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The extraordinary novel The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August (UK | US | ANZ) launches today, published by Orbit in the UK and Redhook in the US.

No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes . . . Until now.

Here the author Claire North tells us what advice she would give to her past self, in case she got the chance to live her life all over again . . .

***

Your teachers and elders are not always right.  Age does not necessarily bring wisdom, and if you feel uncertain about yourself, someone else’s certainty does not make them right.  If anything, the more certain the other person is, the more you should question it. Have faith in your own mind, judgment and intelligence, and use it to question everything, even people who seem to be ‘above’ you in whatever place or time you happen to be in now.

Your friends are the best of you.  When you are down, remember that if a person can be judged by the company you keep, then you are frankly, amazing.  Because your friends are amazing and then some.  By which extension – when you meet them for the first time, trust the geeks.  They have found a thing they love and they have the guts to stand up for it, and through it, themselves.  When you’re trying to work out who you are, they can help.

Physicality is in your power.  The questions you ask about how you look, and more importantly how other people perceive your looks, is based on a false premise.  Charisma and confidence is a thing created in the mind, in how you see yourself and how you feel about yourself.  The rest is fluff.

Regret is not the same as wisdom.

When the monkey in the hoodie says ‘yes’ to ‘fixed’ and ‘off’ he is, in fact, wrong.

Concision is a rarer grace than wit.

Above all: do not be afraid.  Running away from something stupid or dangerous isn’t fear, it’s just good sense.  The rest however, the fear that will hold you back, is self-inflicted and can be beaten.  Do not be afraid.

about the author

Claire North

All Orbit books by Claire North

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