• Kara Swanson

#FallenLeaves Release Day Post

Updated: Jan 28, 2019

I’m thrilled to be officially sharing the first blog post on my new website, and what better way to launch my blogging bookshelf than with an interview with my dear agent and author friend, Tessa Emily Hall!

Tessa has been my literary agent for almost two years now—but more than that, she has been a very dear friend.

When I read her first novel, Purple Moon, I was so touched by this soulful tale, and so when I found out that the sequel called Fallen Leaves was also coming out—I just had to know more.

Fallen Leaves is about a girl named Selena…

Selena Taylor thought her only worry this fall was starting her junior year at a new arts school in North Carolina, miles away from home. But when she finds out her mom could graduate from rehab sooner than expected even worse, she could work for her former nothing-but-trouble boss—Selena's determined to create a new life for them. Back in her childhood Kentucky hometown.

Step one? Track down her dad and brother that she hasn't seen in eight years. Her anxiety is put to the test, though, when she unveils a truth that could threaten her dreams. Add to that an art competition that pushes her outside of her comfort zone and a girl who seems determined to come between Selena and her hopeful boyfriend.

Soon Selena must decide whether or not to continue her search for her dad and brother. But is there any hope that the ruins of her broken family could be resurrected? And how could God possibly have a purpose in the midst of these changing seasons?

You can grab your own copy here on Amazon:

Or add it to GoodReads:

Alright, now that you know a bit about Fallen Leaves, let’s dive into the interview with Tessa, shall we?

Welcome to my blog today, Tessa! Thank you for being up for answering some questions and letting us in on the behind-the-scenes aspect of crafting Fallen Leaves!

Let’s get started…

How did the concept for Fallen Leaves come about?

After I wrote PURPLE MOON, I knew Selena’s journey wasn’t finished. I needed to find out what happened in the next season of her life in Lake Lure -- whether she would make it into the arts school and if her mom would recover in rehab. Readers were especially interested in finding out whether Selena would reunite with her dad and brother. So, I set out to write this book with these questions in mind.

FALLEN LEAVES follows Selena’s journey throughout the fall (if you haven’t caught on to that already!). ;) She grows in her faith, struggles to overcome anxiety, makes new friends, participates in an art contest, and goes on a quest to find her dad and brother in hopes of her family becoming whole once again.

Is Fallen Leaves connected to Purple Moon in any ways?

Yes, FALLEN LEAVES is the sequel to PURPLE MOON. It can be read as a standalone novel as well, however I do recommend that readers read PURPLE MOON first. =)

Are there any aspects of Selena, your main character, that are similar to you, Tessa?

Yes! I wrote PURPLE MOON when I was sixteen myself--the same age as Selena. Although her story is definitely not my autobiography, I did enjoy finding ways to express facets of myself through her personality and characteristics. For example, Selena is a dreamer, romantic, and artsy, like myself. She loves coffee, fall, and has the same style of clothes that I do. =)

(Aww, I love that!)

What are some of the raw, authentic themes that are woven through this story? And what reaction/connection do you hope readers will make with the way you have presented these topics?

The theme of FALLEN LEAVES explores the question, does being a Christian mean that the dreams I hold for my future will come true? Throughout the story, Selena struggles with this question and is challenged to trust God in her future--even if it doesn’t play out exactly as she had hoped.

Another theme that’s addressed explores the question, can God bring beauty out of brokenness? Selena feels as if her family is beyond broken beyond repair. She doesn’t see how God could breathe life back into her family and restore what they had lost over eight years.

I hope, as readers follow Selena’s journey, they’ll find themselves reflecting on these questions and applying the truth to their own circumstances. I don’t ever want to preach in my stories. But if I can present a topic in a way that invites readers to dig a little deeper into the message and find hope for their lives, that’s when I feel like I’ve made a difference through the power of fiction.

(That is so powerful! I can't wait to see how these themes touch and bring healing to readers. :) )

Who was your favorite character to write in this story?

Selena will always remain my favorite character in this series, of course. =) However, my second favorite character in this story would have to be Madaleigh. She’s a new character in this book and is the first friend that Selena makes at her new arts school. I love her artsy vibe, cool personality, and the way she serves as a genuine friend for Selena.

(I'm looking forward to meeting her!)

How do you juggle being an author, an agent, and so many other amazing and exciting responsibilities?

Haha, it’s not always easy! It all comes down to time management. I have to be strict about my work time and stay organized with my daily and weekly priorities. I go through different seasons as well. For example, I’m currently not writing a book because my attention has been devoted to marketing instead. But I know that, within a month, I’ll begin migrating more toward my writing season. (And I can hardly wait!) =)  

(Yay for more writing!)

Are you a coffee or tea person? Or both?

Definitely coffee! (I say while sipping a coffee at Starbucks, haha.) I’ve always been a coffee lover, just like Selena. I do like tea, though, but I mostly drink herbal tea in the evenings. And my favorite kind is Roasted Dandelion Tea because it’s the kind that tastes most like coffee (of course). =)

(Hehe that makes sense! I love coffee too!)

Are there any things or places that help you get into the headspace to write?

To “get into the zone” of writing, it helps for me to write at home at my desk. With a mug of coffee, of course. And a lit candle. And music in my headphones. I usually listen to the playlist I’ve created for my book--or, if I’m deep in revisions, I’ll listen to instrumental worship music.

(Oooh I love the mood you have going on!)

Who is your favorite Disney princess?

I’ve always admired Mulan for her boldness and for the sacrificial love she expressed toward her father. I watched that movie several times a day as a kid. One time my older sisters decided to count, and they discovered that I had watched it seven times in a row--in one day. Lol! Needless to say, I have pretty much every word and song memorized. ;)  

(Hehe let's be honest, we've all probably sung 'Reflection' or 'I'll Make a Man Out Of You' as kids--or adults!--at some point or another. ;) )

Who would be Selena’s favorite Disney princess? ;)

Ohh, I like this question! She’s a huge fan of fairy tales and happy endings. Selena’s favorite Disney princess is Belle, simply because she can identify with her and the way she doesn’t seem to fit into a mold. Selena isn’t a huge reader, but she admires that Belle has a passion for books and always seems to be lost in another world--similar to Selena and the way she daydreams and often becomes lost in her sketches.

What one piece of encouragement would you give an aspiring writer?

I always advise aspiring writers to do three things: read, research, and write. Read as many books as you can--both within your genre and outside of your genre. Research the industry and the craft of writing. Stay up-to-date on what’s selling. Understand how the publishing process works. Research marketing, too, so you can be aware of what you can do now to build your platform. And finally, write! There are so many people I’ve met who have dreamt of writing a book their entire life, yet they never make time to devote to writing. Either that or they can never finish a project. Sure it might seem daunting at first, but if you can make it a priority, that’s when you’ll start to see progress. Even 500 words every week is better than nothing!

Thank you so much for joining us, Tessa! You are such a dear friend (and a fantastic agent! ☺ <3 ) and I’m beyond excited for your latest release!

We are also running this fantastic Fallen Leaves Prize Pack Giveaway!

Be sure to check it out ^_^

Learn more about Tessa...

Tessa Emily Hall writes inspirational yet authentic books for teens show them they’re not alone—and because she remembers the teen life like it was yesterday (or a few years ago). In addition to being a frequent contributor to both online and print publications, her debut novel was published while still in her teens. She's the founder and editor-in-chief of, a Christian teen magazine, and enjoys mentoring other young writers. She’s guilty of making way too many lattes and never finishing her to-read list. Tessa’s favorite way to procrastinate is by connecting with readers on her blog, mailing list, social media (@tessaemilyhall), and website:

Thank you for joining me, friends! I hope you enjoyed this interview with Tessa and that you are having a wonderful fall!