It took me some time to write the author’s note for my book and I decided to structure it as a letter to young adult readers. I wanted to tell them why I wrote this book for them and to let them know that their creativity and ideas are important to me, and to the world. Here it is. (https://emersonpage.com is under construction and coming soon!)
Dear young adult,
I wrote this book for you for many reasons. One of the biggest is that we don’t have enough women and girls at the center of young adult literature. So few books feature female protagonists, and there are almost no books in which a female protagonist takes control of her own life and destiny. As a young adult, I wanted someone to listen to me, to see me. Really listen to my ideas, my hopes, and my dreams, and care enough to understand how I saw the world. And I wanted someone to believe that I could make my dreams happen.
That hope brought Emerson Page into my imagination. A teenager who builds her own path through resilience, courage, and confidence, her touchstones are love and compassion. She’s strong and brave, and she cares about others—exactly the heroine I wish I had when I was her age. She’s the heroine you deserve to have now, and I’m so excited for you to meet her.
I want you to believe in the power of your creative spirit. It’s my greatest wish for you that you live the most beautiful lives you can imagine. Develop your mind, your heart, and your hands. They are the three most powerful tools you have to build a better world, one of your own design. You can’t always choose what happens to you. You can always choose your energy level, enthusiasm, and sense of hopefulness, and they will carry you through difficult times.
Life will undoubtedly hand you setbacks. When that happens, don’t give up. Make the setback mean something. Use it as fuel to work even harder. I always wanted to write a book and have it published. That has been one of my biggest dreams. I spent five years thinking about Emerson, writing down notes and ideas here and there. Then I spent two years writing her story, and another year pitching it and getting it through production.
Fourteen people rejected this book before I found my publisher. (And those are just the ones who bothered to send a rejection reply at all. Many others never even did that.) Don’t be afraid of rejection. Learn from it, but don’t let it stop you from moving forward. Your ideas have merit. Keep looking for the people who appreciate you, and don’t stop until you find them. You find what you look for. Believing is seeing. The book you hold in your hands right now is proof that dreams do come true so long as you don’t give up.
This book is also about community, and the power we have when we believe in ourselves and in others. Be good to each other. And when you see someone in crisis, don’t walk by. Help. You would want that help if the tables were turned, and someday they will be. Life is about give and take, and I’ve found that the more I give, the more it comes back to me.
More than anything, this book tells the story of a young woman finding her way in a world that is often confusing and frustrating. The same thing happens to us from time to time at every age. When that happens to me, I look to the stars. They remind me that we’re literally surrounded by miracles. That we are miracles. We are the stars and the stars are us, and we’re all connected.
When Jasper explains Emerson’s ancestry to her in the Library of Imagination, when Samuel sits with Max in the Crooked Willow Café, and when Nora finds Truman in the In-between, an adult is supporting and encouraging a young person who feels alone. No matter how old you are, I hope this book makes you feel less alone.
Whenever I feel down about the state of society, I remember that you will one day be in the driver’s seat, and that helps me to keep going. You are the hope and light of this world. I’m cheering you on and I’m rooting for you. I believe in your value and the value of your ideas. The world needs you.
I always welcome the chance to connect with readers; it’s one of the best things about being a writer. I look forward to the conversation.
Wishing you the most magical life you can imagine,
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Today I’m writing the Author’s Note for my book and I’m framing it as a letter to young adults to explain why I wrote the book. It’s akin to the idea of writing a letter to my younger self, specifically my 13-year-old self since my protagonist, Emerson Page, is 13 in the book. If you could give your 13-year-old self advice, what would you say?