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This Place Will Always Feel Like Home

The letter below is part of an ongoing series featuring letters from authors to their teen selves. If you're a published author who'd like to participate in this series, we'd love to have you. Just click here and let us know you're interested. Today's guest is Samantha Specks, author of Dovetails In Tall Grass, out this Tuesday.


Dear Sixteen-Year-Old Sam,

You’re probably kneeling next to your giant very cool CD-player switching the disk when you stumble across this letter… It’s me, Sam. I mean it’s you – me? Us!? I know it’s weird, Samantha Jo! It’s 2005 right now but I’m actually writing from 2021.

The author, Samantha Specks

Middle school was rough, right? Thank god we’re done with our braces and headgear. That was a big win. And now it’s the summer before Senior year… we finally have some friends – yay, go us! It helps in life to have a few friends. There are just couple things I want to give you a heads up on. I mean part of me wants to tell you everything that’s about to come (we are terrible at keeping secrets, aren’t we?!)... but there’s heartache that’s hard to put into words and too many good/insane/wild/fun stories to fit in one letter.

I know your flip phone is probably about to jingle so I’ll make it quick while I have your attention:

· Well, now that I remember it… enjoy songs as ringtones, for some reason those will go away.

· When your English teacher made that prediction about you in eighth grade… it comes true. Yes, what Mr. Bray said: you’re going to be a writer. He totally calls it.

· Hug Grandpa extra tight and soak up every time he calls you “Sammy Jo”. You’re going to be missing him soon.

· Raise your hand more often in class, you know the stinking answer!

· You move away from Minnesota one day, so go enjoy another old-fashioned cherry coke at the Minnetonka Drive-In while you can!

· On Christmas Eve, you’ll cross paths with Native people riding on horseback – it’s going to send your life in a whole new direction. Those Dakota riders – who still brave the cold every December to commemorate the largest mass execution in US history — are going to change your world view. Mom and Dad taught us that all people matter, and those horseback riders solidify our commitment to justice. Many years from now you’re going to write and publish a book inspired by that unexpected night.

Okay, yup I knew it, Natalie’s calling (she’ll still be your BFF in twenty years) -- go have fun! Put that new driver’s license to use and take the long way to her house, drive your favorite country roads. Roll down the windows, turn up Britney (you get to see her in concert one day!), and watch the sunset flicker through the cornstalks. You’re always gonna love that drive and this place is always going to feel like home.

Miss you,

Thirty-something-year old Sam


About The Author: Samantha Specks is a licensed independent clinical social worker. Dovetails in Tall Grass is Samantha’s debut novel. Currently, she is writing Dovetails of a River, which is set at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. She and her husband live in Houston with their baby (Pippa) and fur baby (Charlie). When not in Texas, they enjoy spending time on the lakes of Minnesota and in the mountains of the Roaring Fork Valley in Colorado.


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