Today is a busy day for Abbey Nash, but she’s taken a few minutes out of her BOOK BIRTHDAY (!) to chat with US at the Cafe! LIFELINE is Abbey’s first novel, and it’s been creating lots of buzz….it received a stellar review from Kirkus and was just listed as one of B&N’s most anticipated YA books for May! Check out the trailer right here. And mark your calendars for November 3, because Abbey will also be joining us as a faculty member for an upcoming event in Lancaster PA. More to come on that…the door is jingling and Abbey is here!
Hi there, Abbey, and welcome to the Eastern Penn Points Cafe! As we settle into our comfy booth, what would you like to drink?
Hi, Lindsay! Thanks so much for having me! My latest fav is peach citrus white tea—iced, please.
And a munchie?
Anything with peanut butter.
First of all, Happy Book Birthday! How does it feel to have LIFELINE hitting shelves today?
I’m giddy with excitement–completely over the moon! My journey to publication has been a long road, beginning in 2008, when I decided to go back to school to earn my Masters in English at Arcadia University. The last ten years have been an emotional roller coaster, full of incredible highs and the kind of lows all writers can relate to—rejection, disappointment, and self-doubt. To finally have a novel reach fruition in this way is an absolute dream come true.
Can you tell us a little bit about what drew you in to writing Eli’s story?
Like many families, my family has been touched by opioid addiction. My younger brother has struggled with addiction for a very long time. Similar to Eli, my brother and I grew up in middle-class suburban areas; both of our parents are educators with master’s degrees. But addiction doesn’t discriminate by age, gender, race, or socioeconomic status. In writing Eli’s story, it felt important to create a character who seemingly had everything going for him—athletic prowess, popularity, and a loving, supportive family—and yet still suffered from the disease of addiction. It’s my hope that LIFELINE can help to reduce the stigma that often surrounds addiction by starting conversations that will hopefully lead to increased awareness and prevention.
Equally important to me, however, was the idea that the novel would offer a sense of hope for the possibility of recovery. When I started writing LIFELINE, I knew that while the subject matter was dark and intense, the central message of the book would be about the light that comes through the broken places and the things that we hold onto when we think there’s nothing left: faith, love, and hope.
Ultimately, the novel became a prayer for my brother and the millions of other people for whom sobriety is a daily struggle.
It’s clear that you’re passionate about the issues of addiction and recovery, and you frequently post about them on your blog. The link between art and healing comes up in the book, as well as through the stories you feature on the blog. Did a particular real-life story or example stand out to you while you were doing your research?
Over the last few months, I’ve had the privilege of interviewing several artists who have found healing through their artistic practices: painters, writers, actors, and musicians who are creating a sense of hope and possibility within their broader communities. For me, the process of writing and the steady reliability of the rituals surrounding it (the lit candle, the hot coffee, the cozy blanket), has always been something I can hold onto during challenging times. Writing LIFELINE pulled me through the worst parts of my brother’s addiction. Specifically, it allowed me to draft an ending I could find peace in, regardless of my brother’s outcome. While he is currently in the early stages of recovery, writing continues to be a “lifeline” for me as I navigate other challenges that arise in my day-to-day life.
How did you get connected with Tiny Fox Press?
When I decided to pursue an independent publisher for LIFELINE, I began searching in the usual places—Publishers Marketplace, Manuscript Wish List, Twitter, etc… When I found Tiny Fox Press online, I was impressed by their commitment to author comfort and satisfaction throughout the contract negotiation and publishing process. Since then, I’ve developed such gratitude for my editor’s consistent availability, invaluable editorial insights, and willingness to put time and money into marketing. Working with Tiny Fox Press has been an absolute blessing.
How have you been prepping for your book release?
I’ve been fortunate enough to work with a publicist at JKS Communications, who has done an incredible job of coordinating interviews, book reviews, and events. I’ve also run a few pre-order promotions to give readers an opportunity to pick up some LIFELINE “swag” as a thank you for their purchase. The official book trailer for the novel has been running on Facebook and Twitter over the last month. Finally, we’ll be celebrating the launch at Doylestown Bookshop on Friday, May 18th at 6:30. All are welcome, so come on by!
Now that LIFELINE is released, do you plan to do school visits, and/or connect with young people dealing with addiction?
I am so excited about the possibility of school and library visits—as a Writing and Literature instructor, I love hearing from young people about the ways they connect to a story. Over the next few months, I have several events scheduled at local rehab facilities and recovery celebrations, where I’ll be speaking about the book and about my experience with family addiction. I am so grateful for the opportunity to share my story in this way. Anyone interested in connecting with me about a school visit or speaking engagement can do so on my website. You can also subscribe to my newsletter to find out about upcoming community events where I’ll be speaking and/or signing books.
As the mom of pre-teens, what do you hope your kids absorb from this book when they’re old enough to read it?
Wow—great question. Of course, I hope and pray that my children never struggle with addiction. However, one of the most important messages of the book is the idea that everyone has broken places; everyone experiences pain and suffering. But it’s what you do with that pain that matters. Often the light that comes through the broken places brings with it incredible beauty and unimaginable blessings. I want my kids to know that life isn’t about being perfect—it’s about owning our imperfections and showing up anyway, with a willingness to choose love and hope in all things.
Okay, Abbey, get ready for Flash Favorites! Deep breath. Focus. Tell us your favorite…..
Song (as of right now, today!) Gah—the pressure! If I had to choose one it’d be “Good Old Days” by Macklemore, but it changes (sometimes daily!)
Book on writing The Elements of Style is an absolute must-have for aspiring writers.
Holiday Christmas! I still get so excited on Christmas morning that I wake up when it’s dark (sometimes even before my kids)!
Type of shoe At the moment, I’m pretty partial to ankle boots, but my running shoes are also a necessity.
Midnight snack Banana with peanut butter and ice-cold milk—seriously, peanut butter is my LIFE.
Place to write On my couch, underneath a quilt my grandmother made, in the early morning when everybody else (even my dog) is sound asleep
One-liner of writing advice Don’t write for the “current market”—write YOUR story, the story you need to tell, because chances are it’s exactly what someone else needs to read.
Thank you so much for chatting with us, Abbey! We wish you all the best with LIFELINE, and we look forward to celebrating even more with you in the future!
Follow her on Twitter @nash_abbey