Welcome to our Author Interview series.
Today we're featuring an interview with L.J. Kaufman, author of It's Never a Secret. Our author interview series provides an opportunity for our readers to get to know our authors on a deeper level and also learn more about the types of books we're publishing.
L.J. Kaufman is a Midwestern native. She earned a B.A. degree in Political Science and a Juris Doctorate degree. She also is an adjunct professor of law and political science. Her legal career embodied the philosophy of giving a voice to the disenfranchised by informing the public and getting people involved in finding answers. Her family, cooking, opera and her snarky rescue dog, who is the boss, make each day safe and rewarding. This is her first novel.
Synopsis: It's Never a Secret
Have you ever wondered why an educated, successful woman would steadfastly stand by her abusive husband? Get into the mind of Erica Reinhardt, abuse victim, as her husband, Neil, skillfully destabilizes her. Trapped in an abuse cycle, she blames herself for his cruelty. When the abuse escalates physically, shame and fear strangle Erica.
Instead of using her strengths to extricate herself from the danger, she tries to build an impregnable wall around her secret of abuse. She is only fooling herself because abuse is never a secret. Her friends desperately try to force Erica to face the truth of her precarious situation, but she ferociously clings to the illusion of her perfect family. Her inability, or unwillingness, to accept the dangerous situation leads to unforeseen consequences so damning that her life is derailed and permanently damaged.
However, hope and loyalty can be present even with heartbreak and fear. No matter how entwined Erica becomes in Neil’s web of deceit, her friends stand at her side as she stumbles. Erica learns that recovery, or even revenge, cannot occur until she acknowledges the problem. Admitting that one’s life is built on lies is possible.
Describe It's Never A Secret.
Abuse, especially domestic abuse, conjures up strong emotions. My novel allows the reader to see how the abuse may be subtle and insidious. Not all abuse is physical. More importantly, the reader may obtain a glimmer of understanding and empathy why a victim stays. My novel is a unique means to open a discussion about domestic abuse in a more non-personal means. From an outsider’s view, the behaviors may be clear, and the victim needs to run. When the victim stays, the reader may experience frustration and confusion.
Who is you favorite character in your book and why?
Surprisingly, my favorite character is Neil Reinhardt, the anti-hero. His vacillating abusive behavior is the vehicle that drives the story because it both showcases varying abuse techniques in a cycle of cruelty and forgiveness and allows the reader to feel the pain and disorientation of the victim.
How did you name your characters?
Naming the characters is much more difficult than I imaged. The first names where selected by popularity for the age of the character. Reinhardt was chosen because it means good counsel. Winters was chosen because this season may be harsh and cold or mild and exhilarating. Mensch was selected because it means good person.
Without giving away details, Can you describe one interesting scene in your book in less than two sentences?
Erica must decide if lethal force is the only way to escape Neil.
In two sentences or less can you tell readers something unique about your book? Because the book is written through the eyes of Erica, the reader only learns the truth as Erica does.
Would you ever consider converting one of you stories/published books into a screenplay? And if you could corroborate with someone, who would it be?
My story would make an excellent screenplay because the characters are relevant and complex, and the book is rich with dialogue.
Where do you find your ideas? Does something trigger them? Do you carry around a notebook in case inspiration strikes?
I am inspired by social issues that need a voice. Education is a cornerstone to change. I write notes with ideas in books, scraps of paper, almost anywhere.
What is your favorite food? Do you have a favorite restaurant you’d recommend if we ever visit your city?
My favorite foods are home cooked with fresh and organic ingredients. I am a huge proponent of using spices for a layering of flavors.
Does your family support you in your writing career? How?
My family absolutely supports my writing career. In fact, my mother read every word through the long and twisted path to publication.
Have you ever sat and just watched the people go by?
People watching is a critical skill for a writer. I am observant as to attire, demeanor, mannerisms and dialogue.