Fallen Leaves Blog Tour | Author Interview + Prize Pack!
Hello everyone! Today for Blogtober, I’ve got an extra special post! Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Tessa Emily Hall, award-winning author of Coffee Shop Devos, Unwritten Melody, Purple Moon, and her latest release, Fallen Leaves! Today, I’ll be sharing that interview, and how you can enter to win a fun prize pack!
Tell me a little about your writing process. Do you have a routine or any rituals you do before writing?
When I’m working on a project, I usually like to write for a couple of hours in the morning when my brain is fresh. Of course, I always need to have a cup of coffee with me as I write! If I’m writing in the evenings, then I typically like to have a cup of herbal tea, sparkling water, and dark chocolate. =) It helps to write with music, too. I usually create a playlist for each project, so most of the time I’ll have that playing as I write. But if I’m deep in edits, then it helps to play instrumental worship music — that way I’m not distracted by the lyrics. I also love to have a candle lit as I write, especially during the cold seasons!
How long have you been writing?
I started dictating stories to my mom before I could write for myself — when I was three years old! That’s when I first fell in love with storytelling. Writing was how I played as a kid. Anytime I was bored, I’d sit at the dining room table with a stack of computer paper, crayons, and pen story after story. I knew I wanted to be an author when I grew up. I started taking writing seriously and pursuing it as a career when I was fifteen.
Who/what has been your inspiration on your writing journey?
Great question! Honestly, the reader responses I’ve received from my debut novel, Purple Moon, have served as such an encouragement for me. Anytime I struggle with doubt or discouragement, I go back and read those emails. It helps to remind myself of why I write in the first place: Not just because I enjoy it, but because I believe in the power of storytelling. I know God can use fiction to illustrate spiritual truths and touch people across the globe. This is the motivation that keeps me going.
My “author role model” is Karen Kingsbury, simply because I admire the way she’s accomplished this through her writing career. Her ministry reminds me that God can use books to transforms lives and whet readers’ appetite for a deeper relationship with Him. Writing isn’t just something I do for fun; it’s something I believe I’ve been called to do, the assignment God’s given me to further His Kingdom. And each of us are responsible for the role we play in furthering the Body of Christ.
What inspired you to write Fallen Leaves?
Fallen Leaves is the sequel to my debut novel, Purple Moon; however, it can read as a standalone novel as well. As I wrote Purple Moon, I had envisioned writing a series that followed Selena’s journey. Several readers have asked me over the years if there will be a sequel to the book. I myself found myself missing the characters, the setting, and itching to find out what would happen in her next season of life. I especially wanted to know whether or not Selena would be reunited with her dad!
So, I started writing the book years ago — but for some reason, the plot never came together. I think part of the reason was because I was afraid of meeting readers’ expectations. It was a process, but I finally learned to stop trying so hard to write a perfect story and instead let God take control. As I did that, the plot finally began to fall into place (no pun intended!). The inspiration for the theme came from a lesson God taught me through this process — of inviting Him to take control of the seasons of my life. I had tons of fun expressing my passion for fall, art, and coffee through Selena as well. =)
How long did it take to write the first draft?
Wow — the process was a mess at first! I wrote the first version of this book back in early 2014, after Purple Moon was published, but I only incorporated a few of the characters and themes into the original version. This was a project that I worked on off and on throughout the past few years. It wasn’t until last year that I buckled down, wrote a synopsis (which served as my story roadmap), and asked God to help me write the book to completion. The process of doing this — writing and editing this version of Fallen Leaves — took about 3 – 4 months.
Do you have a writing playlist?
Yes, definitely! I create a playlist for each project of mine. Readers can find these playlists on my reader’s-only page when they sign up for my newsletter on my website (www.TessaEmilyHall.com).
Is it ever difficult to balance your relationship with God and your writing?
I couldn’t do this writing gig without Him. One of my favorite Bible passages comes from John 15:5 (NLT), which says, “‘Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”
Although writing can be crazy time consuming at times, it’s impossible for me to do this if I didn’t first make my relationship with God a priority. It can be so easy for us humans to create idols out of passions, relationships, careers, etc. — and I know that, personally, it’s tempting for me to do this at times. It can be tempting to constantly want to write, think about my book projects, and attempt to pursue writing solo. But when that happens, it’s obvious, because that’s when the words don’t come easily for me. My creative well dries up when I don’t first fill it through spending time with Him, the giver of my creativity. I need this time with God in order to produce the works that He wants me to produce — because if I chose to break away, just like this verse says, then I could do nothing.
Now, I know this isn’t your first book. How has the writing process for Fallen Leaves differed from your other books?
This is the only book that’s taken me years to write! Of course, at first I only wrote a few scenes sporadically here and there. Some of those scenes made it into the final version of the book and some of them didn’t. Other than that, though, the process was the same, for the most part. I like to begin with a synopsis and rough outline of the book, or a “story roadmap”. As I write, the plot might take me in different directions than I had planned, but it usually stays the same for the most part.
Who/what are some of your favorite authors and books that have inspired you?
As I mentioned earlier, Karen Kingsbury has served as a huge inspiration for me. I admire her — not just because of her book ministry, but I also love how she writes authentic stories that touch readers at their core. She has a gift for writing inspirational, emotionally-driven stories about characters that feel like friends. Those are the kind of books I hope to write for teens as well.
What do you hope people will take away from reading this book?
In every book I write, I hope teens will realize that they’re not alone. I love it when readers tell me that they connected with the main character of a book, even when they didn’t necessarily relate with them, they could still identify on some level. I love that stories give us the ability to speak to readers. Fiction can portray characters who overcome the same difficulties and challenges that the reader might face as well. This gives readers hope for their own lives — hope that they, too, can overcome whatever it is that they might be facing.
Tessa Emily Hall is an award-winning author who writes inspirational yet authentic books to show teens they’re not alone. Her first teen devotional, COFFEE SHOP DEVOS, will release with Bethany House September 2018. Tessa’s passion for shedding light on clean entertainment and media for teens led her to a career as an Associate Agent for Cyle Young at Hartline Literary Agency, Literary Agent at Cyle Young Literary Elite, YA Acquisitions Editor for Illuminate YA (LPC Imprint), and Founder/Editor of PursueMagazine.net. She’s guilty of making way too many lattes and never finishing her to-read list. When her fingers aren’t flying 116 WPM across the keyboard, she can be found speaking to teens, decorating art journals, and acting in Christian films. Her favorite way to procrastinate is by connecting with readers on her blog, mailing list, social media (@tessaemilyhall), and website: http://www.tessaemilyhall.com.
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Click the link below to enter to win a prize pack, which includes a signed copy of Fallen Leaves, book swag, an autumn scented candle, and a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Instant Latte!
Thank you so much to the author, Tessa Emily Hall, for the interview! It was so great to hear your answers and learn a little more about you.
I hope you all enjoyed today’s post, and thanks so much reading it!
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