Updated: Apr 1
Hello, Visionaries! Alright, so this interview has been sitting in draft for...*months* But I'm posting it now, and I'm so sorry it has taken this long! I have another one that has also been waiting months to be posted...but with the blog tour and my crazy life over the holidays, nothing much was getting done. I am so sorry about that!
Anyway, I have delivered....months late...and here is a great interview I had the privilege of doing with the amazing Vanessa Hall!!!
Hello Vanessa! I am so excited about this interview, and I am so happy you were able to join me on Writers’ Vision today!
Thank you so much for having me on! It’s such an honor to talk to you and be on such a wonderful site.
What inspired you to start writing?
Strangely enough, learning how to type was the first step toward my future writing career. :) (You can also tell how lazy I am because I wouldn’t write out stories by hand.) But once I figured out I could type, I just began writing. I started many stories and never finished them, but I always had new ideas and had so much fun.
I know you write Christian Suspense/Romance, but have you dabbled in any other genres?
Yes! I actually wrote historical fiction for a long time, and about half of my first drafts were historical.
How did you come to the decision to self-publish? And would you do anything differently if you could go back?
When my sister, Kristina Hall, first published her book in January of 2021, I thought about the possibility of publishing. I knew I would likely never get a contract with a big publishing group, given my books and messages don’t fit into the demands of many companies, and indie publishing seemed the only clear option. After a bit of waffling, the Lord showed me that I shouldn’t waste my abilities (however small they are), but that I should rather use them for His glory. So I decided to self-publish!
As for a change, if I could go back, I definitely could have marketed more before I published my first book. I didn’t have much of a platform. But to be honest, I still don’t market enough - something to work on! :)
Could you tell us a bit about your writing journey and how you’ve improved your craft over the years?
I started writing when I was around ten years old, and at that age, you really don’t care about the quality of your writing. I stopped writing for a few years, but I started back in 2017. Again, I was still in the stage of wide-eyed writer, where everything I wrote was so much fun, and I didn’t criticize every word I wrote. :) For the next few years, I just kept writing. I explored different plots, genres, and settings without any pressure of publishing or any readers except my sister and eventually my mom. Finally, I decided to published in 2021, and that’s when I published my first book, Unknown.
Overall, the ways I’ve improved - or attempted to - is simply writing, reading, and editing. The more you can write, the better. The more you can read, the better. And the more you can edit, the better! My writing has improved so much since I began heavily editing, especially in regards to structure and style. Editing helps you actually know what you want to sound like, and after multiple edits, the structure of the book actually begins to make sense once you see it from the big-picture angle. :)
What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given? And who was it from?
Wow, this is hard. I don’t remember who gives all these amazing tips, but knowing that God gave you these stories as an author is an amazing fact. And learning to write only for the Lord’s glory is another priceless piece of advice - write for Him, not for your readers or even yourself!
Do you have any advice you’d give to someone looking at self-publishing?
Be prepared to have to do a lot of work (this is true for any publishing), don’t feel like you have to rush into it, and feel free to ask questions of self-published authors. Get connected with authors who are already published.
And do you have any advice for new authors or authors just looking for good advice?
Don’t give up even when it’s hard because it’s so worth it in the end. And if you’re a Christian, write to glorify the Lord. Keep your eyes on Him, surrender all your work to Him, and He will direct your paths! And don’t forget - “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:24 KJV)
How many books have you published in total?
Three - Unknown, Unworthy, and Untold.
See any patterns there? :)
What can we expect from you in the future?
Lord willing, I will publish the fourth book in my Grace Sufficient series, Unforgiven, sometime next year. However, in the meantime, I’m planning to release a Christmas novella, Remembered, in December (and all of my newsletter subscribers receive a free copy!) The novella follows the Nikolai and Molly from Untold, and it’s been fun to see them outside of running from bad guys and getting shot at.
And lastly, can you tell us a bit about your writing process?
Well, right now, I’m in a weird place where I’m trying to edit two projects and write a first draft. It’s definitely an experience, and it’s been really difficult trying to balance each of those. But in general, I start out with a vague idea or concept, and sometimes there are some really key scenes I know I want in the book. I usually know the beginning, the middle, and the end, and then all that’s left is to fill in everything else. So simple, right? :) I’m not much of an outliner, but since I know the general direction I want the book to go, I keep that in mind, and I tend to plot a few scenes ahead of where I currently am. (If it’s a good day.) I’ve realized my first drafts can be sort of random and wordy, but then when I come back to edit, everything gets tightened up, connected, and shortened. So it’s a very roundabout way to work, but that’s the way my brain works!
Thank you so much for joining me today, Vanessa! It’s been such a pleasure to interview you!
Thank you so much, Kayti, for having me on!
Vanessa Hall is an author, musician, and homeschool graduate. Most days, she is reading, writing, or practicing the violin—or trying to find time for all three pursuits. Currently, she is working toward gaining a degree in instrumental music education. Unknown is her debut novel. Above all, she is a sinner saved and held fast by the abounding grace of Jesus Christ.
Have you read any of Vanessa's books? Did you know she's also a member of Writers' Vision? Which of her answers did you enjoy most? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Again, so sorry for how late this is in posting!