The YA debut author talks about how revenge inspired her novel Dial One For Revenge


Revenge is defined as “the action of hurting or harming someone in return for an injury or wrong suffered at their hands.”

You could have put a picture of me in the dictionary – hiding downstairs watching Sugar Rush on mute, obsessively watching Buffy The Vampire Slayer (team Willow all the way!), or scouring for South Of Nowhere clips on the prehistorically slow internet modem. Not forgetting Alex and Marissa on The OC of course! 

I knew I was gay when I was 16, going through a trajectory of jumping in and out of the closet, terrified of rejection and not being liked. I could have won a people pleasing Olympic gold medal, putting on the fakest smile to hide and box away the pain in my deepest vault.

As soon as I felt wronged by someone, whether that be romantic partners or friendships, my brain went into full on orbit of fantasising revenge. How could they hurt me like this? Ironic for someone who swerves conflict wherever possible! The more it seemed to happen, the more vivid the fantasies became. Whether written in my journals or slow-motion movie montages in my head, the amount of time and energy I invested in these karmic depictions was staggering. All whilst keeping up the pretence that everything was OK finally brought me to my knees. 

Then therapy came along after I realised I couldn’t do this alone. In my late 20’s, I started my own counselling journey and qualified five years ago. Therapy changed in my life in more ways than I thought possible. Working with a queer therapist who understood my journey and accepted me, I allowed myself to feel it. To feel all the pain I had buried. Using strategies, I was able to separate what was and was not mine to bear. I gave myself permission to forgive myself without needing to forgive the other party, finding my own closure. The time I had put into my revenge fantasies didn’t hurt the person I was aiming for. It was hurting me, and that wasn’t OK anymore. 

During the pandemic, I turned to my love of writing as an escape, but also reconnected with the joy writing used to give me. Once I had let go of the anger that was holding me back, the words started to flow. I hungrily read queer YA stories that weren’t as easy to find when I was a teenager and to see myself represented on the page was an indescribable comfort. With that, Dial One For Revenge arrived and whilst therapeutic for me, I also wanted to share a message that revenge can be fluid, and that your feelings can change.  Revenge can hide in the dark filled with guilt and shame, but we deserve to be in the light. We deserve to love and be loved. We deserve to not give our emotional energy and time to those who don’t deserve it. That’s the kind of karma I’m here for.

You can purchase Dial One For Revenge here:

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