If you’re active in the vlogosphere, there’s a chance that video content creator Elmify sounds familiar. If not, you’ll be hearing about her by another name – Emma Mills – as her debut YA novel First & Then hits shelves on October 13th.
Mills’s debut is a contemporary novel about Devon, whose life takes a turn for the unexpected (and unwanted) after her cousin, Foster, and her high school’s star running back, Ezra, end up in her P.E. class and manage to integrate themselves into every other aspect of her life. Pitched as Pride & Prejudice meets “Friday Night Lights,” the novel is sure to be a hit with sports fans and romantics alike.
There are readers out there who never would’ve imagined to pair a beloved classic with a modern sports story but this wasn’t the case for Mills.
“To me, football and Jane Austen seemed like a match made in heaven,” said Mills. “I loved the idea of an Austen-esque story — about family, societal expectations, and of course romance—in a high school setting. And I love stories where two people clash, but have undeniable chemistry.”
While the novel certainly draws on elements from “Friday Night Lights” and Pride & Prejudice, it’s also a coming-of-age story.
“Devon’s relationships with Foster and Ezra in particular are really instrumental to her growth. They’re both so different than her, and they challenge her to see the world in different ways and to think outside herself,” said Mills.
First & Then is certainly Devon’s coming-of-age story but it’s also a coming-of-age story for Mills, who got her start with the publishing process at a young age.
“I was really interested in the publishing process as a kid, and excited to share my work,” said Mills. “But I didn’t have very high expectations of success back then, so I wasn’t particularly devastated by the rejections. Many of the publishers wrote me really nice letters encouraging me to continue writing, and this definitely motivated me to keep at it!”
Mills has also found encouragement and a community within YouTube.
“I’ve had so many wonderful experiences and met so many amazing people as a result of being on YouTube these last five years! With respect to writing, YouTube has been a wonderful way to discover writers and books, particularly via the Booktube community. I love the collaborative environment on YouTube, and the community aspect, and I’m so grateful to be involved in it.”