How Difficult It Is To Break Free

Leslie Kain Author Interview

Secrets in the Mirror follow mirror twin brothers who grow up in an abusive environment and their effort to survive the life they are handed. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I know someone who has two daughters, close in age, who were always inseparable when they were young. But in their early 20s, the older daughter began demeaning & belittling her sister’s choices & life decisions, manipulating, and ultimately gaslighting to the point that the younger daughter had to break off relations in order to save her own well-being. This was very traumatic for her as well as for their parent, whose therapist concluded from communications that the older daughter had become narcissistic. And then there is a well-known political leader whose behavior and communications provide overwhelming evidence of narcissism, inflicting trauma and stress on the nation. I began to wonder how difficult it is to break free of a narcissist, and mused how much more difficult it would be for identical twins.

What were some of the trials that you felt were important to highlight the character’s development?

“Trials”? Do you mean what were the challenges & difficulties the main characters faced, which exemplified the central theme of the novel? Well, their father was raised in a tough macho mob-connected culture, and decided that his twins had to be tough. He anointed Devon to be the Best, the Winner, but gave no guidance or example of what that entailed, just to claim it & fake it. So Devon became a hollow narcissist. The father also decided that Gavin (the Main Character) was a “loser”, and that it was his job to take care of Devon, the ‘winner’. So Gavin grew up abused and uncertain of his own worth and Devon grew up in a charade, and used drink, drugs and risk-taking (mob) to fill the empty spot in him, while Gavin felt compelled to “save” his brother from his own worst instincts.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

  1. The expectations & demands of parents can be damaging to their children, especially in dysfunctional families.
  2. Dysfunction in families can be proliferated into multiple generations unless someone finally breaks the chain – which is difficult.
  3. At some point, you must make a choice between the imperative to save others versus the struggle to save yourself. You can’t save anyone until you save yourself.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m working on Gavin’s sequel. I didn’t think there would be a sequel, but he had other ideas, and came to me in a half-dream state, laying out the entire plot. So now he’s nagging me to write it. In it, he will have to return to Boston to “tie up loose ends” and be exposed to all the things that nearly destroyed him, things he thought he’d left behind. He will discover more secrets, he will be in danger, he will be triggered & react dysfunctionally. He will exhibit symptoms & behavior of CPTSD. His wife Katie — along with his old counselor Dr Pedersen and best friend Tray — will have to pull him back from the edge. Its themes will include how dysfunctional families can cause crippling CPTSD in their offspring, and how close friends can rally around and help save the damaged person.

I believe it will not likely be published until early 2024.

However, the audio version of ‘Secrets In The Mirror’ should be available this summer (2023).

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website | Instagram

Family. The same people who destroyed Gavin’s self-esteem are the ones he must save.
When Gavin looks in the mirror he sees his twin Devon ― literally. Yet like the mirror, inside they are the reverse of each other. Devon is the chosen one, anointed by their tough Mob-connected father, who demeans Gavin as a loser but expects him to save his brother from his worst instincts. Gavin struggles to believe in himself and make his own decisions in the face of Dad’s bullying and Devon’s narcissistic gaslighting. When Devon gets into drugs and crime, people start dying. Gavin flees far away to protect his hard-won selfhood and his new family. But he can’t escape his sociopathic brother, or the Mob. Yet inextricable bonds tie him to Devon, and Gavin vows to break the lethal chain of family dysfunction and rescue his twin from his self-destructive path. Can he save his brother before Devon destroys them both?

A dysfunctional family saga with psychological suspense, Secrets In The Mirror is the story of one family’s struggle to rise above the toxicity of multigenerational domestic abuse and crime. But Gavin is the one who must finally break the shackles of multigenerational and narcissistic abuse, despite inextricable bonds with a twin who’s headed for self-destruction. It is a tale that grapples with the imperative to save others versus the struggle to save oneself.

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on March 7, 2023, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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