Tessa and I met over Blogger several years ago. I was so inspired by her story and her passion for writing. I think it is amazing that she has published her first book and I am completely honored to have been a very small part of the process. If you haven't gotten a hold of Purple Moon now is the time to check it out! There are links below.
Tessa Emily Hall is a 19-year-old author of Purple Moon, her YA Christian fiction novel to be published September 2013 by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She is also the editor over the faith department for Temperance Magazine, a column writer for Whole Magazine, a contributing writer for More To Be, as well as the PR for God of Moses Entertainment. Other than writing, Tessa enjoys acting, music, Starbucks, and her Teacup Shih Tzu—who is named Brewer after a character in her book, as well as her love for coffee.
Selena's life isn't turning out to be the fairy tale she imagined as a kid. That hope seemed to vanish long ago when her dad kicked her and her mom out of the house. This summer might finally hold the chance of a new beginning for Selena ... but having to live with her snobby cousin in Lake Lure, NC while waiting for her mom to get out of rehab wasn't how Selena was planning on spending her summer. She soon begins to wonder why she committed to give up her "bad habits" for this.
Things don't seem too bad, though. Especially when Selena gains the attention of the cute neighbor next door. But when her best friend back home in Brooklyn desperately needs her, a secret that's been hidden from Selena for years is revealed, and when she becomes a target for one of her cousin's nasty pranks, she finds herself having to face the scars from her past and the memories that come along with them. Will she follow her mom's example in running away, or trust that God still has a fairy tale life written just for her?
My Middle & High School Experience
Guest Post by Tessa
Guest Post by Tessa
I’m not sure how or why I came up with Selena’s backstory. Because when I think about it, it is almost completely nothing like my middle and high school experience.
I’ve always been a bit different from others my age. I’ve never been one to follow to the crowd (hence the reason I decided to pursue writing early). I didn’t realize exactly how different I was until I reached sixth grade.
All of my friends started separating into cliques, wearing makeup, and getting boyfriends. I was still just a kid who thought the drama that all of my old friends created was silly. I didn’t want to be part of that. And because of that, sixth grade was not easy for me. I felt very alone during this time, and it wasn’t worth it to me to fit in with the crowd just so I could have friends.
Caption: Sixth grade, getting ready for my first—and only—school dance.
After months of begging, my mom decided to pull me out of school and homeschool me in March of that year.
I switched schools in seventh grade and attended the Christian school, which is where my mom was the art teacher. Since I already knew some of the kids who would be in my grade—not to mention, the fact that the school was much smaller than the public school I’d attended—I thought it was going to be a perfect fit for me.
Of course, I loved this school far better than the public school. And the beginning of the year was amazing. But after a couple of months, things started to change. The class separated into cliques, which left me feeling very out of place.
Eighth grade was by far my favorite year of middle school. My sister’s ex-boyfriend’s little sister, Mickey—whom I’d been friends with in a Christian Youth Theater—joined our class. She and I became closer than we ever were and hit it off immediately. We also started hanging out with two other guys in our class—one of the guys I’d known for a long time from church, and another one who eventually became my first boyfriend later that school year.
Caption: With my best friends in 8th grade.
The only thing that I didn’t like about eighth grade was the competitive cheerleading squad I was on. Although I did love the cheering and competing part, I barely had any friends on the squad. And that was hard, especially since there were so many practices. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t be like the rest of them, why I had to be so quiet and not into the things that they were into. However, I really believe that experience stretched me, and I am very thankful that my mom didn’t pull me out of the squad like I’d wanted her too. I learned a lot about striving toward a goal and sticking with it, no matter what.
I had been planning on going back to the Christian school for high school. However, that summer I found out that Mickey’s mom was going to homeschool her the next year. Coincidentally, it was also during that time when someone told my mom about a new online school. Although I had been looking forward to going back to school, I suddenly had a huge desire to do the online school. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to pursue my acting and writing dreams.
Ninth grade flew by—and that summer is when I decided to take my writing more seriously.
Once I started 10th grade, I enrolled in a Christian Writers Guild course, took a creative writing class on my online school, began reading several YA Christian fiction books, and studied the craft of writing via several industry blogs.
I began writing the first version of “Purple Moon” when I was fifteen, but changed it and finished the first draft when I was sixteen. The reason I wanted to be published so young wasn’t so that I could have fame, success, and attention, but simply because I wanted to put my differences to good use.
Caption: With my mom at my first writer’s conference in 10th grade, which is where I met my soon-to-be publisher. =)
During my high school years, I continued to hang out with Mickey, participate in Christian Youth Theater, hang out with my cousins, and went to youth group. By the time my senior year rolled around, I decided to go back to the Christian school so I could graduate with a class.
Memories of middle school immediately came back. Not just because I was in classes with some of the same people as before, but because—once again—I felt entirely different from them. But I didn’t let it bother me. Instead, I accepted it. And by that time, I already had a publishing contract, as well as a boyfriend that I started dating the summer before. So naturally, I didn’t feel as lonely as I did in middle school. School was only three and a half hours a day for seniors anyway. I could handle it.
Caption: My senior picture.
However, when they played a slideshow of the year at our graduation ceremony, I realized that I was hardly in any of the pictures. Several people in my grade were crying watching the slideshow because they were having to say goodbye—but for me, I wanted to cry because I hadn’t made any memories or friends worth saying goodbye to. I hadn’t even gone on the senior trip, only because I didn’t feel like I was close enough to anyone for it to be worth the amount of money. (I also wanted to save money for my writing conference.)
In middle school, my mom told me that God said I was going to use what I’d been experiencing to relate to others through the books that I’d write. I held onto that hope for years. And rather than getting frustrated at God for making me different, I trusted that He was going to put it to good use one day.
The point of sharing this with all of you? So that you can have that same hope, so you can also trust that God is going to also use your differences for good use.
Now that high school is over, I have a feeling that I will be doing this for the rest of my life: writing books for teens and pre-teens, for people who might be going through the same things I’ve experienced. If all of those lonely seasons were for that purpose only—so I could relate to other teens, minister God’s love, and show them that they are not alone—then it was worth it. Definitely worth it.
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“Purple Moon” Blog Tour Stops:
Don’t forget to stop by the blog tour’s next stop to increase your chances of winning the PURPLE MOON Prize Pack!
Wednesday, September 18th: Purple Moon Blog Tour Launch: The Story Behind the Story: Christ is Write
Thursday, September 19th: 5 Facts about Purple Moon: Kim Vandel
Friday, September 20th: Character Sketches + Character Cast Contest: Who YA Reading?
Monday, September 23rd: Behind the Scenes: Why I Chose Lake Lure: Words to Dreams
Tuesday, September 24th: Release Day! Selena’s Diary Entry + Creative Photo Contest: Writing for Young Adults
Wednesday, September 25th: Austin’s Diary Entry: Amy’s Book Blog
Thursday, September 26th: Q & A: Notebook Sisters
Friday, September 27th: Purple Moon Playlist: Ashley Carr
Monday, September 30th: Purple Moon Excerpt: Wooden Swings: Heather Brice
Tuesday, October 1st: Dealing With Anxiety—The Spiritual IV: The Destiny of One
Wednesday, October 2nd: Q & A: Saved by Grace
Thursday, October 3rd: Behind the Scenes: Name Meanings: Labor Not In Vain
Friday, October 4th: Is It Okay To Be An Introvert?: Alex Inks It
Monday, October 7th: Story Behind the Cover Art: Candy Apple Books
Tuesday, October 8th: Purple Moon Excerpt: Cherishing the Sunrise: Author Casey Bond
Wednesday, October 9th: Q & A: Writing While the Rice Boils
Thursday, October 10th: Behind the Scenes: Christian Human Videos: Writing in Wonderland
Friday, October 11th: Teenage Substance Abuse: Emily Rachelle
Monday, October 14th: Behind the Scenes: Lake Lure Academy of the Arts: Worthy 2 Read
Tuesday, October 15th: My Middle & High School Experience: Hello Highlights
Wednesday, October 16th: Purple Moon Excerpt: Meatless Turkey Sandwich: Diane Estrella
Thursday, October 17th: Body Image Laurel’s Leaves
Friday, October 18th: Behind the Scenes: Brewer’s Coffee: A Splash of Ink
Monday, October 21st: Purple Moon Excerpt: Farkle at the Park: A Slightly Nerdy Bookworm
Tuesday, October 22nd: Teenage Dating: Tell The World
Wednesday, October 23rd: Q & A: The YA Book Stack
Thursday, October 24th: How Much of My Personal Life Did I Put Into “Purple Moon”?: Read For Your Future
Friday, October 25th: Fairy tales & Happy Endings + Contest Winners!: Inspiring Daring