(L-R) Actors Amandla Stenberg and Russell Hornsby, author Angie Thomas , actor Regina Hall and director George Tillman, Jr. during “The Hate U Give” cast and filmmakers presentation at Essence Festival 2018.
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'I got a lot of No's but one Yes changed everything', says 'The Hate U Give' author Angie Thomas


Angie Thomas, the author behind "The Hate U Give", knows a thing or two about rejection, having suffered many snubs in her career.

Speaking at London's Southbank Centre last week, Thomas gave attendees a piece of advice that could be embraced by anyone with a creative goal.

"Write for yourself, first and foremost — write the stories that you want to read. Write the books that you would like to walk into a store and pick up," the best-selling author said at the "Angie Thomas: On the Come Up" event in London.

"Don't write it because it's a trending topic. Don't write it because it could be turned into a film. Don't write it because you think it's going to win awards," she said before adding, "Write it because you enjoy it, because that's why you will enjoy writing it. If it's something that you enjoy, it'll be something you'll want to read."

Thomas made a name for herself as an author, after publishing her debut novel "The Hate U Give" in early 2017. The book tracks the life of 16-year-old Starr Carter, who has her world turned upside down after she witnesses the fatal shooting of a childhood friend, by a police officer.

Thomas was initially drawn to writing this story, after seeing the reactions that came from the police shooting of Oscar Grant, back in 2009. After that and other cases fueled her own frustration and anger, Thomas told Epic Reads in 2017 that she wanted to find a way for her writing to show the human side of race-based injustice, along with finding a way to find hope in times of hurt.

And her hard work paid off. Commenting on the response people had to her book "The Hate U Give", Thomas told Goodreads in late 2017, that one of the best aspects was seeing how the book had "successfully found its readership and how it has successfully reached the kids I wanted it to reach."

The author has published two successful books, "The Hate U Give" and "On The Come Up", both of which have been picked up for on-screen adaptions.

Author Angie Thomas at 'The Hate U Give' Atlanta University Center press junket on October 4, 2018 in Atlanta.
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Thomas may be an award-winning and critically-acclaimed author, however, she emphasised during the conversation in London, that it wasn't always easy.

"Know that, you may get a lot of no's along the way, but it only takes one yes to change everything," she said last week. Thomas added that for one of her stories, which she admits "never got anywhere," the author had received over 200 rejections.

Rejection however, did not deter her from writing about what she's passionate about. "I got a lot of no's but one yes changed everything."

Quoting a fellow author, Thomas explained that if you love being creative, don't let doubt or concerns surrounding time, get in the way.

"There's a friend of mine, Julie Murphy, she writes incredible books and one of them is called 'Dumplin'' and she always says: 'Write as if you are getting paid to do it.' And eventually, you will hopefully, get paid to do it."

"You have to discipline yourself and determine that 'Yeah, there are only 24 hours in a day, but at least if I write something, I will get to the end eventually.'"

Jameela Jamil got her job on 'The Good Place' with zero acting experience
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