Dear Thirteen Year Old Diana,
Hey, you. You in the molded desk chair in the second row of study hall. The one ignoring her Latin homework and scribbling yet another opening to what will be (I’m sorry to inform you) another unfinished fantasy novel. You who spent the weekend dressing up like characters from Jean M. Auel or Marion Zimmer Bradley (depends on the weekend) with your best friend. You with the beat-up paperback of yet another Mercedes Lackey or Christopher Pike novel taking up the space where your math homework should be.
I’m you in twenty years, and I have some news.
This week, I received author copies of the new anthology, UNDER MY HAT: TALES FROM THE CAULDRON, which is edited by Jonathan Strahan. It’s your fourth fiction anthology this year (well, tied for fourth, as you have another out the same day, which is edited by one of your new best friends, though don’t worry, you still have the old one, too). And it’s gorgeous:
Nice, huh? That’s your name there on the front, along with names you know, like Peter S. Beagle and Jane Yolen and Patricia McKillip, and names you don’t, but will later on, like Neil Gaiman and Jim Butcher and Holly Black. Your story is called “Stray Magic” and it’s about a girl who is a lot like you are now, a girl who loves animals and tries hard and has no idea what she’s really capable of.
It opens the anthology.
So here’s what’s going to happen. The publisher of this anthology (which is Random House, and don’t freak out, but you know them pretty well by now), is going to send you some early copies in the mail. And you are going to sit down to read the other contributors’ stories. Spoiler alert: they are totally awesome.
Then you’re going to flip to the back to read the contributors’ bios. You’re going to lose count of the awards and honors they’ve received. You’re going to lose count of the books they’ve written (especially that Jane Yolen). And you’re going to see your name there among them, and start to cry, and wish like hell that you really could go back in time and tell your thirteen year old self that someday…. someday this book will be out in the world. (Next Tuesday, in fact.) She will be in an anthology with these writers whose works she so adores.
And, most of all, that she should keep scribbling, because eventually she will finish a story, and it’s going to change her world.
PS: I didn’t even tell you about the novels.
ETA: Forgot to mention, I’m giving away an early copy of UNDER MY HAT on my blog today. Hop on over to enter!