1. What was the hardest part of getting published, for you?
The hardest part was the sacrifice I made to pursue publication rather than having the normal teen experience. Although I have always felt a bit different from others my age, at times I wondered what it would be like to attend a normal high school and have more of a social life.
However, as an introvert, that was never too appealing for me. Of course, I still had friends. I wasn’t too much of a hermit, haha =) And honestly, if I had taken the route that most teens do, then I would have probably been miserable. I would’ve wondered what it could have been like if I’d pursued writing instead.
To me, it was worth it. It was worth getting a head start in my career. It was worth living my dreams rather than waiting until after graduation. And for that reason, I will never regret this decision.
2. Can you name a few titles that are similar to Purple Moon?
Great question! Although there may be many books that have similar elements as Purple Moon, they’re not an exact replica, so it is a bit difficult for me to pinpoint a similar title.
However, I will say that—in my opinion—you might enjoy Purple Moon if you enjoyed other YA Christian fiction novels, such as: Summer Promise by Robin Jones Gunn, There You’ll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones, and Glass Girl by Laura Anderson Kurk.
3. Besides getting offered the contract and receiving the books, what are a few highlights of your publishing career?
There are so many highlights of my publishing career!
To name a few (other than the ones that you mentioned): Seeing my book in print. Feeling the soft cover. Hearing the audible version of it. Receiving letters from readers telling me how they enjoyed Purple Moon, how it ministered to them, how they received Christ because of it, etc. (That is my absolute favorite aspect of this job!) Signing with literary agent, Sally Apokedak. Holding book signings. Speaking to schools and homeschool groups, encouraging them to pursue their dreams. Being a finalist in the YA Fiction and First Book categories of the 2014 Selah Awards.
Although I still have a long road ahead of me, I am grateful for each and every milestone that has brought me to where I am today.
4. Do you have any advice for people who are trying to get traditionally published?
Make sure that you are familiar with the industry and craft before diving in. Sometimes we can become so eager to achieve our dreams that we forget the most important part: the preparation process. This is a vital part of any career.
If you are trying to become traditionally published, I would recommend that you spend at least a year studying by reading writing-craft books, blogs on the craft, attending a writing conference or workshop, writing practice books/short stories, etc. Learn how the industry works, but also become familiar with fiction techniques and the rules of formatting a manuscript. You do not want to come across as an amateur when you begin submitting to agents and publishers.
Even though this process may take a while, it will get you further in the long wrong. Trust me.
5. Where do you get some of your inspiration?
I can become inspired in the most random ways. A story idea will come to me while watching a movie, listening to music, looking at photographs, reading books or quotes or the Bible, listening to the news, etc.
Story ideas are literally everywhere—and as a writer, it is our job to be on the lookout for them at all times.
Tessa Emily Hall spends her days sipping on lattes, immersed in a book, and cuddling with her Teacup Shih-Tzu. She spent her high school years writing about a teen whose life was far more interesting than hers. This resulted in her debut YA novel, PURPLE MOON, a Selah Award Finalist published by LPC. She is also a blogger at ChristisWrite.blogspot.com, a teen columnist for Whole Magazine, and on the Teen Advisory Board for DevoZine. Tessa resides in South Carolina where she is currently studying to earn a degree in Creative Writing.