Tuesday, November 1, 2016

"Unwritten Melody" Blog Tour Kick Off!: Story Behind the Story {+ Giveaway!}

It's time! Today marks the first official day in the blog tour for my newest YA novel, UNWRITTEN MELODY. Over the next several weeks, I'll visit 28 blogs and share inside peaks into this book, book excerpts, explore the story's themes and topics, and answer questions. You'll also have the chance to hear what others have to say about the book in their book reviews. 

I'm offering incredible prizes in Unwritten Melody's Prize Pack {scroll down for more details!}. Two lucky winners will be selected and announced on my blog the final day of tour (December 9th). 

For the full list of blog tours that I'll be visiting, see the end of this post. Don't forget to snag your extra entries into the giveaway by commenting on every blog tour post. I hope you'll join the fun! =D


Does breaking free require breaking the rules?

Cassie Gilbert lives every day in the shadows of her deceased mom’s rebellion. But now that she’s seventeen, she finds herself longing to break away from her grandmother’s suffocating rules, experience what it’s like to be a regular teenager, and fulfill her songwriting dreams. 

James Russo, former American Spotlight contestant, escapes to small town Willow Creek, SC hoping to flee from his tarnished past. When a school project pairs him with the shy principal’s granddaughter, he’s determined to get to know this Emily-Dickinson-obsessed and typewriter-using girl. His plan? Convince Cassie to co-write songs for his demo album. 

As Cassie gets to know James over “project meetings” (more like opportunities to match her lyrics with his melodies), she becomes intrigued by his sense of adventure and contagious passion for music. But soon, his past becomes exposed. Cassie’s left to wonder—did she make the same mistake Mom did by falling for the bad boy?

Then, Grandma’s control pushes her over the edge. Cassie must choose between remaining in the chains of yesterday, or delving into her own freedom by completing the melody her mom left behind.


The Inspiration

Unwritten Melody is a story that’s been on my heart since I was seventeen-years-old—the same age as my protagonist.

To rewind a bit—Unwritten Melody was originally the title for the first version of Purple Moon, my debut novel. In Purple Moon, Selena (the protagonist) was a musician rather than an artist. However, while I was writing the first draft, a book released with a similar title by a best-selling author—and the plot was similar as well. I didn’t want anyone to think I’d been heavily inspired by the book. So, Selena became an artist, and Unwritten Melody became Purple Moon. But I knew that Unwritten Melody would have to become the title of my next book.

So when the inspiration stroke for this plot idea, I knew it should become the storyline for Unwritten Melody. That day, I spent about an hour in the writing chair in my bedroom, brainstorming the book in my notebook. I was so excited about this idea! In fact, I called my mom into the room and made her listen while I went through the entire storyline with her.

{Want to see scans of the original brainstorming notes? If you purchase the ebook any time from Nov. 10 - Nov. 12 and send me your email confirmation receipt, I'll be sure to send you the free Chapter-By-Chapter Secrets & Extras download! Email me if you'd like to receive a reminder on the release day.}

I first became fascinated with the life and poetry of Emily Dickinson when I was in the 8th grade. So while I was brainstorming the story, the Dickinson thread appeared naturally. I thought that, by bringing her life and poetry into Unwritten Melody, it would shadow the storyline and emphasize the book’s theme. 

The Writing Journey

I began writing the first draft while I was working on the edits for Purple Moon. This was the book I used to gain attention from my first literary agent. Although the agent saw potential, she also knew that the book wasn’t publication quality at the time. So, we spent months going back and forth with line edits.

Then, when I was 21, I received a long edit letter from this agent. In this letter, she listed several problem areas with my book’s plot threads, theme, etc. Of course, she continued to encourage me—but she also presented the idea of putting this book on the shelf, starting on a new project, then coming back to Unwritten Melody when the time was ready.

That’s what I did. Actually, I figured the book’s problem areas were too hard to unravel. I knew it wasn’t what it could be—it wasn’t the book I had originally envisioned when I first brainstormed it at 17-years-old. But I didn’t know how to go about fixing all of its issues.

So, I took her advice and began on a new project.

That didn’t last long. I kept praying that God would show me what He wanted me to work on, and that He'd show me if I were to rewrite Unwritten Melody.

That’s exactly what happened. I couldn’t get the story out of my heart or my head.

I spent that fall locked up in my writing cave (literally—I went on my own writing retreat in the mountains), gave myself tight deadlines, and rewrote Unwritten Melody from beginning to end.

Some of the scenes were similar to their original in the first version, but the majority of them were new. With much prayer, I was able to work through the book’s problems and come out on the other side with a story that way more closely resembled the one I had first envisioned at 17-years-old. 

The Publication Journey

My agent sent the book out for submission early 2016, when I was 22. I prepared myself for months and months of waiting (and praying!).

Then, in May—while I was packing for the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer’s Conference—I received a phone call with the good news: Unwritten Melody had been offered a contract with Clean Reads! I was thrilled. Of course, I knew they were already considering it since they had requested for the full manuscript about a month earlier. I’d researched their company and admired their mission to produce clean stories without compromise.

But like any offer, I knew it would be wise to wait, look over the contract, and seek God’s prompting before moving ahead. Finally, at the end of June, I signed the contract with Clean Reads! I’m officially going to “give birth” to this story that has consumed so much of my time, heart, mind, and emotions for over five years.

Over the past few years, I've been working on a secret project. A Young Adult contemporary romance novel. A story that first gripped my heart when I was 17-years-old and hasn't let go since. And now, it's finally time to release this story to the world. ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀ My latest novel, UNWRITTEN MELODY, will be published within the next year by Clean Reads (formerly Astraea Press)! ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀ For a sneak preview, be sure to check out the book's Pinterest board. Link in bio! ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀ If you'd like to stay up-to-date on the publication process, make sure you're following my blog and social media accounts. You can find them on my website at tessaemilyhall.com. ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀ Would you like to receive a free, advanced copy of Unwritten Melody? Comment below and I’ll contact you when I begin to search for beta readers. 😁 ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀ Also, let me know if you're interested in participating in the blog tour as well. All blog tour participants and street team members will receive first look on the back-cover-blurb, cover art, and book trailer. =) (You can sign up for my street team on my website!) ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀ Thanks so much to everyone who has followed and supported my writing journey thus far. This would not have been possible without you! And, of course, a big thanks to Clean Reads and my agent, Cyle Young, for believing in this story. πŸ’•✍πŸ“šπŸŽΌπŸŽΉ
A photo posted by tessaemilyhall (@tessaemilyhall) on

Thank you so much, readers, for joining this journey with me!


Enter for your chance to win the Unwritten Melody Prize Pack! Two winners will be selected and announced on my blog the final day of tour (Friday, December 9th) and will be notified via email.

This prize pack includes…

  • E-copy of Unwritten Melody
  • Signed paperback copy of Purple Moon
  • Unwritten Melody mug, filled with goodies
  • Unwritten Melody swag, including a bookmark, pen, and poster
  • Starbucks mocha flavored instant coffee
  • Free Unwritten Melody: Chapter-By-Chapter Secrets PDF
  • Handmade journal
  • Typewritten thank you note

*This giveaway is open to the US only 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Be sure to visit the following blogs on its designated tour date (below). You can also email tessaemilyhall (at) gmail (dot) com and request to receive the Blog Tour Packet. At the end of the tour, I'll send you the downloadable PDF that will contain all of the content from each blog tour stop. =)

Tues., November 1 – Christ is Write
Wed., November 2 - Adriana Gabrielle Writes
Thurs., November 3 – A Bounce in Your Step
Fri., November 4 - Sarah Ruut
Mon., November 7 – God is Love
Tues., November 8 – The Bibliophile Angel
Wed., November 9 - Emily Rachelle Writes
Thurs, November 10 – Word Changers For His Glory
Fri., November 11 – Christian Teen Book Reviews
Mon., November 14 – Phyllis Still
Tues., November 15 – In The Bookcase
Wed., November 16 – Girl Meets Publishing World
Thurs., November 17 - Anna Schaeffer
Fri., November 18 – Ramblings of a Writer
Mon., November 21 - Naomi and Books
Tues., November 22 – Reading is My Superpower
Wed., November 23 – Zerina Blossom’s Books
Thurs., November 24 - Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud
Fri., November 25 – Labor Not in Vain
Mon., November 28 - Barbara Bruitt
Tues., November 29 - Katy Kauffman
Wed., November 30 – Jen Pheobus
Thurs., December 1 – Northern Belle Meg
Fri., December 2 – 2Me From Him
Mon., December 5 - Nicole Quigley
Tues., December 6 – The Destiny of One
Wed., December 7 - Catherine Castle
Thurs., December 8 - Rachelle Rea Cobb
Fri., December 9 – Leslie L. Mckee

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