Tessa Emily Hall is an award-winning author who writes inspirational yet authentic books to show teens they’re not alone. Her first teen devotional, COFFEE SHOP DEVOS, will release with Bethany House September 2018. Tessa’s passion for shedding light on clean entertainment and media for teens led her to a career as an Associate Agent for Cyle Young at Hartline Literary Agency, YA Acquisitions Editor for Illuminate YA (LPC Imprint), and Founder/Editor of PURSUE Magazine. She’s guilty of making way too many lattes and never finishing her to-read list. When her fingers aren’t flying 116 WPM across the keyboard, she can be found speaking to teens, decorating art journals, and acting in Christian films. Her favorite way to procrastinate is by connecting with readers on her blog, mailing list, social media (@tessaemilyhall), and website: www.tessaemilyhall.com.
Welcome to the blog, Tessa. I’m so thrilled you could join us today. Congratulations on your new release, Coffee Shop Devos.
When and where did you first get the idea for this devotional?
I’ve wanted to write a devotional for teen girls since I was a teen myself. In fact, I recently discovered a note I wrote to myself when I was 14 (in my Bible, actually!). I jotted down a non-fiction book idea I had for teens. The concept was actually similar to Coffee Shop Devos and was probably inspired by the book, Scriptures For Your Everyday Needs. This book categorizes Scripture based on the reader’s daily needs. I’ve referred to this book for years and love this concept, so it probably stuck with me subconsciously as I delved into writing the devotional about three years ago.
When I did start to write the book, I knew I wanted to give it a particular theme that could appeal to teenagers. Coffee was the obvious choice, of course. Not just because of the popularity amongst teens, but because it’s a passion of mine as well. As soon as I discovered the “theme”, several similarities between coffee and the Christian faith began to pop into my mind. I wrote down as many as I could.
I thought it’d be cool if the teen could choose their devotion “flavor” in a menu of contents at the beginning of the book. This would be similar to a menu at a coffee shop: teens could select their current need in the table of contents. Each need–such as “comfort in trials”–would be paired with a specific coffee drink. I chose ten coffee drinks for the menu, so ten chapters/needs total. And I couldn’t have a coffee-themed devotional without including coffee recipes inside!
How fun! What a great idea. 🙂
Can you share with us a favorite quote from the book?
I love the way this one captures the overall message of the book (which is intimacy with Christ):
“We don’t have to wait for the sunshine of spring to splash color into our days when our relationship with Jesus illuminates brightness to every day.”
Love it! What is your favorite part about writing?
I love the opportunity writing gives me to speak into the lives of others. This is why I like to work in publishing as well–not just because I enjoy working with writers, but because I believe in the power of a book ministry. I know of people who have been affected deeply by books, both fiction and non-fiction. Writers are messengers. God gives us messages and words that He wants to use to transform lives and reflect His love. When we, as writers, act as a pen in His hands, then He can speak through us as we write our books. We’re simply a tool being used to further His Kingdom. And I love the results of this! I love it when readers tell me about how God used certain books of mine to speak into their lives.
Of course, I love the craft of writing as well — I love the feeling of losing myself in another book project and creating something from nothing. But the true reason I write is because of the ministry aspect of it. That’s what ultimately makes me feel fulfilled, as if I’m doing what God has called me to do.
I read on your website that you also do speaking engagements. What is your favorite topic?
I love speaking — both to writers at conferences and to teenagers at schools/youth groups. When I speak to teens, I especially love to encourage them to make the most of their youth. This includes tapping into their God-given potential, loving the person God has created them to be, embracing their uniqueness, and taking steps toward pursuing their gifts. I want teens to understand that they’re not “just a teen”. They don’t have to wait until they’ve graduated high school or college before they unveil their calling. They can start now! The teen years are a crucial point in our lives. It’s when we make decisions that can alter the course of our future. Now is the perfect time for teens to tap into this potential–and most importantly set a foundation of faith they can stand out throughout their lives.
What is your favorite genre to read? What are you reading right now?
I love this question! I can’t go too many days without reading. I usually make time for it every evening, even if it’s just for five minutes. (Literally!)
I always have way too many books on my reading list. My favorite genre, of course, is young adult fiction. But I also enjoy speculative fiction, contemporary women’s fiction, and non-fiction.
The other day I finished reading “Chasing Sunsets” by Karen Kingsbury and “The Man He Never Was” by James L. Rubart. Now I’m continuing to read “Porch Swing Girl” by Taylor Bennett, “The Delusion” by Laura Gallier, “The Masterpiece” by Francine Rivers, and “The Creative Calling” by Janice Elsheimer.
Yes, I am a bit of an ADD reader! 😉
Is there anything else you’d like to add? Any upcoming projects you can share with us?
Another book of mine will be released this October–a YA contemporary novel titled FALLEN LEAVES. This is the sequel to my debut novel, PURPLE MOON. However, it can be read as a standalone novel as well!
I am also the founder/editor of PURSUE Magazine, a Christian teen magazine that encourages girls to make the most of their youth. Our fall issue releases in October as well. Girls can sign up for our mailing list to receive free future issues (in digital format)! They can do that on our website at www.PURSUEMagazine.net.
One more thing! If readers sign up for my author newsletter by clicking here, they will have access to free bonus content for COFFEE SHOP DEVOS. This includes five extra coffee recipes, a reading group guide, and discussion questions for groups. =) Newsletter subscribers can also enter a monthly giveaway to receive a free $10 gift card to Amazon or Starbucks (winner’s choice!).
Readers: I’d love to hear about your favorite coffee or tea drink! Let us know in the comments. My favorite is probably a hazelnut latte. (Although I do love specialty fall drinks, such as the PSL!) =)
Thanks so much for having me, Savanna!
I’m SO happy you could join us, Tessa. Readers, be sure to check out her book below and follow her by clicking the links below. Have a great week, everyone!
BACK COVER COPY
There’s something special about spending time at a coffee shop with a friend–engaging in a meaningful conversation, then leaving refueled and ready to tackle the rest of the day. What if your quiet times with God energized you the same way?
Coffee Shop Devos offers a warm atmosphere that will inspire you to discover your God-given purpose and live to your greatest potential. Choose your devo flavor in the Menu of Contents based on your current need. Then lean into deeper intimacy with Christ through reflection and prayer. Along the way, you’ll pick up tips and recipes for making your own coffee-shop beverage–regular or decaf–to enjoy while you read. And don’t forget to share your journey with your friends! #CoffeeShopDevos
Each of the 180 challenging and motivational devotions will leave you feeling refreshed and reinvigorated–almost as though you’ve shared a steaming pot of brew at a coffee shop with your Creator.
- Pre-order Coffee Shop Devos on Amazon https://amzn.to/2Mkp6pT
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