fangirl writing about the fangirl experience. In fact, I'm writing a Fangirl Trilogy."
WOW: What is one of your favorite sillies from pop culture…and why?
Trisha: My favorite pop culture silly from the 1970s is the "glam shots" from shows like Charlie's Angels. Do you remember those? Kelly Garrett takes off her motorcycle helmet then tosses her hair around a few times for the camera before she gets off the bike. Farrah Fawcett tossing her signature hair around and smiling for the camera before trotting onto the tennis court. I laughed until my sides ached in 2000 when I saw those preposterous shots re-created in the first Charlie's Angels movie.
In modern times, I have a secret addiction to I Can Has Cheezburger? (Guess it's not so secret any longer.) Seriously, pictures of pets in ridiculous situations with crazy captions always crack me up. I think they should play a steady stream of that stuff in hospitals. Laughter is the best medicine, right?
WOW: It is! (laughs) You mentioned some interesting hobbies and occupations between 1994 and 2004. Can you tell us more about those experiences and if they influenced your writing in any way?
Trisha: After college, I struggled with delusions of altruism. I wanted to find a career that would make it possible for me to help others and pay my bills. First, I worked as a living assistant for adult mentally-disabled clients. That was difficult, stressful work! One thing they never depict on those made-for-TV specials about mentally-challenged adults is the level of violence and sexually inappropriate behavior that is rampant in many assisted living facilities. More than one of my co-workers were assaulted and injured while trying to perform their normal duties, but I managed to escape unharmed. I was pretty miserable in that job! One of the secondary characters in this novel and a few of the scenes were heavily influenced by my experiences during that time. Then I started volunteering at a local humane society and fell in love with that work. When I saw a job posting for a Humane Officer it sounded like my dream job! Although I wasn't hired for the officer position, I was offered a new position as the Cruelty Investigations and Rescue Dispatcher. Some of my happiest memories and most traumatic experiences happened there. I probably would have continued working in humane societies indefinitely, but I was too poor for comfort. Eventually, I had to give up working in the non-profit sector so I could afford luxuries like groceries and new socks. I've continued to volunteer for humane societies over the years, but it's hard for me to volunteer regularly without being part of the "inner circle" of the staff. What I've learned about human nature by working in animal welfare organizations influences all of my writing, but I have much more to write on the subject...hopefully in the near future.
WOW: I’ve gotten to know you quite well during the WOW! Blog Tour process, but please tell readers a little bit about yourself. Where do you live? What are your favorite hobbies? What is your favorite book of all time?
Trisha: I currently live in Dahlonega, GA—very close to the epicenter of the first major US gold rush. Nowadays, the most precious treasure in Dahlonega is the thriving creative community we have here, but I hear tell there's still plenty of gold in these here hills! I'm originally from Ohio, moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2000, then moved to northern Georgia in 2008.
When I'm not working in Corporate America or writing fiction, I try to keep up with two blogs: one is dedicated to my writerly aspirations (www.trishaslay.com) and the other is about healthy, delicious foods and creative ways to stop emotional eating (www.creativitydiet.com). My other interests include: unsolved mysteries, historic movie theaters, haunted history, reading (especially YA, Southern Gothic and ghost stories), hiking (exploring the National Forest trails with my Rogue Leader), Yoga/Meditation, miscellaneous crafting projects (that rarely turn out as I envision), and writing letters I never intend to mail.
My favorite book of all time would probably be Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. It's the one YA book I read over and over for inspiration.
WOW: Is Star Wars still your favorite movie (and if it’s not, please tell us which movie is and why)?
Trisha: Actually, I have a confession to make. Star Wars was never my favorite movie. I was only six years old in the summer of 1977. Even though I enjoyed the original movie, I was much more excited by The Rescuers and Candleshoe that summer. It wasn't until I saw The Empire Strikes Back in 1980 that I fell under the spell of a galaxy far, far away from my reality. ESB is and always will be my favorite movie of all time.
WOW: Share with us something that is intriguing but not well known about you.
Trisha: I grew up in a real haunted house and I love a good ghost story that doesn't play too heavily on the horror aspects of the paranormal.
WOW: Fascinating! You'll have to write about it sometime! And last but not least...Trisha, which character in Not So Long Ago and Not So Far Away do you most closely associate with and why?
Trisha: My main character, Erika, because she's a creative fangirl who struggles with her self-esteem. Unlike me, Erika successfully channels her creativity into film making at an early age. I wish my own personal character arc more closely resembled Erika's.
----------Blog Tour Dates
Monday, June 24 (today!) @ The Muffin
Stop by for an interview and book giveaway!
Tuesday, June 25 @ Writing is Easy
See what Cathy has to say after reading Trisha Slay's novel Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away (#NSLASlay) and win a copy for yourself. Star Wars changed everything for main character Erika - read it and find out for yourself! “The Force is strong with this one.”
Wednesday, June 26 @ Bookish Musings
Join Trisha Slay, the dynamic author of Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away (#NSLASlay) as she decodes rejections in her guest blog post at Bookish Musings. This is also your opportunity to win your own copy of this Star Wars themed novel. Don't miss this great opportunity!
Thursday June 27 @ Read These Books and Use Them
"May the force be with you" as Trisha Slay's novel Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away (#NSLASlay) makes a flyboy stop at Margo Dill's blog: Read These Books and Use Them! Fly by yourself and see what Margo has to say in her review, and get the inside scoop with an author interview.
Sunday June 30 @ Carolyn Howard Johnson
Looking for something new and exciting to read this summer? Interested in a young adult book with a Star Wars theme? Find out more about Trisha Slay's novel Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away (#NSLASlay) and as they say in the movie: “I suggest a new strategy, R2. Let the wookiee win.”
Monday July 1 @ Books I Think You Should Read
Today is your chance to hear from Trisha Slay as she guest blogs about "Good Parenting = Bad Novel" on Books I Think You Should Read.
Tuesday July 2 @ All Things Audry
Stop by All Things Audry for "Confessions of a Closet Star Wars Geek" by Trisha Slay, author of Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away #NSLASlay
Wednesday July 3 @ Books I Think You Should Read
Don't miss out - today's your day to find out what Liz has to say after reading Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away (#NSLASlay) by Trisha Slay. This is also your chance to win your very own copy of her book: Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away (#NSLASlay). May the force be with you as you enter to win!
Monday July 8 @ World of My Imagination
Don't miss your chance to win a copy of Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away #NSLASlay by Trisha Slay and read her riveting guest post titled: "Emotional Eating and Creativity as a Cure"
Tuesday July 9 @ CMash Loves To Read
Trisha Slay is in the spotlight at C Mash Loves to Read. Stop by for the guest post titled "The Care and Feeding of Ideas (Inspiration)" and giveaway of Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away (#NSLASlay)
Wednesday July 10 @ Yes/No Films
Win your own copy of the popular new Star Wars themed novel Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away (#NSLASlay) by Trisha Slay and she also shares insight with her riveting guest post titled "Star Wars Crafting for the More Sophisticated Fan".
Thursday July 11 @ Tiffany Talks Books
Hear what Star Wars Geek Trisha Slay has to say on the topic of "Pop Culture in 1977" as she visits Tiffany Talks Books - this is also your chance to win Trisha's fabulous novel Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away #NSLASlay. Don't miss this WOW! Blog Tour stop!
Monday July 15 @ Thoughts In Progress
Join Trisha Slay, Author as she stars as the guest blogger at Thoughts in Progress - her topic is decoding rejections and 1970's pop culture; this is sure to be a fun post and a great opportunity to win a copy of Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away (#NSLASlay).
Tuesday July 16 @ Bring on Lemons
Win a copy of Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away (#NSLASlay) by Trisha Slay and read what Crystal has to say in her honest review of this Star Wars themed YA novel.
Wednesday July 17 @ A Writer’s Life
Win a copy of Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away #NSLASlay as Trisha Slay makes a stop at A Writer's Life blog. Check out her guest post titled: "The Spirituality of Star Wars"
Thursday July 18 @ The Book Bag
Win a copy of Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away (#NSLASlay) by Trisha Slay and see what Trisha has to say about "Why I Don't Hate Jar-Jar (or the prequels)"
Monday, July 22 @ Words by Webb
Jodi Webb reviews Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away (#NSLASlay) by Trisha Slay and tells all (no spoilers, don't worry) and offers an opportunity for readers with a fabulous GIVEAWAY!!
Friday, July 26 @ Renee's Pages
Renee won a copy of Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away (#NSLASlay) by Trisha Slay and wants to tell you all about it and pass along the opportunity for you to win - don't miss this GIVEAWAY and review!!
To view all our touring authors, check out our Events Calendar. Keep up with blog stops and giveaways in real time by following us on Twitter @WOWBlogTour.
If you have a website or blog and would like to host one of our touring authors or schedule a tour of your own, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Book Giveaway Contest: Enter to win a copy of Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. We will announce the winner in the Rafflecopter widget this Friday, June 28th.
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