TELL US YOUR BACKSTORY with Amber A Bardan
It never in my wildest imaginings occurred to me that being a published author was a possibility. Sometimes people ask, “I bet you’ve been dreaming of this your whole life?” and some are shocked when I reveal I only attempted writing when my 4-year-old son was an infant.
My relationship with books was always as a ravenous reader. Anything beyond that seemed ridiculous because well…I pretty much sucked for most of my schooling. I remember my year eight English teacher giving me a D- on my creative writing assignment with the accompanying feedback that creative writing just wasn’t for me.
But then my not so high-achieving school experience and my dependant relationship with reading were oddly intertwined. Like for many readers, books were escapism. I don’t know a published author who hasn’t been touched by readers who have written to them to thank them for helping through a difficult time. For me it was escape from the severe daily bullying I faced at school—to the extent that even my grade three school teacher called me racial slurs. I remember around that time developing a game where from the moment I woke up in the morning I would take whatever dream I had the night before and make up what would happen next in my head, (and continue that dream throughout the day) so I never really had to “be at school”. So I guess I was a budding writer back then, except it was called daydreaming—something I was constantly in trouble for.
Okay…that got a bit deep. But if we’re going to talk about backstory then I have to mention all this because sometimes our passions never get to develop to dreams because we don’t give them a chance—or don’t believe we can.
Romance books became my passion from the time I picked up my very first Sweet Valley High.
They were full of stories about teenage girls who were often “wronged” or “overlooked” but then of course overcame those injustices and got the boy. But those Sweet Valley High books could not compare to what I discovered when I picked up my first actual romance novel. I remember purchasing two from Target on the same day: Until Forever by Johanna Lindsey and The Secret by Julie Garwood.
Until Forever had this sneaky cover which was plain gold on the outside, but had a raunchy Fabio image hidden inside. The story captivated me as nothing else ever had. The hero was enchanted into a sword that falls into the nerdy heroines hands. So he’s kind of like a sexilious genie.
Romance novels gave me something super special, escapism but also this beautiful message that no matter how awful things seemed there was always a happy optimistic outcome. From that point on I was addicted to the positive emotional hit I received from romance.
Then one day when my son was a baby, I was up all night very sick and started writing down a reoccurring daydream (a very early version of what is now my first traditionally published book, Didn’t I Warn You). That was when I realized that my relationship with books didn’t have to be only as a reader. That’s when my passion became my ambition.
Whatever your secret passions are, even if they seem as useless to others as daydreaming, they are worthy, and part of what makes you a more enriched you.
Didn’t I Warn You
Not everything dangerous is bad.
From the moment Angelina laid eyes on him, she fell into a fantasy. Mysterious, foreign, gorgeous, Haithem offered her what she needed most—a chance to feel again.
But Haithem is much more than he appears to be. He lives in a world of danger where everything comes at a price.
For Angelina, that price is her future.
He’s made sure the life she’s left behind is in tatters. Made her family believe she’s dead. Still, he talks about protecting her, about keeping her safe, but she can’t distinguish his truth from his lies. She can’t separate her pleasure from his betrayal.
Haithem warned her. He told her he’d make her heart race, her body come alive and her most primal needs rush to the surface. His for the taking.
He didn’t say she’d come to love the devil who’s destroying her, even as he keeps her prisoner.