April TBR 2020

Welcome to my April TBR, or more accurately, me trying to figure out how many books I can read while on quarantine.

Picking a TBR at the beginning of every month has almost become like a sport to me now that I actually stick to the list. I love deciding which books I’m going to read each month because I feel like I’m in control, rather than my inconsistent moods.

This month, I’m going to be participating in the O.W.L.s Magical Read-a-thon! I participated last year, and figured that if I could do it while I was extremely busy at school, I could definitely do it again this year, now that I’m home!

This year, my chosen career is a wandmaker, which means I am required to read 5 books. My monthly TBRs recently have all been 5 books long, but because of the recent isolation we’re all in, I decided it was safe to add a couple more books to the list, so I have 8 for you guys this month!

I don’t know if I truly will read them all, but it doesn’t hurt to aim high!

Ancient Runes: Read a book w/ a heart on the cover or in the title

The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett- This has been on my TBR for so long and Jenn Bennett is one of my favorite authors and I’m embarrassed that I haven’t read this yet. Moving on.

Arithmancy: Read something outside of your favorite genre

As You Wish by Chelsea Sedoti- This is the e-book that I picked from my TBR jar this month. It’s supposedly fantasy/fabulism, which is definitely not my favorite genre. I’m excited to see how I end up feeling about this one!

Care of Magical Creatures: Read a book with a creature w/ a beak on the cover

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo- I have this one on audio, and it is another that I’m embarrassed I haven’t read yet! I am actually one of the few who didn’t hate Shadow and Bone, so I’m excited to read a book by Bardugo that is supposedly much better!

Charms: Read a book with a white cover

Picking Cotton by Jennifer Caninno and Ronald Cotton- This is sort of cheating because it’s more off-white/cream-colored, but I really want to get to this one this month, so I had to fit it in! It’s a non-fiction novel that I just recently purchased. I don’t read a lot of  non-fiction, but I want to start, so I can’t wait to read this!

Herbology: Read a book whose title starts with the letter “I”

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin- I have heard many mixed things about this one, but I personally feel like I’m going to love it- I may just be basing this off of the cover, but still.

Extras:

Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett- This book comes out in May and I was lucky enough to receive an ARC! I want to read it and review it before it comes out, hence why I am hoping to read it now!

Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen- On Twitter, I asked if anyone would be interested in a virtual book club, and I created a small group with a few people. We decided to read this book this month, which I am so happy about! I have heard really great things about it, so I’m hoping to love it!

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo- This is the pick for Tiffany and Alexandra’s book club this month! I definitely want to read it and participate for the first time, especially because I’ve been wanting to read a Maurene Goo book for the longest time!!

let's chat

That’s it for all of the books I’m hoping to read this month!

If you’ve read any, let me know what your thoughts were. What book do you want to read in April?

Jessica

Quarterly Favorites #1 / Jan-Mar 2020

Hello everyone! Today I wanted to share the first installment of a new series on my blog- quarterly favorites. I’ve shared some favorites here in the past, but it’s something I haven’t done in a really long time.

I think it is a good way to incorporate more of my life on this blog, and I hope it allows you to get to know me more- and maybe you’ll find some of your own favorites, too!

As this is a quarterly favorites post, it is something I’m hoping to do every 3 months.

Books:

  • How to Make Friends with the Dark by Kathleen Glasgow
  • If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio
  • My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan
  • The Diviners by Libba Bray
  • The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson

Movies/TV Shows:

  • The Circle: I haven’t watched or started really any new tv shows in a while, but I did binge this one and I LOVED it. It was super entertaining, and I am eagerly waiting for season 2.

As far as movies, I have been watching many because I am trying to watch all 100 movies on the American Film Institute’s “Best Movies of All Time” list! Here are some of my favorites:

  • Psycho
  • Singin’ in the Rain
  • Casablanca

Music:

  • To Die For by Sam Smith
  • Never Worn White by Katy Perry
  • What A Man Gotta Do by Jonas Brothers
  • I Love Me by Demi Lovato

Health/Fitness:

Other:

  • Notion for desktop- this productivity/task system is incredible
  • the Balance meditation app
  • Tik Tok whipped iced coffee- if you haven’t seen this trend, I recommend looking it up and trying it!

let's chat

That is all for my favorites of the last three months! If you also like any of these things, let me know in the comments so we can chat about them :)

Jessica

2020 Life Goals and Resolutions (Will I actually be successful this year?)

Hello and welcome to my 2020 life goals post! I know that we’re halfway through the month at this point, but I still wanted to share what my 2020 goals are because I like to have a way to hold myself accountable!

If you haven’t already seen it, I posted a reading goals post a little while ago that you can check out as well!

I have many goals this year that I honestly don’t know if I will be able to accomplish fully. However, I wanted to go into this year by aiming high rather than low, so I decided to add more resolutions than I usually would.

I divided them up into personal and blogging goals, though the personal ones can be divided up even further into mindfulness, health/fitness, school, finance, and misc.!

Along with this, my mantra for the year is “be present.” I noticed that I tend to spend way too much time planning for, thinking, and worrying about the future rather than focusing on the here and now. Hopefully, I will be able to change that this year!

Now, let’s get onto the goals!

Personal:

Mindfulness:

  • meditate more frequently
  • set to-do lists the night before
  • limit screen time

Health/Fitness:

  • eat less processed sugar
  • workout 3-5 days per week (at least 15 times per month)
  • drink 64 oz of water per day

Finances:

  • attempt a “low buy year”
  • add $5-10 per week into savings account
  • pay off credit card

School:

  • join a new club
  • start thesis research
  • land a summer internship or job (slightly school-related)

Miscellaneous:

  • write more frequently
  • watch all movies on AFI’s Best 100 Movies list
  • learn to bake/cook better

Blog:

  • Post at least once a week (but aim for 2)
  • write one book review per month
  • utilize Pinterest more
  • hit 1000 followers

let's chat

Again, I am being ambitious this year, but I’m going to slowly incorporate these things into my lifestyle. I am not trying to immediately accomplish all of these, so I do think I can be fairly successful!

What are some of your resolutions?

Jessica

Post Ideas for Book Bloggers / Blogtober Day 29

It can be hard to come up with new blog posts. Especially after you’ve been doing it for a while. You feel like you’re running out of ideas, and sometimes you just can’t think of any. So, today I thought I would share some ideas for general topics you can write about! Feel free to share any others in the comments, too! You can refer back to this whenever you feel like you’re having writer’s block :)

The Basics:

  • TBRs: These can be monthly, seasonal, read-a-thon specific, etc. They are a classic blog post topic that can be done frequently!
  • Wrap-Ups: Similar to the previous one, these can be done monthly, seasonally, every 5 books you read, etc. They are always going to be different because you are talking about different books (duh, that’s how it works).
  • Reviews: Obviously, as book bloggers, we read! So, there are always new books we can review. I have actually grown to love writing reviews. There’s something so fun about trying to capture the essence of a book in a new way every time.
  • Recommendations: There are so many different recommendation posts to do, which is true for all of the post ideas I’ve mentioned so far.

These are all great because they can be redone in many different ways over and over again.

Fun:

  • Tags: There are hundreds and hundreds of tags floating around the web. You can just search “book tag” on google and find tons of them to choose from! They are a great way to engage with the community, too. You can tag others and read their responses! It gets a lot of people involved.
  • Weekly “Memes”: Top Ten Tuesday, Waiting on Wednesday, etc. are all great blog posts that give you at least one new post every week!
  • Q&A: This is a great way for people to get to know you. You can talk about other hobbies/interests you have, answer questions specifically about books, or a mix of everything!
  • Giveaway: Host a giveaway! This is a  really fun way to get more people to check out your site (if you promote via Instagram/Twitter/etc.). This is obviously only something you should do if you have the means to. You can give away a book you already own (maybe even annotate it), or you can buy someone a new release, or even give away a voucher for a specific bookstore!

Unique Content:

  • Discussion Posts: You can write a discussion post on pretty much anything- which is why this is such a unique post. Everyone will have different takes on certain topics, so reading them is always fun.
  • Blogging Advice: This is another one that’s going to be different for each person. We all have different experiences when it comes to blogging, so we have different tips to share! You can also make these specific and do different variations. You can write a post on formatting and using code in your blog posts, another on how to go self-hosted, a general tips post, and more!
  • Interviews: You can interview authors, other bloggers, bookstagrammers, Youtubers, etc. You can do so many of these and ask different questions for each person! I personally love reading interviews- it’s a great way to learn more about people in this community!
  • Reading Tips: This is a fun one because you can do a lot with it, too. For example, you can do a “how to read more as a college student” or “how to annotate” and so many other variations!

let's chat

What are some of your favorite blog posts to write? Mine have to be recommendations or discussion posts! But I love them all in different ways :)

Jessica

Book Blogging Tips / Blogtober Day 25

I’ve been blogging for four years now. It’s crazy how fast time flies. I am still not an expert when it comes to blogging, but I’ve learned a few things over the years. I have a blog post giving some advice from a few years ago, and I still stand by those points. However, I think this updated post is necessary, and I have some new tips to share!

Here they are:

🖊 Be consistent, but give yourself breaks.

Consistency really is key. I have seen it in my own stats. When I post once a week, or twice a week, my readers know what to expect. More people are also able to find you the more frequently you post.

However, everyone needs a break. I’ve taken many blogging breaks during my time on here, and trust me, they were much needed. You’ll be much happier in the long run, and you’ll be able to prevent burn out.

Prioritize your mental health!!

🖊 Find your voice.

Finding your voice is probably the hardest tip to achieve that I can give, but I think it’s important. The easiest way to do this is by thinking about the way you communicate in real life. Do you like to crack jokes? Are you sarcastic? Are you a super happy, ball of energy? Show that in your writing! Use bold or capital letters, add some humor, put in your dialect, etc.

Some of the best examples of distinct voices are May, Marie, Cait, and Shealea.

Read through a couple of their posts. You’ll be able to tell the difference between their writing styles because each one is super unique!

Fish out of water5

🖊 Don’t compare yourself to others.

I know I just told you to go look at a few other bloggers, but at the same time, don’t compare yourself to them. You are your own person, and you will do things in your own way. It is important to keep that in mind, especially if you are a beginner blogger. Don’t look at the way some people have a developed style and you might not yet. Don’t think about how many readers someone else is gaining that you’re not.

It’s totally ok to look up to certain bloggers, but remember, they got where they are now through a lot of hard work and dedication. It doesn’t happen overnight. To get where you want to be, you just have to be patient and continue to do the thing you love.

🖊 Stats aren’t everything

It can be easy to feel discouraged because you’re putting in a lot of work for each blog post, but then no one is reading them. It’s ok. Keep putting out this content, and eventually, an audience will come to you. It takes a lot of time, especially in the beginning. Try not to focus on the stats because that will only tear you apart and won’t make you happy. Focus on the writing and the reading, the rest will follow.

🖊 Don’t feel pressured to post specific content or read specific books

When I first started blogging, I was not reading all of the books that everyone else was. I didn’t buy a lot of books in general. I would go to my library and pick up a random book, read the synopsis, and decide if I wanted to borrow it or not. I did not reach for Goodreads to read the reviews first.

Eventually we all fall to the hype- maybe not all the time, but you may sometimes find yourself browsing a bookstore and picking up books that you’ve heard about online. You might not even glance at books you’ve never heard of. And if you only read “popular” books, that is totally fine! Most of my reads can be considered hyped books.

BUT, don’t read those because you feel like you need to. Read them because you want to. If you’re a romance reader, read and write about romance books. If you like fantasy, don’t force yourself to read the next hyped contemporary if you don’t want to.

The same goes for your content. You don’t have to post TBRs, wrap-ups, tags, etc. If you want to, do it. But if you have a really cool, creative post idea that you’re afraid to share because it’s uncommon, you should just go for it!

No two blogs are going to look the same, and that is ok. In fact, it’s what makes this community so great. We all enjoy different books, we all have different styles and tastes.

let's chat

I hope this post was helpful in some way! Please leave a comment with any other book blogging (or blogging in general) tips you have.

Do you like this type of post? Would you want to see more like it?

Jessica

Bookish Tattoos I Want to Get / Blogtober Day 21

I don’t have any tattoos. Yet. But there are so many that I want. Not necessarily all bookish, but there are quite a few bookish ones I’m interested in.

Pinterest is my best friend when it comes to finding tattoos, so that’s where all of these pictures are from. They are not my own!

Book

I would love a tattoo with a book incorporated directly on it in some way. These are some of my favorite examples:

Symbols

I think tattoos of symbols like “&” and quotation marks are adorable. I’m a fan of simple, minimalistic tattoos, so this is one I’m most likely to get.

book tattoo

Erin Morgenstern Related

I fell in love with Erin Morgenstern’s writing this year. I would love to get a tattoo dedicated to either The Night Circus or The Starless Sea. I would either get a symbol of some kind to represent the books (like a bee, a key, and a sword for The Starless Sea) or a direct quote from one of them.

erin morgenstern tattoo

Writer

As both a reader and a writer, I would like to represent both in some way. I like the idea of a typewriter. It’s pretty, but it’s simple. I also love the quote pictured below. I think it would be cool to get it tattooed!

let's chat

I have tons of tattoo ideas, but I’ll most likely only end up getting one or two during my lifetime. Do you have any tattoos? If so, what are they? If not, do you want to get some?

Jessica

Apps I Use For Bookstagram / Blogtober Day 20

I used to be an avid Twitter user. I mean, I still am. But as of a few months ago, I’ve been really dedicated to making my Bookstagram look nice. I love coming up with new themes, taking pictures, writing captions, etc.

For today’s post, I wanted to share some of the apps that I use for Instagram. Maybe you’ll even find a new app to use!

VSCO:

Almost everyone is familiar with this app, but if you’re not, it’s basically a filtering app. They have tons of filters to choose from (plus you can buy more packs). I’ve been using this one for years now, and it is a classic for quickly making any picture look great!

Some of my favorite filters are…

  • 04
  • A6
  • C6
  • HB1
  • HB2
  • M5

Here are some before and afters using just VSCO:

Lightroom:

This is another app that many people know. It’s the mobile version of one of the photoshop applications. This one is great for creating your own filters, or “presets.” You can play around with the color of the picture, edit the lighting, and do much more. It’s basically the advanced version of VSCO- like taking off the training wheels. But once you get used to it, it’s super simple to use!

You can also buy pre-made presets online on sites like Etsy, and from some Instagram users. You can apply a specific set of edits onto each of your pictures. I’ve purchased a couple, and they are really nice! Just choose carefully because you want to make sure the presets you buy are going to work with the type of pictures you take. You don’t want to spend money on a preset you’ll never use (like I’ve done before).

Snapseed:

This is the final photo editing app I have on this list, but it’s one of my favorites. I usually edit my pictures on here first, and then I put it through either VSCO or lightroom. There are so many tools on this app, from editing the lighting in one specific area of the picture, to adding filters, and more. It is incredible and kind of a hidden gem. It’s not as well known as the first two.

UNUM:

On top of editing my pictures, I also plan out my feed. I don’t want too many flatlays in a row or two pictures of the same book. Unum lets you lay out your pictures, add a caption, and even post straight from their app. I usually write my captions straight onto Instagram, but this is a great feature if you want to plan out many pictures in advance. There are a ton of apps similar to this one, but this is my favorite.

Nichi:

The last app on this list is a story editing app. It has so many cute stickers and pictures you can add. I use this one pretty frequently when putting updates on my story. Again, there are tons of story editing apps, but this one has been my favorite.

let's chat

Those are all the apps I used most frequently. I am having so much fun playing around with the editing of my Instagram, and I hope you guys are liking my current feed! Again, if you want to follow me, click here.

What are some of your go-to apps? Do you use any of the ones I mentioned?

Jessica

Favorite Horror Films / Blogtober Day 11

Recommendation

When I was little, horror movies used to absolutely terrify me. I would get nightmares from even the smallest parts of the film, but I would still watch them anyways. I loved the thrill and feeling of being scared.

As an adult, I still watch horror movies whenever I can, but they don’t really have the same effect on me. I still love them, though and I enjoy reading mystery/thriller novels, though. I wanted to share some of my favorite horror movies with you guys for today’s post so that you can stock up for the week of Halloween!

*Also, I’m not a film critic in any way, so this is just my opinion. Don’t take it too seriously.

Image result for insidious

Insidious:

If I’m being honest, this is probably one of the only horror movies that still scares me. I just remember it having a lot of jump scares and creepy, realistic scenes. I watched every single movie from this series with my childhood best friend. We actually had movie nights almost every Friday, and this was one of our favorites.

The Ring:

This is a classic. I loved it so much when I watched it  for the first time, and I still really, really like it. I actually bought a DVD of this movie when I was like 12 at a festival I went to with my family, and since then, I have re-watched it numerous times. It is so well done, and it’ll definitely give you goosebumps.

Image result for the ring

Mama:

I have only watched this one once. I honestly don’t remember much from it. But I watched it when I was on vacation in Poland when I was around 11 years old, and I remember it scaring the living daylights out of me. I couldn’t sleep for the next two nights. I don’t know if my opinion on it would have changed now, but I’m still keeping it on here.

 

The Silence of the Lambs:

This is another classic. I watched it just a few year ago for the first time, and I thought it was amazing. I’m planning on re-watching it very soon, too, because it is perfect for the Halloween season.

Image result for a quiet place

A Quiet Place:

This one was GOOD. I feel like I haven’t watched many recent horror films, but this is one that I was able to see. Watching it on the big screen definitely enhanced my enjoyment as well. It was super atmospheric and spooky.

Image result for devil movie

Devil:

This is one I watched so, so long ago. I just remember it scaring me a lot. It’s about a group of people stuck in an elevator, and one of them is the devil. It’s such a cool concept. Highly recommend it.

 

 

let's chat

Do you like horror movies? If so, what are some of your favorites? I need recommendations for some more recent ones because I’ve been very bad at keeping up with them!

Jessica

How I’m Going to Stay Organized this School Year

Hey, loves! I’m back with another school-related post. If you’re new here, you probably don’t know how much I love organization, but… it’s a lot.

Like, I have seven different planners, hundreds of pens, a notebook system, etc. It’s bad.

Now, I don’t actually use all seven planners at once, but I like having them to play around with and figure out what I like best. I’ve finally set a system that works for me in terms of organization for school (and my life in general).

I wanted to show you what that looks like today because it’s the only thing that currently keeps me sane. I think everyone (student or not), needs a good planner system that works for them. That being said, this might not work for you, but some of it can. So pick and choose what you think you can incorporate into your own life, or feel free to disagree with all of my ways of doing things and continue on with what’s working for you! It’s nothing personal and everyone knows themselves and their lives best.

*Prepare yourself for a long and detailed post because I can talk about this for hours.

For taking notes:

This year, I am trying out a new system of note-taking at school. I’ve tried many different methods for this in the past, and I decided to combine the things that have worked before into one this September.

In class, I will be taking notes in a composition notebook. The majority of my classes do not allow us to use our laptops, so I am not able to type notes. I actually prefer handwriting my original notes anyways, so this is fine by me. But, I like my notes to be very neat.

During class, the professor talks really fast, so you don’t get to make your notes look pretty and they’re usually a mess by the end of each lecture. I found myself getting frustrated by this because I need my notes to be very organized. I color code, underline, etc.

Post-class, I am going to transfer my notes into a 5-subject notebook- one subject for each of my classes (I’m actually taking 6 classes this semester but one of them will not require much notetaking, so I got a separate notebook for it). These will be the nice notes that I take my time on, and I can refer to these during class or when doing homework. The information will be clear and easy to find. I know that for most people this is a lot of work, and there’s no point to it, but I learn by writing information down, so as I’m doing this, I’m also studying. I can kill two birds with one stone. I use my notes to study. I make study guides and flashcards with them, so these are vital to me.

Finally, I just downloaded the OneNote application to my laptop. I’m not too familiar with it yet, but I’ve been playing around with it and all of the features it has so that I can use it to its fullest potential. I am loving it so much.

I always, always make study guides for tests. It’s the best way for me to study. I take the information from my notes and type up only the information that I need to know for the exam. It’s definitely WAY more concise than my notes, so I can read through it a couple of times throughout the day to get in the information for the exam without being overwhelmed by pages and pages of detailed notes.

Again, this probably seems very tedious to others, but this helps me out a lot. OneNote also allows my notes to be customizable- you can draw on them, insert diagrams, pictures, etc. which I think will make the process even more enjoyable.

Hopefully this all makes some sort of sense to you! If it’s confusing, feel free to ask any questions down below!

For planning my day-to-day school life:

In college, your classes are all at different times; you might have one class at 10 am and the next one might not be until 2:15. Because of this, I needed a different planner than the one I used in high school where all of my classes took place at the same time every day.

Last year, I bought a Day Designer planner that was small but still gave me the functionality I was looking for. I bought the same one this year because I think it’s perfect for college students.

You get a page for each day that is split into two columns- one is a schedule, and the other is a to-do list.

On the side with a schedule (from 6am to 8pm), I write down what times I have classes, work, club meetings, plans with friends, etc. On the opposite side, I write down my homework and things I need to get done for the day. This includes chores like laundry, cleaning my desk, etc. I also sometimes put in sticky notes with shopping lists or other things I need to remember for the day.

As for the monthly layouts, I use those for keeping track of big assignments- project due dates, exams, finals, etc. I also include big events such as move-in day, winter break, etc. This way I can plan my day-to-day life accordingly.

This planner is probably my favorite that I’ve ever used, so I highly recommend it (this is not sponsored btw).

For planning my day-to-day creative life:

I got a ban.do planner back in January because I’ve always loved how they looked. I wanted to give it a try myself because I have 0 self-control. I really, really like it, but it doesn’t really work for my life right now. However, I do still have a few months of it left because it is dated, so I want to get use out of them.

So, I’ve been using it mainly to keep track of my creative projects- whether that’s writing a blog post, filming a video, working on my manuscript, editing my poetry collection, etc. Every day I want to make sure that I focus on at least one creative project. My entire life can not revolve around school (even though it often looks like it does). This is a good way for me to also stay on track with everything. I need to make sure I dedicate time to taking pictures for blog posts so that I can get the post up on time, for example.

After the year is over (maybe even earlier than that), I want to switch this all over to my bullet journal (which I will talk about next).

For big-picture planning:

I’ve used a bullet journal on and off for a few years now. I found that it never worked for me because I spent way too much time on making it look pretty that it lost its functionality. I had to make daily spreads weeks in advance in order to have them ready for the actual day I needed it for. That is not very practical, especially as a college student who already has so many other things going on in her life.

For the past couple of months, I started using the bujo style for tracking my reading, blogging, and videos. Even more recently, I made monthly spreads just for scheduling what posts were going up when. This was super helpful. I also realized that I liked being creative in my bujo, but that I don’t need every page to be super intricate.

Instead, I make my monthly spreads really pretty and creative but then stick to simple spreads for everything else.

Here is a list of pages that I include:

Monthly

  • month overview- plan blog posts and videos
  • goals and to-do’s
  • budget tracker
  • TBRs (for read-a-thons and just for me)
  • Wrap-ups

General

  • video/blog notes
  • video/blog ideas
  • upcoming ARCs
  • morning/night routines (per season)

Again, as I mentioned, I will eventually include daily spreads for my creative life after I use up my ban.do planner.

So really, I am only using 2 planners- one for school life, one for creative life. I like keeping these two separate and I think I always will, so this system will most likely be around for a few years at least.

chat with me

Anyways, I hope this post was helpful to some of you- if it was, please let me know so that I can continue to do posts of this kind! Again, if you have any questions about the system (it’s a lot, I know), just leave those down below!

Thank you so much for reading. See you next week.

jessica

Interview with Author Abbie Emmons! // Blog Tour

Hey, loves! Welcome or welcome back to my blog :) Today I have a really exciting post because I haven’t done one of these in quite a long time- it’s an interview with Abbie Emmons, author of 100 Days of Sunlight.

I was so lucky to be able to be part of this blog tour and to get to interview Abbie. She is a YouTuber, blogger, and now, an author! I have been following her journey for a couple years now, so it was definitely exciting to receive an early copy of her book (Also, how gorgeous is that cover?).

Abbie Emmons - 100 Days of Sunlight 08

Here’s the Goodreads synopsis:
When 16-year-old poetry blogger Tessa Dickinson is involved in a car accident and loses her eyesight for 100 days, she feels like her whole world has been turned upside-down. 

Terrified that her vision might never return, Tessa feels like she has nothing left to be happy about. But when her grandparents place an ad in the local newspaper looking for a typist to help Tessa continue writing and blogging, an unlikely answer knocks at their door: Weston Ludovico, a boy her age with bright eyes, an optimistic smile…and no legs.

Knowing how angry and afraid Tessa is feeling, Weston thinks he can help her. But he has one condition — no one can tell Tessa about his disability. And because she can’t see him, she treats him with contempt: screaming at him to get out of her house and never come back. But for Weston, it’s the most amazing feeling: to be treated like a normal person, not just a sob story. So he comes back. Again and again and again.

Tessa spurns Weston’s “obnoxious optimism”, convinced that he has no idea what she’s going through. But Weston knows exactly how she feels and reaches into her darkness to show her that there is more than one way to experience the world. As Tessa grows closer to Weston, she finds it harder and harder to imagine life without him — and Weston can’t imagine life without her. But he still hasn’t told her the truth, and when Tessa’s sight returns he’ll have to make the hardest decision of his life: vanish from Tessa’s world…or overcome his fear of being seen.

Now, the interview:

First, where did the idea for this book come from and when did you start drafting/writing it? Is it based off of real experiences/people/etc?

One day I was thinking about my own lifestyle and how much I use my sense of sight for everything I do: blogging, writing, making videos, reading, everything — and then I thought how different all that would be if, for some reason, I suddenly went blind. I pondered this thought for a few hours, and then suddenly the idea struck me: blogger girl loses her eyesight, meets a boy with no legs (unbeknownst to her) and he helps her overcome her struggles. That was all I had at the start, but it was enough to totally steal my heart and make me want to write the book IMMEDIATELY. 

How long was the writing process with this novel and was it difficult to write?

100 Days of Sunlight still holds the record for the fastest writing process I’ve ever had. I wrote the book for NaNoWriMo 2017 and finished the whole thing in 27 days. I felt super inspired while writing it and only took one day off throughout the whole writing process. It was truly a pleasure to write, from start to finish!

How has being on Youtube impacted your writing life, either in a positive or negative way?

It has definitely impacted my writing life in many positive ways! I love being able to connect with the writing community and share the struggles and triumphs of being a writer and author. I also love creating something every single week and putting it out there, getting feedback and building relationships with fellow writers. The only downside is that it does consume a lot of my time, which means I have to fight a little harder for my writing time. But it’s so worth it. 

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What would you say is your main character, Tessa’s, biggest strength in terms of personality?

I would say that her greatest strength is her empathy. Like me, Tessa is a very loyal and caring person and feels very deeply about everything. After the accident that renders her blind, she feels super frustrated and bitter towards her circumstances but eventually awakens to the realization that she still has a full life and many ways to experience the beauty in the world. I think this world needs more empathetic people, and I hope Tessa’s journey inspires my readers to awaken to their own truths. 

When did you first realize you want to become an author?

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a writer. I’ve always loved stories and found them so magical, and as soon as I learned how to write, I was crafting stories of my own. However, it wasn’t until about 5 years ago that I decided writing would be my career. I explored and learned a lot about myself in my teenage years, but the passion I kept coming back to was always the same: writing. 

I know this is a difficult question to answer, but what is your favorite book of all time?

This is SUCH a hard question, but if I had to choose I would say To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. This is such an incredible novel for so many reasons, and it is hands-down the most impressive work of fiction I’ve ever read.

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Can you describe the editing process for this book? Has the story changed dramatically from draft number one to now? If yes, in what ways?

The story hasn’t changed much since the first draft. In fact, I recently made a video explaining my editing process and comparing my first draft to my final draft if you’re interested in seeing a behind-the-scenes look! But because I outline so intensively before I sit down to write the first draft, I work out most of the story issues in advance and don’t have to edit much beyond wording and pacing in draft 2.

What has been the biggest challenge of the self-publishing process so far?

The whole self-publishing process is a challenge and a big learning curve. It’s something that you really can’t expect yourself to be great at the first time around. One of the things I’ve found most challenging is the back-and-forth formatting adjustments and making sure everything is flawless in the actual book files. It’s easy enough to update an ebook file, but print is forever! It’s been a little nerve-wracking to think about, but at this point, I feel confident that I have done my best. 

chat with me

Thank you Abbie, for taking the time to answer all of these questions. It was such a pleasure to chat with her today, and I hope you guys enjoyed this post! If you want to check out 100 Days of Sunlight, you can buy it on Amazon or add it on Goodreads.

Thanks for reading :) See you next week!

jessica