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?).

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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. 

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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

Author Interview- Caitlyn Siehl !

Hello everyone ! I am here with another interview today, this time w/ Caitlyn Siehl. She is a poet who I admire so, so much. I had the pleasure of meeting her a few months back, and she is so sweet.

More about Caitlyn: Caitlyn Siehl is a writer and editor from New Jersey who originally gained traction in the literary scene via her poetry blog, which was created in 2011. She is now the author of two bestselling poetry collections; What We Buried and Crybaby. Her fiction has been featured in Hooligan Magazine and is forthcoming in the anthology [Dis]Connected: Volume II. She has also worked as a Managing Editor of Persephone’s Daughters literary magazine, been co-editor of two poetry anthologies (Literary Sexts and Literary Sexts 2), and been a guest poetry judge at L’Éphémère Review.

Caitlyn is currently working on new fiction, several secret poetry projects, and expanding her book Crybaby for it’s re-release as a second edition. ​In her limited free time, she enjoys driving across the country to look at bigger, better trees and listening to D&D podcasts.

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Can you start by introducing yourself and what you do?

Well hi there! My name is Caitlyn Siehl and I’m a writer. I started out posting angsty poetry on Tumblr, and it grew into a huge passion for me. I’m branching out into prose as well, which is exciting for me.

At what age did you start writing poetry, and why did you start?

I started writing poetry when I was 17. I had just started my first year of college and I was feeling very lonely and isolated, so I decided to cry about it on the internet and, guess what? It worked! I met so many people who I’m still friends with today.

What has the publishing process been like for you? What was the hardest part?

I kind of got lucky my first time around. My blog really took off, and after my work had circulated around the internet, I was contacted by a small press and asked to publish a book with them. It was an amazing experience, and one I wouldn’t change for anything. The hardest part was putting the poems in an order that actually told a story. Part of me wanted to just throw a bunch of poems on the paper, but I decided that I wanted them to fit into a larger narrative.

What was the best part?

All of it. Every second. Signing preorders, talking to people who loved it, seeing people get tattoos of my words. I loved all of it.

Are you working on any projects right now, and can you share anything about them with us?

I’m working on a second edition of my second book, “Crybaby,” as well as a secret joint poetry collection with a writer friend of mine. Keep it on the down low! :)

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I see myself with several poetry books under my belt, and at least one novel out in the world. I have so many projects that I hope come to fruition in the next 5 years.

Where does the inspiration come from? Are most of your poems based on real life or fiction?

The inspiration comes at random times. Sometimes I’ll hear a song or a line from a song and an entire experience that I forgot about will flood back into my head. And it’s definitely a mixture of both real life and fiction. Most of the time it’s easier to tell the truth by talking around it; fictionalizing certain parts so that it’s easier to talk about. Not always, but sometimes.

Who are some of your favorite poets?

Oof, too many to count! A few off the top of my head: Sandra Cisneros, Richard Siken, Margaret Atwood, Bob Hicok, Anne Carson, and Aracelis Girmay.

What are your goals (writing or life wise) for this year?

I’m keeping my goals rather small and attainable this year. I’m trying to put out two collections of poetry and I’m also trying to get my novel started.

Finally, what advice/tips do you have for people who are just starting out with poetry?

It’s hard but it’s worth it. Social media is its own beast and it can be really discouraging when you’re just starting out and trying to make a name for yourself. Be patient. Tell your truth. Take care of yourself. Remember why you started and don’t ever forget it. Keep going.

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Thank you so much Caitlyn! I’m honored that you agreed to do this interview, and I loved all of your answers :)

I have another interview lined up soon, and I’m so excited to share it with you guys, so be sure to come back in two weeks to check that one out!

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Interview w/ Poet Rachel Clift- Poet Series #1 // The Interviews Are Back !

If you’ve been following my blog for long enough, you know that I used to do interviews very frequently- with Youtubers, Bloggers, Authors, Poets, etc.

I miss sharing those because I think that they can be very inspirational, and in my opinion, they’re super interesting! I like to get to know the people I look up to better, and this is one way to do that. If you want to check out more interviews I’ve done, you can find them under the “lifestyle” tab at the top of my site.

I decided that I wanted to do a “poet series” of interviews since I am currently working on my own poetry collection. This is a great way to highlight some poets that I personally love, and hopefully some of you can connect to them as well!

Today I have a poet who I’ve followed on Instagram for a really long time. She is so sweet and such an amazing writer. Let’s go meet her!

First, can you start off by introducing yourself and what you do?

I go by R. Clift, but you can just call me Rachel. I’m a poet, writer, traveller, and storyteller. I’ve been using social media for about a year now as a tool to reach people and hopefully offer some inspiration and a sense of togetherness.

How long have you been writing and why did you start?

I’ve been writing poetry since January of 2017, but I’ve been enchanted by stories since before I could speak. I began writing poetry kind of on a whim, I signed up for a class at my university last minute and ended up with a professor who changed my life. His name was Arthur Smith, he was incredible. He passed away last November. I wish you could’ve met him.

Where do you get the inspiration for your poetry?

It depends on the day, it can be anything from a falling leaf to the loss of a family member. Every poem I write has a backstory and probably about 90% relate directly to a person or event in my life. A part of me wants to start sharing some of the backstories, but I haven’t quite decided how yet.

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What are your plans for your writing this year?

I just announced that my first book will be released this summer! So that’s exciting. More news will be coming soon on that. I have a couple more projects in the works too, but they’re not ready for the light so for now just keep close. One day they will be.

What tips do you have for someone just getting into writing poetry?

Be honest with yourself and your words. Write every day, even if it’s just a to-do list in your journal. If you make it a part of your routine, it will come even more naturally to you. If you get blocked, go experience something new— draw inspiration from that. Find the beauty, the poetry, in the ordinary and mundane. I promise it’s there if you pay attention. As long as you have the courage to put a pen on paper, you’re headed in the right direction.

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Thank you so much to Rachel for taking part in this interview! Make sure you check out her Instagram and give her a follow :) See you next Tuesday!

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Interview With a Booktuber- Kat

You might not remember this, but I used to do a series of interviews on my blog with different poets, youtubers, authors, etc. It has been MONTHS since my last one. BUT, I have decided to restart the series, and I have an amazing interview for you guys today that I am so excited for :)

Meet Kat, or paperbackdreams. She is super sweet and I absolutely love her videos! Please check her channel out. Now, let’s get into the interview!

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First, can you introduce yourself to everyone?

My name’s Kat. I’m 18, and I’m a Booktuber/Bookstagrammer/General Bookish Internet User.

Why did you decide to start a Youtube channel (and specifically Booktube)?

Youtube came to me sometime in middle school when I discovered Danisnotonfire and AmazingPhil. They were the start of my internet obsession along with the desire to start a channel of my own, but I didn’t know what kind of videos were right for me to make. I spent my time watching really popular YouTubers for years until the last half of 2013 when I randomly decided to type “bookshelf tour” into the search bar (completely sure that such a thing didn’t exist) and found one of the super popular booktubers. This spurred me on to discover the entirety of the community, and I just spent all the years between my discovery and my first video working up the courage to sit in front of my camera and film.

What are your favorite genres to read?

I am currently trying to branch out my genre reading and have recently discovered my love for thriller and suspense novels. I also love YA fantasy, paranormal, and darker contemporaries.

How has Booktube impacted your life?

This is a pretty average answer, but Booktube has helped me realize that my avid reading is not as strange as I once thought was. It’s allowed me to meet some really cool people who have just as much to say about books and fandoms as I do. Also, I’ve learned a ton about reviewing books and writing!

Where do you see yourself in the next 3 years?

I’m not exactly sure. Probably a tired college student who will have hopefully decided what I want to major in and where I want to go in life. Maybe. And I better still be reading as much as I do now or else my future self better watch her back.

Have you always been an avid reader or did this interest just begin recently?

I’ve been reading for pretty much as long as I can remember. My parents read to me when I was young, and my sister also loves to read, so I grew up around books, and from the point that I learned to comprehend words on my own I would just read and reread books constantly.

What is your favorite book of 2018 thus far?

It’s currently a tie between Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire and The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchinson.

What are some items on your bucket list for both 2018 and your life?

I have too many things on my bucket list that will probably never happen because I’m not super great at following through, but some of my book-related goals are to one day interview an author somehow and maybe write a thing one day. I don’t know what kind of thing, but a thing.

I know you have mentioned that We Are the Ants is your favorite book at the moment. I have just begun reading it myself recently and can understand the hype. What specifically made it a favorite of yours?

To put it very briefly, We Are the Ants surprised me. It’s got so many different storylines going on and all connecting back to this one boy. It’s a lot to take in in the story, but to me it was just about this kid who was kind of lost and hurt, and who didn’t know what to do, but needed to make a decision. All of his thoughts and emotions lined right up with a lot of what I felt/feel and his bitter sarcasm and pessimism was incredible to read because I felt like I was the one talking. It came to me at the perfect time and I know it’s a favorite because I’m not scared of it. There are other books that I’ve read, loved, and never touched again because I have a feeling that if I do I’ll probably find some way to criticize them, and while We Are the Ants is certainly not a perfect book, I am almost certain that if I were to read it again (which I plan to do) I would love it just as much as the first time.

Finally, what advice would you give to someone who is just starting a Booktube channel?

If you want to start a channel, just do it. Terrible advice, but it’s the truest thing I can say. You don’t have to make a big introduction video, or have a fancy camera and lights, or even know exactly what you want to say. I’ve found that if you just sit down in front of some kind of recording device and start talking about books you love (or maybe some books you don’t love) all the rest will follow.

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HUGE thank you to Kat for agreeing to do this interview. It was so fun reading all of her answers. Please be sure to check out her channel, and maybe even leave her a comment saying you came from my blog!

If there is anyone you would want me to interview next, let me know in the comments :) I already have the next one planned!

xo, Jess

 

Interview- Ashley’s Lens!

Yay! I finally have another interview :) This one is with a Youtuber I recently found, whose videos are so incredible and inspiring. Let’s just get into it.
I know you have a Youtube channel (which you can check out here), could you tell everyone what type of videos you post?
Yes I do :) I post stuff about art, photography, film, music, and life. I like to talk about stuff that I know will help people, concerning depression and anxiety, just to be an online friend for some people. But also about more uplifting things like books and my general thoughts on life. From time to time I also sing and post covers or original songs. I try not to be tied down by one specific thing though.
Why did you decide to start a Youtube channel? Where did the idea to make one come from?
I started Youtube because of music, actually. When i was around 12, I never used to watch “Youtubers” back then, but as i started posting (really crappy) singing videos, i soon began to lose interest because the music community on Youtube is extremely cut throat and very demotivating. So I took a 1 year hiatus and fell in love with the youtube community as an audience member and learnt the responsibility, passion and dedication a creator must have – I came back with film, my first “short film” called Letter to September around a year ago (I think, maybe 2). Then, I was into Youtube for the right reasons, and it took me till January 2017 to starting posting every Monday (people that don’t do Youtube will never understand how much commitment that takes)  and now here I am.
You posted a brilliant short film titled “Things We Didn’t Say.” How long did that take you to plan out and write?
Before that film i had been planning another film, more classical than Things We Didn’t Say, with a cast and characters and dialogue. However, I started getting stuck at every crossroad and couldn’t write it as one cohesive thought. Thats when the “incident” that inspired the film happened, right when I had given up on my previous idea. It took me about 2 weeks to write, taking some lines from previous unshared work. It also took about 6 re-writes in those 2 weeks and I tried 4 different sets. It was a short but complex and flowing process, i loved every second of it and can’t wait for the next one.
Where do you get the inspiration for your videos from?
Inspiration can’t be pinned for me, it comes just when I don’t want it to. If I try force it, it never comes. I was feeling rather depressed today for the first time in a while actually, and I went down to the beach because I really needed air and thought I might puke, and sitting there in self misery and disgust I came up with a stellar idea for my next writing project. Inspiration comes from dark places, light places, all over really.
What are some of the challenges of having a Youtube? Has there ever been a time when you wanted to quit?
Ha. Yes and No. Youtube is kind of like all hobbies/jobs. There are parts that you hate and parts that make it all worth it. I used to hate coming up with ideas and that’s what stopped me from uploading often but now I just turn the camera on and talk. Whether it’s cohesive or not – doesn’t matter. If you go into youtube completely committed and completely careless as to what the people want, letting what happens happen but on a regular basis, making sure you do it for you and no one else – there really is no downside. I do it to create things and to keep me healthy.
What is your favorite part about Youtube?
Just with my small subscriber base i have a new family. For example;  I have Mark that always comments an essay about his life, and I love learning about him every week. I have Dylan that always snapchats me. I have Sophie who always comments “YAAS”. I have Lola that always writes three honest lines. and so many more. I’ve made so many cool friends. Unlike school, where you’re forced to make friends with strangers, youtube allows you to connect to people who are just like you.
Are you working on any big projects at the moment that you plan on putting out into the world soon?
numero uno – more classic short films
numero dos – (merchandise… how exciting!)
numero tres – more poetry and monologue films
How do you unwind/relax after a hard day? What are some of your tips for relieving stress?
Going to be honest, I’m not good at relieving stress because I don’t really let anything harsh my mellow. School doesn’t stress me because I don’t think it’s that important in the grand scheme of things, but I still try my best. I just try my best at everything I do. If I try my best, I have nothing to stress about. Even if my best isn’t “up to standard”, I do what I can and I’m happy with that.
Where do you see yourself in the next few years? What do you hope to do in the future?
I hope to be happy, most of all. Living somewhere busy in my own swanky apartment with lots of cats and plants and stuff from Pinterest, you know. But firstly happy, that’s what’s most important to me. I also hope I’ll be creating stuff all the time, and I hope one day I can support my family with my art (as a HAPPY artist).
Finally, if you’re not filming a video, what are you doing?
Napping with my cats: Lilly and Cuddles. Shoutout to the real inspiration for my happiness.
Thank you so much Ashley! It was a pleasure to have you featured on here. You’re responses are amazing, and I hope someone gets some inspiration from them.
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