Rethinking the 'Bounds'

Amber Lehman, who seeks Kickstarter funds to publish young-adult novel, was inspired by real-life experience.

May 16, 2013|By Rhea Mahbubani
  • Amber Lehman is launching a Kickstarter program and has written a book called "Boy out of Bounds" about a Newport Beach boy struggling to admit he is gay, and the very real threat of being bullied.
Amber Lehman is launching a Kickstarter program and has… (DON LEACH, Daily…)

When Amber Lehman transferred schools to join her boyfriend, everyone knew something about him that she didn't.

He was gay.

Lehman, then 16, recalled a sense of bewilderment about her former beau, who exuded a "tough guy" vibe.

"I was surprised and a little shocked," Lehman said, "but mostly I was sad that he couldn't tell me himself."

The relationship petered out, and he disappeared, she added.

Along with effectively opening Lehman's eyes to the fact that things aren't always as they appear, her high school partner served as a catalyst for the Lake Forest resident's latest venture — "Boy Out of Bounds."

For the 40-year-old Lehman, the story of Phoenix, a Newport Beach teenager who is struggling to come to terms with his sexuality amid a fear of bullying, is personal.

In her early 20s, Lehman, who identifies as bisexual, witnessed her friends being harassed and roughed up. This predicament, constructed solely around her counterpart's sexuality, left deep scars.


"Phoenix is not being bullied himself, but he sees another person being bullied and feels miserable that he's doing nothing to help," Lehman said. "Standing on the sidelines and doing nothing about it makes a person as guilty as the one doing the terrorizing."

"Boy Out of Bounds," which Lehman said will probably run to about 200 pages, is currently under construction in a novel workshop class at Saddleback College.

Currently, Lehman is a few weeks shy of launching an $8,000 Kickstarter program to fund the publishing of her book. From June 1, people will have the option of sponsoring or donating various amounts of money to her venture. Each tier of contribution comes with its own awards, ranging from an electronic version of "Boy Out of Bounds" to a T-shirt and autographed copy of "Torn."

Amid keeping her fingers crossed for the initiative to go well, the author is hoping that LGBT youth centers will buy multiple copies and spread the novels around.

"If I can help even one teen by sharing the experiences my friends and I went through, by helping them not feel alone, then that makes it all worthwhile," said Lehman, who owns a publishing company, Closet Case Press. "Making a connection with someone through your stories is the most rewarding thing I can think of."

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