Not such a long time ago, in a galaxy not so far away, a fangirl was scrolling through her email messages for her blog on her very pink phone…
Subject: Star Wars Books
Unremarkable, really, given what I blog about. *blink blink* Back up. Wait. Had I seen that email address correctly? RandomHouse.com? An initial email from Erich Schoeneweiss resulted in an ongoing friendly dialogue with the Star Wars Books team. One day, when I was feeling particularly brave, I just put the question out there: Could I interview the new guy, Frank Parisi? He had a new title and had worked previously on the Lucasfilm side, so I hoped to create an opportunity for the fans to get to know him a little bit better.
Considering everything they’ve had going on at Del Rey – incorporating new team members, getting everyone up to speed, and flying to San Francisco for a planning session with Lucasfilm and Dark Horse – I’m not sure where Frank found the time. We had to jockey around the holidays, his schedule, and my schedule to get it all done, but it’s finally in the bag.
Between our email exchanges and the phone conversation to do the interview, I learned a few things about Del Rey’s new In House Coordinator for Star Wars that won’t show up in the Q&A. Frank needs his coffee in the morning, he thinks Evil Knievel rocks (and I’ll second that), and he’s a self-proclaimed fanboy. Most importantly, he is personable, likes talking about Star Wars and The Clone Wars, and is willing to turn the tables and ask questions of his interviewers – which is how we ended up on an interesting side conversation about the upcoming novel Darth Plagueis.
Early on in our conversation, Frank asked me what I did for a living. Generally when I try to explain what I do people get cross-eyed, so I gave Frank the standard “I design roads and traffic signals” response because it creates a concrete image of my end product. Really, though, I realized as we talked that there are more similarities than you might think in what our respective jobs entail. We both manage the design process for a tangible product that will be used by the public. Our jobs require scrutinizing the product at various stages – for Frank it could be an outline or manuscript, and for me design plans or specifications – and then when we get to a certain stage we forward the work-in-progress up to the client for feedback. It’s an iterative process, but ultimately the goal of these critical reviews is to make the best product possible. In my business we even have manuals on how to engage the public for input, and people can be just as passionate about what’s done to their roads as Star Wars fans are about their books.
As I noted all the Del Rey staff Frank mentions by name, I realized it takes a village to create a Star Wars book. Hopefully you’ll take away from the interview that Frank thinks of the fans as part of that village. So while comments like BEST BOOK EVER!11! and high sales are the brass ring for the Del Rey team, there’s always the next book and the carousel never stops going round. How can you share your feedback with those charged with writing Star Wars books, besides bringing Frank his morning coffee at the next con? You can start with the Star Wars Books Facebook page, where Frank, Erich, or David Pomerico posts at least one item a day to whet your Star Wars fiction appetite; they also answer fan questions to the best of their ability. Or you can participate in a blog that focuses on Star Wars, make a comment to a review, or volunteer to write a post. Or join a Star Wars discussion forum; each has a different flavor so find one that works for you. Or listen to a podcast, almost all of which solicit fan feedback as part of their dialogue.
To make it helpful I’ve compiled below a list of the fan village. Many of these sites receive Advanced Review Copies and promotional material for upcoming books from Del Rey, so you can find reviews and Expanded Universe news constantly streaming. The list isn’t comprehensive, but consider it a good start for EU fans on the internet. If you have an EU fansite I didn’t mention, feel free to comment below or send me your information on Twitter or at my FANgirl Zone on Facebook and we’ll add you to the list.
Check out my discussion with Frank Parisi here. Thanks again to everyone at Del Rey and Lucasfilm who made this interview possible. This fangirl is most appreciative and looks forward eagerly to 2012.
Star Wars Expanded Universe Fan Resources
- Club Jade
- The Forcebook
- The ForceCast
- Jedi Journals
- Knights Archive
- Lightsaber Rattling
- Lomin Ale Cantina
- Port Haven
- Roqoo Depot
- Star Wars Books on Facebook
- Star Wars Report
- TheForce.Net Books
Tricia Barr's novel, Wynde, won the 2014 Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal for Best Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror Ebook. She was also part of Silence in the Library's successful all-female creator science fiction and fantasy anthology Athena's Daughters, which is available now. For excerpts and tales of her adventures in creating a fictional universe, hop over to TriciaBarr.com.