I am so excited to be interviewing Author, Actress, and Speaker – Tessa Emily Hall on the blog! Tessa & I became acquainted many years back & it has been so exciting to see the work the Lord has done in and through Tessa during that time.
Tessa Emily Hall is an award-winning author who wrote her debut novel when she was sixteen. She is now a multi-published author of both fiction and non-fiction inspirational yet authentic books for teens, including her latest release, LOVE YOUR SELFIE (Ellie Claire). Her passion for shedding light on clean entertainment and media for teens led her to a career as a Literary Agent at Cyle Young Literary Elite, YA Acquisitions Editor for Illuminate YA (LPC Imprint), and Founder/Editor of PursueMagazine.net. Tessa is guilty of making way too many lattes and never finishing her to-read list. When her fingers aren’t flying 128 WPM across the keyboard, she can be found speaking to teens, teaching at writing conferences, coaching young writers, and acting in inspirational films. Her favorite way to connect with readers is on her mailing list, social media (@tessaemilyhall), and website: www.tessaemilyhall.com.
Kylie: I know you’re an Author, Actress, and Speaker, – can you share with us what made you choose these occupations for your career?
Tessa: Acting and writing have remained a passion of mine since I was a kid, so I always knew my career would be centered around those two. It’s funny, because I never went through a time as a kid or teen when I wondered what I would do as an occupation. My mom helped me believe that, if it’s God’s will for me to pursue writing, then why should I set limitations on myself?
I’m a firm believer in finding a career that allows you to utilize your gifts and passions, especially if it involves ministry or helping others in some way. Acting, writing, and speaking give me the opportunity to do just that. There aren’t many other areas in life that I excel in, honestly, haha. And it’s through these outlets that I can speak into the lives of teenagers.
It’s my hope that, through the books I write, teens will draw closer to Christ, establish a relationship with Him, and be encouraged to pursue their role in God’s Kingdom. My heart has always been for ministry, and I feel like I would be neglecting this impact if I were to walk down another career path.
Kylie: How does your Faith come into play not only in your writing, but your acting and speaking, as well?
Tessa: My relationship with Christ is the core of everything I do. As I mentioned above, I view writing, speaking, acting as my ministry outlets. With that being said, in every book that I write, I hope to whet my reader’s appetite for God in some way—even if the fiction book isn’t even considered to be in the Christian genre. It’s my goal to write stories that will enable teens to feel less alone in their lives. The same applies with my acting career as well. I want to be apart of projects that are meaningful, stories that portray authentic characters who can connect with the audience and help them in their own journey through life in some way.
Speaking gives me the opportunity to reach teenagers face-to-face and be more direct in my approach to point them to Christ. But I never hope to come across as “religious,” preachy, or judgmental; rather, I want to show teenagers that I understand where they’re coming from—considering I was a teen just ten years ago—and I hope to connect with them by using a friendly and conversational approach. That way, they can see that someone gets them. And not only that, but I want to help them see that Christianity is far more than just another religion. It’s an invitation to join in a love relationship with Christ and to live a life of freedom. He is the only One who can provide them with the fulfillment that they crave.
Kylie: What would you say are some of your favorite things about doing what you do?
Tessa: Every aspect of this career excites me, so it’s difficult to choose a favorite! I’m passionate about the overall craft of writing, speaking, and acting. I also love the networking aspect and connecting with others within these fields.
However, nothing encourages me more than when I hear from readers. Even though I am passionate about writing, acting, and speaking, it wouldn’t be enough for me to simply do these things for myself. There has to be a greater purpose involved for me to stick it out to the end—especially since the publishing and film industries are not for the faint of heart! When I hear from those who have been impacted by my ministry in some way, it gives me a reason to keep persevering, and it confirms that I am doing what I believe I’ve been called to do.
Kylie: What are some things you enjoy spending your time doing outside of writing, acting, and speaking?
Tessa: Ha—great question! Especially since these three can be completely time-consuming. But because of that, I do try and be intentional about taking breaks and living life. My favorite way to do this is by traveling. I love going on adventures with family and friends—seeing new experiences, meeting new people, and getting out of my daily rut at home. But when I am at home and not working, I enjoy grabbing breakfast or coffee with friends. And, of course, reading books and watching movies. 😉 I’m interested in art as well, so it’s always nice when I can find a project that allows me to express my creativity in a hands-on outlet.
Kylie: What advice do you have for Young Ladies who would like to one day become an Actress, Writer, or Speaker?
Tessa: I remember, when I was about fourteen years old, reaching out to a best-selling author to ask if she had advice for an aspiring author. Her response wasn’t exactly what I had expected to receive. She said, if there was any other career I was interested in, pursue that instead, because the writing career was not as glamorous as it seemed.
Her feedback discouraged me at first—but then I realized why she had said that: Because it’s only those who are truly passionate about the craft who will be determined to make a career out of it. It’s only those who truly feel called into this field who will persevere in spite of obstacles and challenges.
In that aspect, it’s no different than any other field, really. Any career we choose ultimately presents its own challenges. So why not choose the one you’re most passionate about, the one that allows you to utilize your strengths, and the one that you feel most called into?
All that to say—if you feel like you are, in fact, called into acting, writing, or speaking, be sure that you are doing it for the right reasons. Do you want to pursue it simply because you can’t not pursue it?
If so, then do everything you can to be a professional. (And by professional I’m referring to the opposite of an amateur.) There must come a time when a dream becomes a goal, and the process in between should involve both research and planning.
Sure, it might sound dreamy to become an author or an actress—but what does that process actually entail? Learn the small steps you can take this week that will bring you further in your journey, even if it’s just a small step.
Really, it’s all about keeping the vision alive and then creating goals that will keep you moving forward. So whatever you’re interested in pursuing, keep the vision alive by reminding yourself of why you chose to pursue this field and what you hope to accomplish with it. Then do everything you can to move in that direction.
One last thing: You must have faith in yourself. That might sound cheesy, but it’s so true, especially when it comes to the writing and acting industries. If I didn’t have parents who believed in me, then I wouldn’t have had the courage to believe in myself. I realize that I’m not the best writer, actress, or speaker. But I’ve learned that it’s not the ones who are absolutely gifted who will succeed. It’s the ones who learn how to overcome their weaknesses, who learn how to grow, and who continue to move forward. If I believed that one must be a 100% natural in a field in order to pursue it, then, well, I wouldn’t be pursuing anything right now—lol!
Kylie: What are some things you are looking forward to in 2021?
Tessa: First of all, I’m looking forward to not having to live with the same COVID restrictions that 2020 introduced. Most of my teaching and speaking events in 2020 were cancelled, which was disheartening. But this summer, I will be speaking at Shine Camp, which is a Christian camp for teen girls in Black Mountain, NC. I can’t wait to have the opportunity to help teens discover their identity and purpose in Christ!
I also look forward to furthering my acting career. Over the past several years, acting has taken more of a back burner as I have pursued both writing and a career in publishing. But during quarantine last year I enrolled in a virtual acting class and immersed myself more in this field. I look forward to apply what I’ve been learning in more projects this year!
Kylie: Do you have any upcoming projects to be watching for?
Tessa: This week I am actually headed to Atlanta, GA for the shooting of a short film project that I’m starring in, titled Good & Faithful. You can check out that project and find updates on Facebook here. These are the type of projects I’m passionate to bring to life—stories that ring true to real life yet weave in a thread of hope.
I did finish a fiction manuscript last year and am currently working on its revisions. Hopefully it will find a publishing home soon! I am also working on a new Christian non-fiction project for teens that I’m excited about. I plan to send that off to publishers soon as well. There is one more secret project that I’ve been working on, but I can’t share about it yet until it becomes officially official! 😉
Kylie: Where can readers connect with you and find your books & films you have been a part of?
Tessa: Readers can connect with me on my website, www.TessaEmilyHall.com. On my website, readers can have access to my reader’s only page, which includes monthly giveaways, behind-the-book bonus features, and more. They can also find a page that lists all of my books, a page for my acting career, and a list of my social media accounts.
Kylie: Thank you again, Tessa for stopping by to visit with us today, looking forward to seeing what the Lord has in store for you next!
Tessa: Thank you so much for having me, Kylie! =)