A few weeks ago you may recall I posted a book review of 100 Days of Sunlight by Abbie Emmons. The book has now been published as of this week! To celebrate the publication of 100 Days of Sunlight I am excited to interview the author of this delightful book on the blog today – Abbie Emmons.
We’ll be chatting about Abbie’s debut novel 100 Days of Sunlight as well as about her experiences writing and the journey of self-publishing her book. This interview is a part of a blog tour so you may be seeing Abbie’s book around the internet a fair bit this month!
On 100 Days of Sunlight:
What inspired you to write 100 Days of Sunlight?
I feel like 100 Days of Sunlight is a story that has always been in my heart, I just didn’t know it until April 2017. The idea came to me quite literally like a lightbulb turning on. The whole premise just popped into my head, completely out of nowhere. I immediately fell in love with the idea — two characters experiencing loss, recovery, and hope; two characters connecting to help each other heal in ways they wouldn’t have been able to alone. I knew it would be a love story, but not just about romantic love — it would be about the love between brothers, and grandparents, and friends. The story captured my heart before I even knew how it would end.
Do you relate personally to any of the characters from the book, and why?
Oh yes. I feel like I can relate personally to every character on a different level. Tessa’s obsession with control and independence, Weston’s sunshiney optimism, Rudy’s quiet seriousness, Grandma’s tough love, Grandpa’s faith, Henry’s sensitivity… I feel like there’s a little piece of me in all of these characters. But, at the same time, there is something I can learn from all of them. That’s just one of the many things that makes writing so cool!
How long on average has it taken you to see this book be written and published?
About 2.5 years. Like I said, the idea first sparked in April of 2017. Then I brainstormed and outlined it for about 7 months and wrote the first draft in November of 2017. After that, it was just editing, editing, editing… then at last I made the big announcement in May of this year.
What scenes do you find the hardest to write in a novel? (You can be specific to 100 Days of Sunlight or to other writing in general, I don’t mind)
Ooh, that’s a good question. I would have to say: big time jumps. It’s hard to zoom through time without making the reader feel like they missed something – or worse, like the pacing is too quick. In 100 Days of Sunlight I pulled off the flashback time jumps by entering a moment in the past and “reliving” it with a mixture of narration and dialogue. Still, I needed my beta readers to give me feedback when they first read the book and tell me how they felt about the pacing.
Whenever I’m struggling with a certain aspect of writing, it’s usually just that I’m overthinking it and it’s actually really good. My beta readers definitely help me to see that.
How do you come up with the names for your characters?
I have a running list of character names that I like, and I reference that a lot when I’m crafting new characters. But sometimes I’ll be crafting a new character and a name will just come to me, out of the blue – and I know that character is meant to have that name. It’s always something that suits them perfectly!
What is one thing that you think people misunderstand about the genre you write in?
I love this question. I think what people misunderstand about contemporary is how deep and compelling it can be. A lot of people think that sweet contemporary romance is fluffy, shallow, and saccharine – but it doesn’t have to be! My goal with writing in this genre is to show how serious and important contemporary stories can be. In 100 Days of Sunlight there are many sweet and lighthearted moments… but there are also many serious and emotional moments, too. Real life is a combination of happiness and heartache, and I think contemporary captures that paradox in a beautifully intimate way.
What is your ideal writing environment?
I’m blessed to be able to look out the window at a beautiful lake while I write, and I love it best when the weather is warm and breezy and the windows are open. A quiet house, a hot cup of tea beside me, my laptop (and Scrivener) in front of me, and my little dog Pearl sleeping nearby – that’s pretty much my ideal writing environment.
What has been your favourite experiences in self-publishing 100 Days of Sunlight?
Seeing how excited everyone is for it. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude! It still feels so surreal to me every time someone posts a photo on Instagram of their Kindle or phone with 100 Days of Sunlight on the screen. And that’s just been the ARC readers! I can’t imagine how bowled over I’ll be when I start seeing photos of folks holding the paperback or hardcover in their hands. OMG. I am so eternally grateful to every single person out there who is excited for this book – you all have made my dreams come true!!
What have been some of the difficulties of self-publishing?
All the back-and-forth formatting! It’s a process of proofreading for errors, fixing errors, uploading new files to my printers, waiting for eproofs, approving the eproofs, ordering print copies, waiting for them to ship to me…and finding some other minor thing to perfect! Ugh, it’s a bit of a headache. But this is my first time publishing a book, so I tell myself I’ll get much better at this in the future. 😉
Some people believe being a published author is glamorous, is that true?
Not at all. It’s satisfying, for sure! But it’s funny how the creative process really does not change. No matter if you publish one book or ten, or if you make it to the New York Times bestseller list, you will still be a writer who sits in front of a notebook or laptop and writes a story – and that’s a quiet, beautiful, sacred creative process, but I don’t think I’d call it glamorous. However, it is awesome. And so, so fulfilling.
Thank you so much for interviewing me on your lovely blog today, Steph! It was a pleasure.
As well as being a superstar for publishing her own novel, Abbie Emmons is a blogger and has her own YouTube channel dedicated to helping aspiring writers learn how to hone their craft.
Thanks Abbie for allowing me to interview you. Wishing you and the debut of 100 Days of Sunlight all the best!
Where can I get a copy of 100 Days of Sunlight?
You can buy a copy of the book on Amazon here. If you missed my review of 100 Days of Sunlight you can read it here. If you like the sound of this book I really do encourage you to pick up a copy as it’s really great to support self-published authors.
I’m in awe of the work self-published authors put in and the amazing books that we may not get the chance to read if it weren’t for their efforts. All thoughts and opinions on this blog are my own. I’ve opted in to champion this book because it really is a beautiful story worth checking out.
No matter if you publish one book or ten, or if you make it to the New York Times bestseller list, you will still be a writer who sits in front of a notebook or laptop and writes a story…Abbie Emmons
As an aspiring author it’s so encouraging for me to hear the stories of those further along the path. I hope that you reading along today feel a little encouraged after todays read too! Even if you’re not a writer, it’s great to hear stories from people accomplishing their goals.
It was a long post today, so thanks for reading on through! If you enjoyed this post don’t forget to subscribe to the blog for more bookish content every week.
Want even more books in your week? Find me on Instagram @stephhuddlestonwriting 🙂
What stood out to you from todays interview? What goals do you have? If you’re comfortable sharing, I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!
If you’re an author or writer (published or unpublished!) and you want to answer one of the questions from the interview today, feel free! I always enjoy hearing the experiences of other people. Comment below.