Tuesday 14 May 2013

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We Love YA: Andrew Hammond's Letter to His 16-Year-Old Self

We Love YATo celebrate their fantastic YA list, Headline have put together an awesome #WeLoveYA promotion to share the love for all YA books, not just the ones they're publishing! From Jen E Smith’s top five books, songs and films that make her happy, to Tanya Byrne’s top five books, songs and films that make her sad to Cathy Brett’s letter to her teenage self, there will be amazing content across 20 book blogs, as well as short pieces written by the YA team at Headline about their favourite YA book, and a little bit about what they do at Headline in publicity, marketing, sales and editorial. Not only that, but bloggers get to share their favourite YA novels, too. To find out where you can find this exciting content and for all the recommended favourite YA titles, head to Headline's 'Which Book Next?' Facebook Page and Pinterest boards!

Today, I'm sharing a letter from Andrew Hammond, author of the Crypt series, to his 16-year-old self. Read on to see what advice he had to share.

Andrew HammondDear Me (aged 16),

Remember those days spent worrying about which subjects to take, what courses to study, which modules to opt for and what job, ultimately, you’re going to end up in? Do you remember the words ‘what are you going to do for a living?’ ringing in your ears? It's so pressurized isn't it. Can you even remember when you didn't have these pressures?

Well it's all bullshit. Just a year ago you were swapping football cards and playing with your Lego. What the hell happened? Why are you trying to be so grown up so soon? You'll have plenty of time to be grown up and feel the pressure and being 'grown up' is overrated, let me tell you. Every teenager wants to be an adult and every adult wants to be a teenager. Fact.

All those nights feeling anxious about what you're going to do with your life and planning which job you're going to have before you're even old enough to drive. Why? Don't worry about it. There's no such thing as 'free will' anyway, so you needn't stress about the decisions you think you've got to make now.

And that is not bullshit. Think about it. For school lunch today, you might be faced with the crap choice of lumpy semolina pudding or glutinous yoghurt, like the PVA glue in the art block. I know you'll choose semolina (and regret it, again). But you were always destined to choose that. Just as you were always destined to make each decision that you ever make. You could try and cheat fate, of course. You could say 'semolina, semolina, semolina,' in your head while queuing and then switch at the very last moment to yoghurt. But you were always destined to make that switch. There's an order to things, a natural rhythm.

It's pre-planned, I promise you, and you are exactly where you are meant to be at any given time in your life. There's a pattern emerging and you can't push it or beat the system or miss parts out or start again. So shut up and enjoy it.

The irony is, after all that worrying about whether to go into catering, or landscape design, or antique dealing, or restaurant managing, or fundraising or writing or Law, you ended up doing exactly the same job as the Headmaster sat on stage in assembly every day. You never expected that did you? Did you? I think maybe you did. But did you expect to be spending your school holidays writing gruesome horror stories too? Funny how life turns out.

So enjoy the little things. Stop looking up all the time to see if you can see further away. You're missing what's going around you. And it's all brilliant.

Much love,

You (aged 41)

Isn't that such an awesome letter?! Check out Andrew Hammond's website and find him on Twitter.


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