Guest Post by author Danielle Weiler

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Danielle Weiler is the author of the soon-to-be-released YA novel, Friendship On Fire (you can check out my review here). I've invited her to my blog to talk about advice she'd give to her younger self!

Notes from my twenty-six-year-old self to my seventeen-year-old self

In order to write an authentic voice for Daisy, main character of my novel Friendship on Fire, I had to delve back into the cobwebs of my youth and try to remember how I felt about issues that affected me so much then and turn them into a believable story. After going to a private primary school and a state high school, I was well-rounded in how different people behaved in different circumstances, so by the end of year 12, nothing, no matter how shocking, ever surprised me.

Despite that, I was a sensitive teen. I was very kind, cautious but not reserved, feisty against injustice, and I didn’t like disapproval, getting into trouble, fighting with friends…or doing my homework. But there were a few things that I wish I’d believed that all adults tell you in earnest when you’re a teen. You know what I mean. You want to believe them, but you can’t, because your friends are in the here and now, not in fairyland where adults with no self-esteem issues live (yeah right). Your friends aren’t adults and they don’t behave in ways that you hope for (neither do adults, don’t worry) and you have to deal with them.

Here are some of the things I wish I’d believed and held onto:

Boys: I remember only too well what it was like to have boys disappoint. Without giving too much away about the storyline, Daisy’s interaction with bad-boy Nate was an easy feeling to dredge up and feel again for the time that I was writing about it. I threw that in and watched it boil. I wish I could have been more at peace with situations, knowing that the right guy would come along when he was finished baking in the oven (nerdy analogy I know, but it works. Why would you want a guy who was half-ready for you?). I wish I listened to my dad more because he knew exactly what boys were like. I wish I didn’t stress when I saw all the popular boys hooking up with the popular girls at school and wondered why they didn’t take notice in me (looking back now the boys weren’t as awesome as they thought they were anyway). I wish I could have stood up more for what I believed in.

Family: I wanted Daisy to have an amazing family life. I wanted to project the joy/frustrations of having older brothers. I have 5 of my own. They are a lot of work.

Choosing the right career: I always knew I’d be involved with people, but when you’re young you don’t want to put in the hard work. Daisy’s confusion about career choice is something teenagers worry about but I wish I hadn’t. It falls into your lap, then you fall into it. Just make sure you do something you enjoy.

Friends: Friends, friends, friends. Friends come and go all the time. I wish I hadn’t mourned so much for lost friendships at seventeen. It was probably for the best that I went separate ways with some friends. I also wish I hadn’t been so forgiving to some. I wish I hadn’t felt like I needed to change. Even though I didn’t, much, it was that constant pressure to feel that I shouldn’t stand out too much in any way. I wish I hadn’t been so hard on myself.

I hope that by reading this blog, you wonderful young adults out there will remember to be kind to yourselves while finding yourselves the right job, the right friends, the right boys/girls, the right life balance. Because in 10 years you’ll be looking back on your teenage self and wondering what on earth you were worried about.

Danielle Weiler is an innovative history teacher living in Perth, Western Australia. She is inspired every day by teenagers who are trying to find their unique identity in life. A serial diary writer, Danielle attributes much of her writing to having a large family, with five older brothers who endlessly entertain her. She wrote her first story book when she was six years old.
Danielle is credited with being the editor of her university’s magazine as well as being president of her graduating class. Her writing encompasses the modern young adult and the difficulties of growing up in an unapologetic, competitive world. Danielle hopes this book will delight and satisfy the reader’s imagination.
Danielle is attached to a loving husband, who is the funniest and most patient person she’s met. She is owned by a very affectionate ranga cat named Toppy.
Danielle also has a passion for Redskins.
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