I love this post today from author, Alison Rattle!
Alison has recently published her third novel, V for Violet with Hot Key Books, which is set in the Swinging Sixties. Alison has written a heartwarming, yet comical letter to her younger self below.
First of all I would like to say PLEASE STOP OBSESSING ABOUT YOUR HAIR. It might not be sleek and straight and capable of falling into perfect flicks like your mates, Karen and Pamela and Dawn, but believe me, you will grow to love that unruly mass of curls. It will become your defining feature, and in time, Karen and Pamela and Dawn will kill for hair like yours.
Secondly, and this is really important, please don’t feel you have you join in when all your friends are trying to learn how to smoke in the park after school. It’s not cool or grown up, it’s disgusting. And you’ll probably develop a life-long smoking habit, plus wrinkles, damaged lungs and the risk of cancer. So please DON’T.
Listen to your mum when she tells you it’s not necessary to shave the baby fine hairs on your legs. They will grow back all black and stubbly and you’ll have to keep on shaving them forever which will turn into a real chore. Definitely don’t shave your eyebrows.
Don’t feel like you have to go out with the first boy that asks you, just because all your friends have boyfriends. The thought of kissing him will make you feel sick and it will end in disaster. You’ll know when you’ve met the right boy when your hand fits in his hand perfectly, he shares your passion for books, old black and white films and still loves you even when you’ve forgotten to shave your legs.
Have confidence in your talents and abilities. But know that you can’t be good at everything. It doesn’t matter if you suck at maths and chemistry, you’ll still be able to manage a household budget and you will be brilliant at baking cakes. You might find your history lessons the most boring things on earth. You might even fail your history exams. But in years to come your history teacher will fall off his chair when he learns that you have written and published historical novels.
You are capable of so many things you don’t even know about yet. Just dare to dream, because your dreams will come true if you work hard at them and never give up. (Even if it takes until you’re forty, you will get a publishing deal) And remember it’s ok to have more than one dream. Don’t think you have to decide what you want to do in life and stick to it. It’s ok to change your mind. It’s ok to fail. It’s ok to try a million and one things. Believe me, you’ll do things you never even dreamt of.
Don’t be afraid to be an individual. Don’t follow the crowd. Their way is not necessarily your way. Wear that leopard skin hat if you want you and that beautiful vintage dress. But be careful of four inch high clog boots. You might fall off them and break your ankle one day.
And don’t make the mistake of thinking that one day you’ll grow up. That one day you’ll be all sensible and will understand politics and be able to make grown-up decisions about mortgages, investments and insurance policies. Because you won’t. You might grow older, but inside you’ll feel the same as you do now. Wiser perhaps about some things (not politics or financial investments) and more experienced, but definitely NOT grown-up.
Grab every opportunity. Do things that scare you. Travel as much as you can and don’t waste too much time exercising, because the size of your bum is a genetic feature that no amount of exercise will ever change.
Most of all, have fun! Lots and lots and lots of fun!
Thank you Alison for an awesome letter, which all teenagers should read.
Published by Hot Key Books in April 2016
Battersea, 1961. London is just beginning to enter the swinging sixties. The world is changing - but not for sixteen-year-old Violet. She was born at the exact moment Winston Churchill announced Victory in Europe - an auspicious start, but now she's just stuck in her family's fish and chip shop dreaming of greatness. And it doesn't look like fame and fortune are going to come calling anytime soon. Then she meets Beau. Beau's a rocker - a motorcycle boy who arrives in an explosion of passion and rebellion. He blows up Violet's grey little life, and she can't believe her luck. But things don't go her way for long. Joseph, her long-lost brother, comes home. Then young girls start going missing, and turning up murdered. And then Violet's best friend disappears too. Suddenly life is horrifyingly much more interesting. Violet can't believe its coincidence that Joseph turns up just as girls start getting murdered. He's weird, and she feels sure he's hiding something. He's got a secret, and Violet's got a dreadful feeling it might be the worst kind of secret of all...
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