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Read a letter from Amber Smith, author of The Way I Used to Be

11th January, 2023

The Way I Used to Be is a powerful YA debut about a sexual assault that causes Eden’s life to spiral out of control until she finds the strength to build herself back up.

Read a letter from the author below


Dear Reader,

It has been so amazing, gratifying, and humbling to see this book take on a new life in your hands … it is one I never could’ve imagined.

When I first wrote The Way I Used to Be more than a decade ago, I hadn’t planned for anyone ever to read it. I wasn’t sure I would be able to share something so personal with the world. I was just writing it for myself, to work through my own thoughts and feelings as a survivor, as well as someone who has known many other survivors of violence and abuse. But when I began tentatively sharing what I’d written with a few close friends, it became clear that this story was bigger than me. And I started to hope it could contribute something meaningful to the wider conversation.

I always had my own private thoughts about what happens to Eden after the story ends. But when I wrote my final draft in early 2015, I couldn’t bring myself to write an ending I didn’t believe in my heart could really happen. And I also couldn’t bear to give Eden an ending that was anything less than she deserved.

Eden’s story is many things, but at its core it’s about finding your voice, and in writing it, I found mine. In the years since, I have seen the courage and bravery of so many women during the #MeToo movement, refusing to be silenced, fighting to gain even a modicum of justice. Countless readers have also reached out, confiding in me the solace they found from seeing their stories reflected in Eden’s. Empowered by their voices, I continued to work through themes of love and hate, violence, and justice in my subsequent books. However, Eden has always been in the back of my mind. Ideas would creep up unexpectedly and tap me on the shoulder, whisper in my ear, refusing to go away. At last, fortified by your strength and vulnerability, the next chapter to Eden’s story—a new beginning—finally seems possible.

With love,


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