The Life We Almost Had: Second Chances with Amelia Henley

In my debut love story with a twist, Adam and Anna can’t envisage life without each other but the universe has entirely different plans for them. After a tragedy forces them apart, they long to be together once more and fix their damaged relationship. The Life We Almost Had is a story of hope, regret, courage and loyalty and explores the immeasurable lengths the couple will go to for a second chance at first love, even when the consequences of finding each other once more are potentially life shattering. This is not a typical love story but sometimes, just sometimes, the seemingly impossible can become possible in the most unexpected way.

Publishing this book is a dream come true. As a child, I longed to be an author. I was obsessed with mysteries, devouring Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Secret Seven books, writing my own series called ‘The Fantastic Five’ (**not copied at all**) and illustrating them with stick men drawings. It was when I read Little Women, though, that my vague hope to be published transmuted into a fierce desire. I wanted to take readers through the spectrum of emotions I had felt when reading Louisa May Alcott’s classic; I wanted readers to root for my characters, to celebrate their highs but more than any of that, I wanted to make them cry.

With clarity, I remember with clarity sitting in front of my careers advisor at school, holding out my dreams, hoping she’d help me make them come true.

She didn’t, and worse than that she laughed. People like me didn’t become writers, apparently. I had no higher education. No contacts in publishing. It would be impossible for me to break into the world I longed to be part of and even if I did, she told me I would never be able to earn a living from it.

I carried my shattered dreams and my shattered heart outside and although I didn’t initially just give up, I was at a loss to know how to fulfil my ambition. There wasn’t the internet then to research the steps I could take. I asked in libraries, bookshops, colleges. I did everything I could… except actually write a book, which seemed fruitless.

It was over twenty years later that my life changed in an instant. A car accident exacerbated a pre-existing health condition, as well as causing new damage, and I could no longer weight bear, reliant on a wheelchair and crutches to move around. Chronic pain was my constant companion and it didn’t take long for clinical depression to set in too. As well as losing my mobility, I lost my identity; I wasn’t sure who I was, what I could do. I had spent years building a career which had fallen apart.

It was my spinal consultant who suggested I get a hobby. Try to forge a new life. Initially, I couldn’t think of what I could do, my previous pastimes of horse riding and running no longer possible, but then I remembered how much I used to love writing and tentatively I put pen to paper.

Writing Adam and Anna has been cathartic. It’s a hugely emotional story and through the characters, I’ve worked through many of my own complicated feelings – letting go of the life I almost had, and embracing the one I have.

My mobility will never be the same as it was, second chances sometimes come at a price, as Adam and Anna discover during the story, but I’m so glad I got one; being a full time author really is a dream come true.

If you could have a second chance at something, what would it be?

 

Today we publish Amelia Henley’s gorgeous debut romance The Life We Almost Had in paperback! Available from:

Hive | Amazon | Waterstones | Foyles | WHSmith

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