Monday, November 7, 2016

Blog tour: Tessa Emily Hall features her novel, "Unwritten Melody"

Let's welcome a new person to the blog today! Tessa Emily Hall is the name of this first time guest and she's written a book that she wants you to win! :) First, here's a photo of this lovely author:

Second, here's the cover of her novel that she's giving away:

Finally, here are the details of everything that Tessa is giving away (not just her book):

Enter for your chance to win the Unwritten Melody Prize Pack! Two winners will be selected and announced on Tessa’s blog the final day of tour (Friday, Dec. 9) and will be notified via email. This prize pack includes:

·      E-copy of Unwritten Melody
·      Signed paperback copy of Purple Moon
·      Unwritten Melody mug, filled with goodies
·      Unwritten Melody swag, including a bookmark, pen, and poster
·      Starbucks mocha flavored instant coffee
·      Free Unwritten Melody: Page-By-Page Secrets PDF
·      Handmade journal
·      Typewritten thank you note

*This giveaway is open only to people who live in the U.S.A.  Enter the contest by filling out the Rafflecopter widget above this line. 

Now, on to the interview with Tessa! Enjoy! 

Interview with Tessa Emily Hall, author of Unwritten Melody:

Alexis: "Unwritten Melody" is an intriguing title. Why did you choose it?

Tessa: Thank you! Here’s a fun fact: Unwritten Melody was the original title for Purple Moon. In the first version of Purple Moon, the protagonist was a musician rather than an artist. The reason I changed that aspect, as well as the title, was because a best-selling novelist released a book that was far too similar to the plot and title. I didn’t want people to think I’d stolen ideas from this author. So, I decided to save the title Unwritten Melody for a later book. Then, when I had a story spark of an idea that involved a musician and a poet, I knew Unwritten Melody would make the perfect title. I’m very grateful that the publisher decided to keep it.

Alexis: What was your inspiration behind writing this book?

Tessa: I loved the idea of having a songwriter (Cassie) mesh her lyrics together with a musician (James), and for the pieces to fit together like a puzzle—almost as though the lyrics and songs were created for each another.

I also knew that I wanted to somehow incorporate the life and poetry of Emily Dickinson into the novel. I first learned about this poet in my 8th grade English class. I remember becoming fascinated – not only with her works, but also with the unique story of her life. After I brainstormed the premise to Unwritten Melody, I knew Cassie’s own life would shadow perfectly that of Dickinson’s and highlight the book’s theme in the process.

Alexis: How would you define your writing style?

Tessa: The books I write have always reflected the voice of my main character and unveils the story in a way that’s filtered through their perspective. I like to do this in a way that is authentic and keeps the story moving along, almost at the same pace of a movie. I never want to give readers a reason to scan certain passages. However, I wouldn’t consider my style to be bare bone, either. I do love to paint a scene, writing it in such a way that draws readers into the story world and has them almost convinced (hopefully) that they themselves are the protagonist.

Alexis: What is your favorite genre to write? Why?

Tessa: I’ve been writing stories since I was 3-years-old, and the characters in my stories have remained the same age as myself at the time of writing them. However, I’m now almost 23, and I can’t see myself writing for an age group other than teens any time soon. I love the teen voice in YA books. I love writing stories that wrestle with the many questions and struggles that teens experience. I love that teens are not yet a kid, but they’re not an adult, either—it’s the in between stage of life. They’re still in the process of discovering who they are, who they want to become, and figuring out the purpose for their life. Plus, writing in that genre gives me permission to remain a teen forever.

Alexis: Paint a picture of your writing space. What makes it special?

Tessa: Which one? Haha. I wrote most of Unwritten Melody at a desk in my bedroom that overlooks the pond in my backyard. It was during the fall, so I especially enjoyed watching autumn leaves fall from trees. Writing at my desk helps to keep me alert and focused. I keep the area decorated in a way that inspires me to write by framing writing quotes and lighting candles. Also, against my wall is a collage I made of pictures from my writing journey so far.

But every now and then, during the process of writing Unwritten Melody, I had to change things up a bit. I occasionally wrote at coffee shops, on a couch in my living room, at the dining room table, on my screened in porch, and even standing up at the island in my kitchen.

Alexis: What were your go-to beverages or food while on deadline for Unwritten Melody?

Tessa: Fun question! I wrote the first version of Unwritten Melody when I was 18 and 19, then I edited it when I was 20. It was during the editing stage that I realized there were major flaws in the plot. It didn’t exactly fit the story I had originally envisioned, either.

So, I decided to start from scratch and rewrite the story when I was 21. My go-to writing snacks during this process were trail mix, sunflower seeds, and dark chocolate chips. And, of course, I can never write unless I have a cup (or two) of coffee on hand. =)

Alexis: Tell us about your story’s heroine Cassie Gilbert. Why does she long to break free from her grandmother’s rules?

She feels as though she’s never been a “normal” teen because her Grandma has raised her to be sheltered and has given her rigid—sometimes unrealistic—rules to follow. Cassie longs to experience what life would be like if she could live the average life. She feels as though the rules suffocate her and keep her from finding true joy and freedom in life. She also believes that her grandmother’s tendencies to over-control comes from a place of bitterness rather than love.

Alexis: You gave Cassie a passion for songwriting. Does she dream of fame and living in Nashville? Explain her creative heart.

Tessa: Cassie’s never been one to care much for popularity. In fact, she much prefers to remain invisible. Songwriting gives her the opportunity to write poetry – which is what she loves – yet it allows her to remain behind the scenes as another person receives the recognition. Writing has always been her way of escape, an outlet that she could use to express herself. Songwriting is her dream career because it would allow her the opportunity to get paid for doing what she loves.

Alexis; Tell us about your story’s hero James Russo. What does he look like? Why does he love to sing? What about his past is so tarnished that he feels that he needs to run away to escape it?

Tessa: James has olive skin, spikey black hair, and mesmerizing ocean-blue eyes. He loves to sing because music has always been a huge influence in his life. It first touched him when he was a little boy and having to deal with the confusion and loneliness that came with his parents’ divorce. Because of that, he longs to use the gift of music to help others as well, to touch them in the same way it impacted him during those difficult childhood years.

James didn’t have the best reputation in his hometown (Long Island, NY). The summer between his sophomore and junior year, he was involved in an incident that smeared his reputation even more. Because of that, he longed to start over, to create a new name for himself rather than the bad boy rep he’d been tied to at his old school. That was never who he truly was at heart.

Alexis: Where do Cassie and James meet? Describe their meet-cute.

Tessa: They meet in English class at school. Cassie is a junior in honors English, and James is a new kid joining the second semester of his senior year. They meet after the teacher announces that they’ve been assigned to be partners in a school project. Cassie isn’t thrilled at this idea; she assumes James is an arrogant singer, and she would prefer to remain under the radar than to have the other girls in class shoot snooty looks her way, jealous of the time she gets to spend with James.

Alexis: What is it about Cassie’s songwriting talent that convinces James that he must convince her to collaborate with him on his demo album?

Tessa: He loves that her lyrics are deep – not the shallow songs about boyfriend-girlfriend relationships that he used to sing on American Spotlight. Plus, it presents the opportunity for James to get to know Cassie more. She’s hidden beneath a shell. But the lyrics show him a glimpse of who she is beneath the surface. He realizes there’s far more to Cassie than what meets the eye – and, of course, guys love a good challenge. He’s intrigued by the idea of getting to know the girl behind the lyrics.

Also, James came to Willow Creek in hopes of creating a demo album that he could send to his manager. Yet he’s never been a talented songwriter. Creating music on the keyboard is his forte. Thus, when he reads Cassie’s lyrics, he feels as though they’re the heartbeat to his melodies, and they breathe life into his music notes.

Alexis: What is it about James that Cassie simply cannot resist?

Tessa: The fearless, adventure spirit that radiates from James. Cassie’s grown up in a small town, sheltered by her Grandma, and she even attends the private school that her grandmother created and is the principal over. The kids in Willow Creek, SC are mostly country, and Cassie hasn’t seen much of the world outside of her town. James, however, is a risk-taking teen from Long Island, NY. He was recently a contestant on one of the most popular teen singing reality TV shows. It’s thrilling to Cassie to see someone pursuing his dreams and experiencing life outside of small town Willow Creek. James’s passion for music inspires her to pursue her own dreams of songwriting. She’s also enthralled by the way he wants to create music not for his own recognition, but as a vessel to reach others.

Alexis: What lesson do you want this story to teach your readers? Why?

I don’t necessarily want my books to preach to readers; instead, I’d rather that they read my books, be entertained, and then come away from it with their own interpretations of the book’s theme. But it is my hope that, through my books, readers will realize that they are not alone in their life’s journey – in the questions they wrestle with, emotions they deal with, situations they’re experiencing, etc. And hopefully, through my books, they can find the answer, the help, that they’re searching for.

However, I do hope that readers come away with Unwritten Melody with newfound hope for their current circumstances and a deeper revelation of the power of God’s love.

Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Tessa!

Author bio: 
Tessa Emily Hall writes inspirational yet authentic YA fiction to show others they’re not alone—and because she remembers the teen life like it was yesterday (or a few years ago). The debut novel she wrote at 16-years-old, Purple Moon (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas) was a Selah 2014 Finalist. Her second novel, Unwritten Melody, releases with Clean Reads November 2016.

She’s the Founder of, a magazine that inspires teens to embrace their calling. Tessa also enjoys helping writers achieve their dreams through her internship at Hartline Literary Agency.

When her fingers aren’t flying 116 WPM across the keyboard, Tessa can be found making healthy homemade lattes, speaking to teens, decorating her insulin pump, and acting in Christian films. She writes in a small town nestled between the Blue Ridge Mountains and Southeastern coast. Her favorite way to procrastinate is by connecting with readers on her blog, mailing list, social media (@tessaemilyhall), and website.

Book blurb for Unwritten MelodyDoes breaking free require breaking the rules?

Cassie Gilbert lives every day in the shadows of her deceased mom’s rebellion. But now that she’s seventeen, she finds herself longing to break away from her grandmother’s suffocating rules, experience what it’s like to be a regular teenager, and fulfill her songwriting dreams.

James Russo, former American Spotlight contestant, escapes to small town Willow Creek, SC hoping to flee from his tarnished past. When a school project pairs him with the shy principal’s granddaughter, he’s determined to get to know this Emily-Dickinson-obsessed and typewriter-using girl. His plan? Convince Cassie to co-write songs for his demo album.

As Cassie gets to know James over “project meetings” (more like opportunities to match her lyrics with his melodies), she becomes intrigued by his sense of adventure and contagious passion for music. But soon, his past becomes exposed. Cassie’s left to wonder—did she make the same mistake Mom did by falling for the bad boy?

Then, Grandma’s control pushes her over the edge. Cassie must choose between remaining in the chains of yesterday, or delving into her own freedom by completing the melody her mom left behind.

Buy Tessa's book:
Mark “Unwritten Melody” on Goodreads
View “Unwritten Melody” on Amazon
View “Unwritten Melody” on Barnes & Noble

Connect with Tessa:

BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE for Unwritten Melody: Don’t miss the next blog tour stop! Be sure to visit the following blogs on its designated tour date. You can also email tessaemilyhall (at) gmail (dot) com and request to receive the Blog Tour PacketAt the end of the tour, Tessa will send you the downloadable PDF that will contain all of the content from each blog tour stop.

Tues., November 1 – Christ is Write
Wed., November 2 - Adriana Gabrielle Writes
Thurs., November 3 – The Depth of My Faith
Fri., November 4 - Sarah Ruut
Mon., November 7 – God is Love
Tues., November 8 – The Bibliophile Angel
Wed., November 9 - Emily Rachelle Writes
Thurs, November 10 – Word Changers For His Glory
Fri., November 11 – Christian Teen Book Reviews
Mon., November 14 – Phyllis Still
Tues., November 15 – In The Bookcase
Wed., November 16 – Girl Meets Publishing World
Thurs., November 17 - Anna Schaeffer
Fri., November 18 – Ramblings of a Writer
Mon., November 21 - Naomi and Books
Tues., November 22 – Reading is My Superpower
Wed., November 23 – Zerina Blossom’s Books
Thurs., November 24 - Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud
Fri., November 25 – Labor Not in Vain
Mon., November 28 - Barbara Bruitt
Tues., November 29 - Katy Kauffman
Wed., November 30 – Jen Pheobus
Thurs., December 1 – Northern Belle Meg
Fri., December 2 – 2Me From Him
Mon., December 5 - Nicole Quigley
Tues., December 6 – The Destiny of One
Wed., December 7 - Catherine Castle
Thurs., December 8 - Rachelle Rea Cobb
Fri., December 9 – Leslie L. Mckee


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.