Q: When did you first begin writing stories?
My eighth-grade English class thought it would be cool to skip over the same old lectures about
Romeo and Juliet and instead have us tackle the task of writing our own children’s books. They
were right, it was super cool. I partnered with a girl who loved to draw, and we took the
assignment more seriously than anything else that entire eighth-grade year. The final product
was a moving tale about Jerry the Tire; a lonely, abandoned tire struggling to find his purpose
until a young boy comes along and repurposes him into a tire swing. My parents, especially my
dad, were way more impressed with this piece of literature than they should have been. Being a
kid who practically survived off praise from adults, I kept writing. I still write my dad a children’s
book for Christmas every year (granted, with much worse illustrations and with plot lines that
really only make sense to my immediate family).
Q: What was the name of your favorite book?
It’s predictable but growing up it was always Anne of Green Gables. I reread the series after the
birth of my son when I wasn’t feeling like myself at all and it was just what I needed. There’s
something about Anne… She knows how to bring me back to the heart of things every time.
Q: How did you get into the fiction genre?
Well, I knew I could never write nonfiction! Too many dates and names… I’d never manage.
Novels are my happy place. I bury myself in them when I want to learn more about the world,
experience life through someone else’s eyes, or just to be swept away in someone else’s story.
I’ve read so much fiction that I often find myself narrating my life in my head (probably a sign
I’ve read too much fiction). Novels are so much a part of me, I don’t think I ever had much
choice when it came to deciding to write one.
Q: Which characters were the most difficult to create?
The characters that don’t share any dialogue with my protagonist. It’s hard for me to express
someone’s personality when there isn’t any dialogue, especially because I feel like
conversations between characters is an area where I really hit my stride. In All That Fills Us, it
was especially hard because many of my characters belong to my protagonist’s past instead of
her present. I could create flashbacks with dialogue, but I had to be more deliberate about
building their personalities than the ones my protagonist meets along her journey.
Q: How would you describe your writing style in three words?
Honest, conversational, wry.
Q: What themes will readers find in your novel?
Internal struggle is a big one. You won’t meet many villains trying to take down my protagonist
since she’s her own worst enemy. There’s also a lot of hope to be found in my novel and love in
many of its forms- love from strangers, love from soulmates, the love of God, and love for
oneself. There’s also the healing and peace that can be found amidst God’s creation. The book
is intended for the reader not to feel alone in their struggles, even if they feel as if they are
wandering through a vast wilderness (like my protagonist literally does for the majority of the
Q: What inspired you to write your debut novel, All That Fills Us?
I wanted to give voice to the struggles inflicted by a mental illness that has had its claws in me
for so many years. I’ve traveled my own path to healing, and I’ve learned that the less I keep
hidden, the swifter and more profound the recovery is. Mental illnesses only grow and fester in
the darkness. I wanted to bring my struggles to light in the hopes that others feel less alone and
less crushed by the weight of their own dark thoughts. When we are honest about our fears and
refuse to hold back when sharing our struggles, it doesn’t magically make all our problems go
away but it does make them seem lighter. It might even spark a small voice that tells us healing
Q: What future projects are you currently working on that you can share with us,
Well, nothing anyone is paying me for yet! Luckily for me (or unluckily?) I love writing enough to
do it anyway. I write mostly during my son’s naptime (when I don’t accidentally nap too…) and
it’s cool to have a little piece of myself that’s still entirely my own.
Q: Do you outline your stories, or do you just dive into writing them?
I used to turn my nose up at the idea of outlines (I guess I thought I was too artistic for such
structure in my writing? Yikes). But I’ve grown a lot and have conceded that spending a little
time on an outline will save a lot of time on pointless chapters and tangents in the future.
Q: What is your go to beverage when working on a new book?
A nice glass filled with lukewarm water. Mmmm. On a day I’m feeling extra wild, I’ll make a cup
of tea that I forget to drink.
Q: What is the writing and publishing process like for you?
A dream. An absolute dream. I am not exaggerating when I say I loved every single part of the
process. Maybe, it was because the team at Baker Publishing Group is just that amazing?
Probably. Throughout the whole process I couldn’t stop thinking, “I was made for this sort of
work.” Even the editing process was a joy. I loved the deep dive into my work and fine tuning
the details to make the book shine.
Q: For aspiring writers in your genre, what advice would you give to them?
Be honest. Which I get seems like a weird piece of advice for someone wanting to write made
up stories. But the heart of the book should be something honest and familiar and real. That’s
how you’ll speak to readers. Readers are looking for characters to relate to. That doesn’t mean
they have to look like them or have the same personality, but it does mean they have to be
honest about their struggles and their dreams and their doubts. I think we live in an age where
people can find mind-blowing stories just about anywhere, but finding someone who they can
relate to? Someone who feels like a true friend and an ally in life, despite not actually existing?
Now that’s something worth writing about.
Q: Tell us about your main characters in All That Fills Us.
There’s really only one “main” character in All That Fills Us, and her name is Mel Ellis. She’s a
wreck, to put it lightly. When we first meet her, she’s made herself hard to love, impossible to
approach, and incapable of being helped. She doesn’t feel like she’s worth the help people are
offering her because she doesn’t feel like she’s worth anything at all. She’s in a situation that so
many people in their twenties find themselves in- she got the degree that told her she was going
to change the world, and yet she’s working a dead-end job, living alone, and definitely not
changing the world. All her self-doubt and lack of control has earned her the badge of a barely
functioning anorexic with one heck of an exercise obsession. It’s killing her and ruining the life
she has left. So instead of the practical, doctor-approved choice of going to rehab, she sets out
on a thru-hike that will take her from Grand Rapids, Michigan to Mt. Rainier, Washington. She’s
snarky, sarcastic, awkward, and incredibly insecure. She lets her thoughts about calories and
weight loss clouds her judgement and block her moral compass. But she’s also desperate to
heal. As the journey progresses, we see her determination, loyalty, compassion, and strength.
She is an ever-evolving testament to the power of recovery and healing.
Q: Where can readers find you and your books online?
You can find me at www.autumnlytle.com. My books are sold through the Baker Book House
(that’s where you’ll find the best deal), Amazon, Barnes and Noble… pretty much anywhere
people get books online these days!