When I see young adults, teens, and children who are willing to work to their potential and hone their crafts, it makes me so happy! So, I was excited to meet a new author who is still in school, yet has such a remarkable writing style and a couple novels already written!
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.
Welcome to “Wisdom from a Wordsmith,” Vanessa!
What aspects of your childhood may have led you to one day becoming an author?
Wow, such an interesting question! I think there’s a lot that may have influenced me as a kid, but just having a lot of books around and reading a fair amount as a kid had to have some impact. I was homeschooled, so I think that fosters a very creative environment in general, so I had the chance to kind of go off on my own and write stories for fun. My sister and I also played together a lot, and we were always making up stories as we played!
Where is your favorite place on earth? Why?
This one’s hard! I think one of my favorite places is the Red River Gorge in Eastern Kentucky. That whole area down there is so beautiful, and the hiking is amazing. It just does me good to see those mountains, and I have great memories from trips my family and I took there!
What is something unusual about you that your readers may not know about?
This is my favorite “weird” fact about myself. I’ve never seen a movie in a movie theater. And I have no desire to, either. Very random, but people always seem stunned when I tell them.
Tell us about your latest project.
My upcoming release—Lord willing, mid to late February— is called Unworthy, and it’s the second book in my Grace Sufficient series. Here’s a little about it:
One moment, one choice can change a life forever.
Two years ago, Evgeny Yurlov’s dreams shattered on the stage of the Bolshoi Theatre. Without many options, he lands a job—far different from ballet—and returns to Moscow. There, he’s reunited with old friends—friends who need his help as government scrutiny intensifies on Grace Baptist Church.
Sasha Dvornikova isn’t the woman she once was, but Dmitri Rykov’s shadow is relentless. Reminders of her past lurk everywhere, and her sins have branded her undeserving of a man like Evgeny.
As mounting danger surrounds both the church and his job, Evgeny finds past struggles reignited, struggles that reach even Sasha. Amidst so much darkness, will Truth prevail, or will Evgeny’s choices destroy him—and those he loves?
What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
There’s a lot I’ve learned over the years—like never giving up and continuing writing even when it’s really hard and seems kind of fruitless. Another one that’s pretty well-known is reading a lot. That’s so helpful! However, probably the best advice I could ever give to authors—namely, Christian authors—is to fully depend on the Lord through every single aspect of the writing process. Remember why you’re doing what you’re doing—to glorify Him. Pray and surrender your writing to Him, and trust Him every step of the way.
The first page was riveting! I didn’t know if there was a real tragedy: Did someone die? A lover? A child? I was relieved to find out that it was all taking place on stage. Then when I discovered that the opening was a ballet – I was so excited! Not having a milligram of grace, I am fascinated by ballerinas!
Gabe and Sofia are realistic and likable main characters. The minor characters are also well-developed. The novel contains sweet romantic moments, angsty scenes full of loss and pain, murder and suspense, and a gospel-centered faith journey for Sofia. There were beautiful descriptions, well-written literary devices, and great plotting by the author. I so enjoyed looking in on the lives of a mission church community in Russia and into the world of professional ballet.
At times the pacing could be picked up a little, and perhaps some readers would find the book a bit preachy. But all in all, Unknown was lovely. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for Vanessa Hall as an author!
He knew there was a cost. He just didn’t know how great it’d be.
Gabriel Kelly returned to Russia for one reason—to bury his parents. After ten years in the United States, he hadn’t expected to return to his childhood home in the face of tragedy. However, after short days in Moscow, he begins to consider if the same call that cost his parents’ lives is now upon him.
Sofia Rykova’s dreams finally came true when she became a principal soloist with the Bolshoi Ballet. One night, though, an old crush walks back into her life, making her wonder if there is more to life than ballet. Gabe Kelly is just as she remembered, just as she longed for—yet religion stands between them.
Unknown to Gabe and Sofia, danger lurks closer than either would have guessed. The deaths of Gabe’s parents grow more suspicious by the day, and Gabe and Sofia are drawn into the midst of a plot neither can escape. Will obedience to God’s call—in spite of their fears and desires—result in a price too steep to bear?
Check out Vanessa’s links and please take a moment to encourage this talented young author!