100 Days of Sunlight blog tour | book review + author interview

07 August 2019

Abbie Emmons is one of the most inspiring and motivational people on the blogging platform. I have been blessed to have known her and to have followed her for several years. She and her sister, Kate, are some true gems in this online community.

Today is the day that Abbie has released her first ever book out into the world, and I am so excited for everyone to be able to finally read it! I got the chance to be apart of her book launch and also had the opportunity to be an ARC reader for her novel, and I must say it is one of the most charming and sweet contemporary novels I've read.

The book follows teenage blogger and poet Tessa Dickenson. After an accident leaves her temporarily blind, Tessa falls into a state of helplessness. When amputee, Weston, meets Tessa, he becomes determined to help her recognize the beauty there is in life, even if she isn't able to physically see it.

I don't read young adult contemporary novels very often, so picking up 100 Days of Sunlight was something out of my comfort zone. I wanted to love it because I love Abbie and her writing, but as a reviewer I knew I also needed to analyze the book honestly. It's a hard thing to do sometimes, but luckily Abbie did not disappoint!

The first half was harder for me to get into, I found Tessa to be a little dramatic and inconsiderate at times, but when people are in difficult situations you never know how it might make them act. If the whole book was in her perspective, I probably would have had a harder time really enjoying her journey. But this is a story told in two perspectives, from the minds of both Tessa and Weston.

This is definitely a character driven book, and Weston's character worked well to contrast and balance Tessa's character. I loved his backstory and what he did to bring Tessa out of her slump. I would have been happy if the book was told entirely in his voice.

By the second half, as the relationships are established and the plot really gets going, I found myself reading so fast and happy sighed when it was finally over.

I love books like this one that can focus on heavier, deeper topics like disabilities and depression while also being light-hearted. While terrible things do happen to people and it's very difficult, life does move on, and there are light-hearted moments between everything else. I feel like Abbie did a great job at balancing those themes of trial and redemption in this book.

I'm so happy that other people are finally able to read and enjoy this beautiful book.

And I'm also excited that I was able to do an interview with the author, Abbie Emmons, as part of her blog tour!

1. What inspired you to write 100 Days of Sunlight?
100 Days of Sunlight is a story that I feel has always been in my heart, I just didn’t know it until April 2017. It came to me quite literally like a lightbulb turning on. 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. As soon as the idea for the premise dropped into my head, I wanted to write the book immediately.

2. I personally find it hard to write contemporary fiction, what is it that draws you to write contemporary fiction stories over other genres?
I love the hidden depth in everyday life. I love writing character-driven stories, so the small stage and unspectacular setting allows me to delve deeper into the emotional aspect of things – the characters’ struggles, desires, fears, motivations, misbeliefs. I think I enjoy contemporary best of all because I can connect with it very easily. It feels real to me, and thus blurs the lines between fiction and real life. 

3. The characters in 100 Days of Sunlight deal with a lot of difficult health situations, what did your research process look like for these aspects of the book?
My research process involved lots and lots and lots of reading. I read tons of blog posts, first-hand accounts, articles, more blog posts, watched vlogs and videos, asked questions, and read some more. The most interesting thing I learned is that every person’s experience is very different. This allowed me to give my characters a unique experience with the disabilities they faced, while still staying true to what I had learned of real-life experiences. Also, my editor had worked as a sighted guide at a center for the blind, so she was able to give some great input on Tessa’s condition and experiences.

4. I know authors always have hundreds of stories running through their minds, what was it about 100 Days of Sunlight that made you decide that it would be the first book you would actually publish?
I really don’t know! I just always felt like there was something special about this story – I still feel that way! I love the characters and the themes and the whole aesthetic of this book. It’s the story I’m most proud of, and I could not wait to share it with the world. 

5. Writing is such a personal experience, what are some things that you have learned about yourself through the process of writing and publishing this book?
Throughout the writing process, I learned that lots of emotion and depth and meaning can be encapsulated in a seemingly small story. 100 Days of Sunlight involves 3-4 setting and a handful of characters. It’s not a large-scale, epic adventure… but it captured my heart in a way that no other story has before. I felt an urgency to write it, and I feel like it’s the most important thing I’ve written. 

Throughout the publishing process, I learned that “finished” only means the first time something is finished. I’ve had to make so many adjustments and fixes to formatting, book files, and other headachey things like that. Since this is my debut novel, it’s my first time going through the process of indie-publishing – I’ve learned a ton, and it will make my next book much smoother sailing.

6. 100 Days of Sunlight was such a character driven book and I found myself becoming super attached to them while I read. If the book was to be turned into a movie, who would you cast to play the two main characters Tessa and Weston?
Ooh this is such a good question! I love fancasting my characters just for fun. For Weston, I’m thinking either Levi Miller or Noah Schnapp... and for some reason whenever I imagine Tessa, I think of Elle Fanning. Seeing my book turned into a movie would be the ultimate dream come true. 

7. What was the most difficult and what was the most enjoyable part of the whole process of writing and publishing your book?
The most difficult part was probably all the research – but it was also fascinating and educational, so I didn’t mind it at all. It’s always tricky writing about something you haven’t personally experienced… it can make you feel unqualified to write it. But I’m so glad I pushed through the moments of self-doubt and wrote forward, remembering why the story mattered to me, and the light I hoped to shine in the dark places with it.

I don’t know if I can pick a most enjoyable part, because there are so many!! The writing process was awesome, the editing process was surprisingly fun, designing the cover and holding the first printed copies was amazing, and seeing people all over the world reading the book is ABSOLUTELY UNREAL. I’ve been so full of joy and gratitude throughout this whole process.

8. How do you keep yourself motivated to write even when you don't feel like it?
That’s a great question! I find the best way to stay motivated to write (even when I don’t feel like it) is to remember my “why”. We write a story because it matters to us – and remembering why it matters personally to us is what keeps us motivated to write it. I always keep the theme or message of a story at the forefront of my mind – that’s what makes me excited to get up every day and work on a story, weaving it into existence. I think about the people who will read it one day – the people who need it. The people whose lives it might change. 

9. Do you have any more projects we should keep an eye out for in the future?
Definitely! I hope to publish another standalone soon, but I won’t spoil any details yet. ;) Lots of exciting things yet to come!! Stay tuned, everyone. 

10. How would you pitch 100 Days of Sunlight to a stranger in 3 words?
Wow, that’s a hard question. 

Hope. Courage. Love. 

I need more than three words! But those describe it very well. :)

Thank you so much for interviewing me on your lovely blog today, Hannah! It has been a pleasure.

Abbie Emmons has been writing stories ever since she could hold a pencil. What started out as an intrinsic love for storytelling has turned into her lifelong passion. There's nothing Abbie likes better than writing (and reading) stories that are both heartrending and humorous, with a touch of cute romance and a poignant streak of truth running through them. Abbie is also a YouTuber, singer/songwriter, blogger, traveler, filmmaker, big dreamer, and professional waffle-eater. When she's not writing or dreaming up new stories, you can find her road-tripping to national parks or binge-watching BBC Masterpiece dramas in her cozy Vermont home with a cup of tea and her fluffy white lap dog, Pearl. 

If you want to see Abbie in her element (ranting about stories) just type her name into YouTube and search.

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  1. I love this interview! Can't wait to read 100 Days of Sunlight. <333

  2. Wonderful interview! Especially liked the pitch question, that's a really good one. I've been looking through the posts on the 100DOS blog tour and found your site :)

    1. Well I'm glad you came to visit and enjoyed the interview!