Hey, you? Yes, you, with your head in a book. Not the book you’re reading, but Final Edition, the third book you’re going to have published. I know it’s the sixth you’ve written, but trust me, you’ll never have another knocked back by a publisher. You’re going to live the dream of being a full-time writer, I promise you.

I’ll be honest, there will be times when it doesn’t feel like a dream come true. A few years when you wonder how you’re going to pay the bills. When buying books and CDs is a luxury you can’t afford, but you’ll be lucky to be living through a period when libraries can still meet the needs of a voracious reader.

And soon you’re going to hook up with an editor who’s in tune with what you want to write, who believes in your talent and who wants to make your books the best they can be. She’s going to push you to the point of tears, but you’ll produce work you can be proud of, work that wins the hearts of your readers as well as awards.

I know you feel there’s been too much death at your door these last few years. First your dad, his death a lightning strike without warning while you were out of reach in America. Ten days before your first book was published, it smashed that milestone into a thousand irrelevant pieces.

Then the terrible death tolls you had to cover as a journalist. Tragedies so big they’re instantly recognisable. First Lockerbie, then Hillsborough. Bearing witness when the lightning struck other people’s lives was a different sort of burden to personal loss, but still something that demanded a reckoning.

Right now, you’re desperate to escape the possibility of another catastrophe. People look at your life and see success, but they don’t see the pressures or feel the stress. Writing fiction isn’t just your passion, it’s the burning hope it’s going to be the escape tunnel that gets you out. I promise you. Before your next birthday, you’ll be free of it.

There’s other good stuff too. You’re going to be a parent. I know it’s not something you’re remotely thinking about now. But I guarantee it’s going to change your life. It won’t be an easy road, but the love that flows both ways is a reward you can’t imagine.

I won’t lie and pretend life is going to be sunshine all the way. Your partner, the woman you love and think you’re going to spend the rest of your life with? Sorry, but she’s going to betray you in the worst possible way. You’ll feel smashed to smithereens, but it won’t be permanent. You’ll make other mis-steps along the way, but you’ll finally meet a woman whose wholehearted love for you matches yours for her. She will fill your heart in a way you feared was impossible.

And you’ll need that love. Because the further down the road we go, the more losses we all have to take into ourselves. There will be songs you can’t hear without tears springing to your eyes. Poems you can’t read aloud because of the lump in your throat. Stupid little objects on your shelves that visitors look at and wonder at. ‘Why does she have a miniature curling stone filled with whisky?’

You’ll know why, and that’s what matters.

Trust me, it’s going to be fine.

No. Wait. It’s going to be a hell of a lot better than fine.

Val McDermid writes about love and loss in a letter to herself 30 years ago. The best-selling author wrote the letter to mark 30 years of Macmillan Cancer Support's coffee morning. To sign up to host a coffee morning or donate the price of a coffee, visit coffee.macmillan.org.uk.