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Is Revenge What You Want, What You Really, Really Want? by Emma Brand

As a red-head, I couldn’t pass up a Ginger Spice reference!

Now that I’ve had my 90’s kid moment, I would like to tell you a story. A story of a girl in her teens and twenties who went through some stuff, like we all did and do. Who was figuring herself out, who hurt and got hurt along the way to her path of self-discovery. Who people pleased herself into oblivion. Who bottled up and swallowed her pain and hurt into neat, tidy boxes with shiny ribbons that took years to unravel.

You guessed it, that was me. Obsessed, full on Glenn Close glenergy (Thank you Maya Hawke and Do Revenge) to all who had wronged me. Who had bullied me and hurt me for no reason. How DARE they. How COULD they. I whispered my fury to trusted friends, wallowed in floods of tears, then molten rage ensued followed by plotting and fantasising every minute detail of my revenge scenarios with graphic details. Poison, ruined reputations, slow

motion entrances by me and exits to power-house music, even sharks (and I love shark films!) to name but a few.

Then along came therapy. For someone who has gone through the training and is now a qualified counsellor, I cannot express to you how much therapy changed my life. I took time to sit and acknowledge the pain. To welcome it in, like an old friend. Own the hurt, but also own what was not mine or my responsibility to bear. To not have to forgive the person, but what happened instead. To recognise all the time I had spent hell-bent on vengeance didn’t hurt the person I intended. It hurt me instead, and it was time to let that go.

In the COVID pandemic, some of it living alone, I reconnected with my love of writing. Remembered my childhood scribbling half-stories in coloured pencils, of mystical lands and magical tales. Of journals and diaries fit to burst with story ideas and character arcs. Once the words flowed, I couldn’t stop. Dial One For Revenge arrived through blood, sweat, tears, and utter admiration for writers and authors. To all the incredible books I’ve read and yet to read; the passion and love in every word, every page is pure, undiluted glitter and joy. As an adult, sometimes people have judged or raised eyebrows at me for reading primarily YA. But I adore it. It’s my heart, and my home. To read stories with queer representation I would have longed for as a teenager struggling with my identity. To get lost in worlds where people are flawed, and have happy for now, not necessarily happy ever after. To see me and the struggles I went through reflected back at me on the page.

Dial One For Revenge explores how revenge can mean one thing one day, another thing the next and that’s OK. Your journey is your own. I’m here for all the revenge stories, but I also wanted to write about what happens if something, or someone comes along to change your mind. I feel incredibly lucky to have something in the world that I have created, and have so many thanks to friends, family, fellow writers and professionals, including my publisher I would run out of space!

But. If I can share anything, I want to share this. Hope triumphs all. Revenge thrives in the shadows, but we have the power to bring it into the light.

In the immortal words of Taylor Swift, ‘I forgot you existed – it isn’t love, it isn’t hate, it’s just


Emma Brand’s YA Debut, Dial One For Revenge is available on Indie Novella and Amazon – you can find her on Twitter and Instagram (@emmalbwrites).

If you would like to write a guest article for my blog, I am currently open to submissions. Find out more here.


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