Guest Post: Writing 53 Letters For My Lover by Leylah Attar | Excerpt & Giveaway


Title: 53 Letters For My Lover

Author: Leylah Attar

Genres: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Publication Date: June 23rd 2014






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This is not your typical love story.
It’s not so black and white. Lines are crossed.
Walls are smashed. Good becomes bad.
Bad becomes very, very good.

Shayda Hijazi—the perfect wife, the perfect mother, the perfect daughter. For thirty-three years, she has played by the rules, swallowing secrets, burying dreams and doing whatever it takes to anchor her family. Shayda Hijazi is about to come face to face with the one thing that can rip it all apart, the one thing her heart has always been denied: Love.

Troy Heathgate—untamed, exhilarating, dangerous—a man who does exactly as he pleases. Life bends to his will. Until he comes across the one thing he would give it all up for, but can never have.

Born on the same day in opposite corners of the world, their lives collide. And nothing is ever the same again. Now Shayda is flying free and Troy has found the one thing that centers his soul, but even as they beat the odds, a cancer diagnosis puts Shayda in a painful dilemma. On the one hand is the man who makes her feel gloriously alive and on the other, her children, and a husband ravaged by the past.

Spanning three decades, 53 Letters for My Lover is a fiercely sensual, emotional ride to the heart of an epic, forbidden love that defies it all—an intimate exploration of love, loyalty, passion, betrayal, and the human journey for hope, happiness and redemption.

“Sexy, intense fiction isn’t afraid to step out of the box.” 

Contemporary women’s fiction: Ages 18+




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Troy Heathgate has it all – brains, brawn and the kind of smile that just begs a ribbon. Everything but the woman he loves. But now he’s back and determined to possess her. There’s just one catch – she’s married to another man.

This short teaser story (9,500 words, 38 pages) is a re-telling of select scenes from ‘ 53 Letters For My Lover’. It is narrated from the male point of view – raw and uncut.

***This is a companion to the full length novel. Although you can read it on its own, the recommended order is after the full length novel, as an extra glimpse into the hero’s perspective.****



53 Letters For My Lover

by Leylah Attar

  • The idea for 53 Letters came to me when I was watching a music video. I started to wonder about the couple being portrayed, and what had brought them to that point in their lives. I used that as the ending for the story and worked my way back. The entire novel was inspired by music. Sometimes I would listen to a song and picture the same couple at a different stage in their relationship. I strung the evolving vignettes in my head into different scenes and then tweaked them to fit the story.  All the songs are included in the story, except, ironically, the one that got me started. Reader feedback was overwhelmingly in favor of an alternate ending, so it never made it in the published version. So here it is – the missing song that inspired the novel:

  • The original version of 53 Letters was a real tear jerker – it slayed everyone including me. I wrote a happy ending for a particularly impassioned reader, but when I put the two stories together, side by side, the happy ending just ‘felt’ right. I decided to change it a few weeks before publication and let me tell you, it was pure madness, but I am so glad I did it.
  • I am often asked why I chose to tackle a love story that involves infidelity. It’s like the kiss of death, particularly for a debut novel. For me, this book is not so much about infidelity as it is about what happens when we are denied the opportunity to make our own choices, or when we make choices out of external pressure, circumstances or expectations. Although Shayda was not forced into her marriage, she entered into it out of a sense of duty and obligation. This is not something that is specific to any particular culture, country or generation. People override their dreams for whatever reasons, every day, everywhere. Sometimes it takes exceptional courage to stand up for them; we risk being labeled as selfish if we do, and cowardly if we don’t.  It’s a dilemma everyone faces at one point or another.


  • Ultimately, this story is about love, an epic love that refuses to be denied – a love that demands, destroys, rebuilds, and redeems itself, and all the people it touched. Right or wrong is something best left up to the reader, and that’s what makes reading such a beautiful, personal experience.


The doorbell rings. Repeatedly. Followed by loud thumping on the door.

“Coming, coming! Now what did you what forget?” I swing the door open.

My heart screeches to a slamming halt. “Troy.” I turn pale. “You…you shouldn’t be here.”

“No?” He storms past me into the house. “Where should I be, Shayda? Waiting by the phone? Staking out your office? Checking my email? Where the fuck, Shayda?” His fist slams into the console table, so ‘fuck’ is an obscure, jarring thud, like some censored song on the radio.

“I changed my mind.”

“You changed your mind. Just like that?” He starts pacing the hallway. “And when were you were planning to tell me exactly? When, Shayda?”

“I made a mistake.” My voice quivers. “I got caught up in the moment. We were alone, we were away. It was…it was all an illusion.”

“An illusion?” He pulls me hard against him. Our bodies collide, knocking the breath out of me. “Is this an illusion?”

His lips assault mine.

“And this?” His hand slides under my dress, claiming my thigh.

“What about this, Shayda?” He pushes my panties aside and slides two fingers inside.

“Tell me, Shayda. Tell me this is all in my head.” He shoves me against the door and deepens his strokes. “Tell me this is nothing.” He rubs his fingers on my neck, leaving the unmistakable trail of my reaction.

“This is you, Shayda.” His finger slips inside my mouth. “Your taste, your smell, your skin, your touch.” He grabs me by the hair and pulls my head back. “Tell me you’re not real, Shayda. Tell me!”

I feel the gathump gathump of his heart. Our breath comes in short, shallow gasps. His eyes darken, black holes pushing sky blue irises to the edges of raw emotion. Hunger. Anger. Love. Pain.

abouttheauthorLeylah Attar writes stories about love—shaken, stirred and served with a twist. When she’s not writing, she can be found pursuing her other passions: photography, food, family and travel. Sometimes she disappears into the black hole of the internet, but can usually be enticed out with chocolate.

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