If you’re a fan of contemporary YA romance, I’ve got the perfect book recommendation for you. Today I have the privilege of participating in a blog tour for the release of my friend Abbie Emmons’ debut novel, 100 Days of Sunlight! To celebrate, Abbie’s here for an interview, and I will be reviewing the novel!
So, let’s face the sun!
Interview with Abbie Emmons
Welcome to Authoring Arrowheads, Abbie! I’m super excited to have you here today. I’ve been a fan of your YouTube channel for a few months now. What advice do you have for authors who are considering turning to YouTube to grow their social media presence?
Thank you so much for inviting me onto your blog today, Allyson! You’re the best, and I’m so excited to chat with you today about all things writing. I’m so glad you like my YouTube channel, thank you! That means a lot to me.
My advice for writers who want to start a YouTube channel would first be: GO FOR IT. It’s never too late to get started! You have something unique and beautiful to offer the world (and YouTube) through your videos. Do your best, but never down-talk your videos or your writing. BE YOURSELF < the most important thing to remember when talking in front of a camera. Persevere – keep making videos even if you aren’t thrilled with the number of views you get. As one of my favorite quotes says, “The challenge is that the day before something is truly a breakthrough, it’s a crazy idea.” Oddly enough, this is also true of visibility on YouTube. The day you feel like quitting might be the day before your channel blows up.
I absolutely love that quote! *Writes it down somewhere* That’s good stuff.
Next question! What was the selling-point that convinced you to pursue indie publishing rather than traditional?
I actually made a whole video talking in-depth about why I chose indie publishing and the moment I decided I would never go traditional. But, in a nutshell, this is what happened: I stumbled upon an indie published author/blogger named Mark Dawson, who shared his story of being traditionally published before he went indie. Although his books had made it to the shelves of bookstores, he found himself making so few sales, he was literally walking into bookstores and moving copies of his novels to the front of the shelves in hopes that someone would see his book and buy it. Needless to say, he was very disappointed and disheartened by the traditional route and decided to give indie publishing a shot.
Now Mark is an award-nominated, USA Today bestseller, with more than 20 books published and over 2 million books downloaded in multiple countries and languages. He shares his experience of indie publishing through his podcast, Self Publishing Formula, which I 10/10 recommend listening to if you’re at all interested in exploring the indie pub route. When I heard Mark’s story, I was immediately interested in pursuing indie publishing and started listening to his podcast. I’ve never looked back.
Awesome! That sounds like an excellent podcast to check out.
What inspired you to write 100 Days of Sunlight, and is it your first completed manuscript?
To answer the last question first, 100 Days of Sunlight is actually my 7th completed manuscript. I’ve written quite a few novels before it, some of which will never see the light of day (they’re awful) and some of which are definitely going to be published, they’re just not quite ready yet.
I was inspired to write 100 Days of Sunlight after thinking about my own lifestyle. Like Tessa, I’m a writer, blogger, neat-freak, introvert, reader, and I take great pleasure in the visual beauty around me. One day the thought popped into my head, “How would I feel if I suddenly lost my eyesight? How would it affect my daily life? Would I eventually come to experience and savor my other senses, the many other ways to find beauty in the world?” I immediately knew the premise of the story – Tessa and Weston’s characters flashed into my mind like a light bulb turning on. I knew it would be a love story, but not just about romantic love – love between brothers, and grandparents, and best friends. I wanted to drop everything and write the book immediately!
Wow, that’s awesome! I feel like I speak for many when I say we’re looking forward to reading your future releases!
100 Days of Sunlight is a contemporary YA romance. Are you thinking about writing and publishing other genres?
Oh, definitely! Although contemporary romance is my first love, I have lots of ideas for stories in all different genres, from historical fiction to fantasy to sci-fi. You can definitely expect more sweet contemporary stories from me, but I might just surprise the world with something completely different one day!
Speaking of romance, back in February, you posted an entire video series about writing romance (which I loved, by the way! 😊 ) Overall, what would you consider your #1 tip for writing romance?
Aw, thank you Allyson! I’m so glad you enjoyed the romance video series. My #1 tip for writing romance would be: focus on the transition of love more than anything else. When writers “fail” at romance, it’s usually because the transition of two people falling in love happens too quickly. I don’t just mean “in a short period of time” because I do believe that insta-love can be done well, if this transition is written smoothly. It doesn’t really matter how much time is going by in the actual story. It could be two days or two years. But your characters have to have a reason why they gradually fall deeper in love with each other.
I had the privilege of hosting your sister, K.A. Emmons, for an interview during her Worlds Beneath blog tour last year. She mentioned that the two of you enjoy writing at your parents’ dining room table. What has been one of your fondest memories you’ve shared writing with your sister?
Ahh, awesome! Worlds Beneath is my favorite book of all time. *fangirls* It’s true, Katie and I have spent our lives writing together at my parents’ dining room table. I don’t know if I can choose a specific moment, more like all the moments added up. I think I speak for us both when I say that we are a great source of inspiration for each other. We shared a room all our lives until my sister got married 2 years ago, and we had the best late-night conversations filling plot holes and crafting our characters’ tragic backstories!
Aw, I’m sure Katie feels the same way, Abbie! That sounds like a fun, growing up writing alongside a sibling. At what age did you first fall in love with writing?
Hmm, I think I was six? My mom used to read soooo many books to me and my sister growing up – I remember being so enthralled by how magical stories are, how they can transport you into a whole different world. We read every single book in The Boxcar Children series and my first literary endeavor was a fanfiction short story of The Boxcar Children. I remember asking Katie how to spell the word “wood”! Needless to say, my vocabulary has increased over the years, haha.
Haha, I’ve been there, too! XD Which authors inspire you the most?
Jane Austen, C.S. Lewis, Charlotte Brontë, Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Gaskell, Louisa May Alcott, and Harper Lee, to name a few!
That’s a great list! Which books on writing have you found most beneficial to shaping your craft?
I don’t read a lot of books on writing. Which is kind of funny, I suppose – but none of them have really clicked with me, except for two: Wired for Story and Story Genius, both by Lisa Cron. These books opened my eyes! I love how Lisa connects everything to human psychology and breaks down what exactly engages our brain in a story. A lot of what I teach on my YouTube channel is what I’ve taken away from these two books. I definitely recommend reading them both, preferably with lots of highlighters standing by!
Those sound like great recommendations!
Final Question! For our readers who don’t know, you’re a big proponent for dream chasing and taking action steps to accomplish those dreams. What advice do you have for writers who are working toward their dreams of becoming a published and/or bestselling author?
If you never quit, you will live your dreams. That’s just an absolute. Most people don’t live their dream because somewhere along the way they decide it’s too hard. It’s too painful. It’s too time-consuming. It requires too much creativity and energy and discipline. It’s true that the creative life will demand all of you…and then some. But if you literally NEVER EVER give up? You will live your dream. It’s an absolute.
Preach, girl! We all need to remember this on the daily. Thanks for stopping by, Abbie!
Thank you so much for having me on your blog today, Allyson! It’s been a pleasure to chat with you today. 🙂
Connect with Abbie:
Book Review: 100 Days of Sunlight
After following Abbie’s YouTube channel for a few months, I was honored to be selected as an ARC reader for her debut novel, 100 Days of Sunlight. Contemporary YA is my favorite genre, so I knew from her videos on writing and storytelling that this was about to be an awesome read. I ended up loving everything about it!
The Reasons for Fangirling Start Below:
The cover, the formatting, the proofreading… every detail about this book is purely professional, and I could easily see this book sitting among the releases of mainstream YA authors like Sarah Dessen at Barnes and Noble. You can tell that Abbie put her all into this book, and I know her hard work will pay off.
WESTON IS ADORABLE
Flawed. Funny. Adventurous. Romantic. Broken, but still willing to see the positive aspects in life. Weston soon became one of my favorite male leads in contemporary YA. I loved reading both his backstory chapters and his present-day story with Tessa.
The dialogue is expertly written and makes Tessa and Weston feel like real people. Weston does cuss, but that is a realistic portrayal of a non-Christian teenage boy who attends public school. However, it did kind of bother me that he felt free to cuss in front of his parents and teachers when he was thirteen. I just found that a bit disrespectful.
Tessa is 100% Relatable
An introverted writer/blogger who doesn’t like going outside? Hello, my new bestie. XD Although I couldn’t relate to Tessa’s physical struggles, I could easily relate to why she was feeling and acting the way she was.
Never a Dull Moment
It is extremely rare for me to never find a dull moment in a book, but this book kept me engaged through its entirety. The pacing is absolutely perfect, and I would have read the book all in one sitting if my schedule would have allowed.
Cuteness. Overload. Gah! ❤ The romance was pure, perfectly paced, and heartmelting. Just like Tessa’s squad, I shipped it from the beginning and was dying for them to finally get together. Their resistance created the perfect amount of tension for the reader and I fangirled like crazy at the ending. ❤
Due to the epically written characterization for both of our main characters, their emotions come off as 100% palpable and sent me on an emotional roller coaster. I was not okay, y’all. XD
Abbie has written an incredible debut novel, and I can’t wait to see where her author career takes her. I predict she’ll become a famously known author like Sarah Dessen or John Green soon enough.
Thank you to the author for providing me a free ebook copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. A positive review was not required to receive the ebook.
For more on 100 Days of Sunlight:
That’s it for today, Arrowheads! Be sure to check out 100 Days of Sunlight!
Aim high, stay strong, and always hit your mark.