Please help us welcome new "Indie Author" P.T. Denys who brings us Violence Begets..., previously published for Kindle and brand new to paperback with Indie Artist Press. P. T. recently took reader questions as part of a blog tour to celebrate the launch of the paperback for this beautiful novel and shares some previously unpublished responses exclusively with us. So, please, read, enjoy and don't forget to check out Violence Begets... on our website at Indie Artist Press, where you can order with your Amazon account!
Last week, I asked for questions from readers on Facebook for a post on Fangirl and My Two Cents. Well, I got more than I bargained for and had to split the post into two. This is the 2nd post and it’s a bit longer than the first (sorry about that – you had some great questions). BTW - I didn’t run this through my editor and I suck at grammar – please turn a blind eye!
Okay, so to answer your questions:
Why doesn't Kevin and/or Rick call the police and report their abuse? Or, at the very least, run away from it? This alwaaaaays haunts me when I hear about these tragedies. Diane Chadek
Man, this is a GREAT question and one that lot of readers have asked. So much so, that is the latest release I added some additional content to try to provide a bit of an explanation. However, I could write pages on the psychology, emotional manipulation, and societal elements that kept these two in their homes (when so many kids do actually run away). Like most kids in situations like this, there isn’t one reason they choose to stay or go – there are a variety of factors at work.
First, some kids don’t run away from abusive homes because that’s all they know. It’s the same reason many people stay in abusive relationships as adults (they were often abused as kids as well). There are a lot of things at play here, the idea of the “devil you know versus the devil you don’t” – foster care, the streets, etc. can be a scary place, even worse than home. There is also the trust factor, kids are brought up to trust and love the adults in their lives, so when the adult hurts them, yes, they may recognize it’s wrong but often, they still love their abuser. How many of us have super unhealthy relationships with our parents (or even people in our lives) but still seek their love and approval? It’s even more so for children who are dependent on that caregiver for basic human needs (food, shelter, etc.).
Moving onto Rick and Kevin - specifically Rick. The abuse for Rick just started. Yes, there was emotional abuse and neglect (which was just as damaging) all along but he had Jason (his older brother) as a safe haven. By the time the physical abuse started with his dad, there were 16 years of trust and routine that he had working against him. Not to mention, since his home life hadn’t been horrific growing up, he still loved his dad and he wouldn’t tell anyone because he really didn’t want to get his dad in trouble. And we shouldn’t forget his little sister – ripping apart his family by reporting the abuse would have hurt Emma as well. Now, had Kevin asked him to run away, Rick wouldn’t have hesitated, but in this situation, he was following Kevin’s lead.
Kevin is a whole different story. His father was not just an abuser (like Rick’s dad). As Kevin figured out, his father was a sociopath, so the playing field was different and Kevin was smart enough to recognize that threat. First, the system and trusted adults had already failed him so he wasn’t about to try that again. Second, he knew his father was smart enough to track him down and use every available resource to do so. If he ran away as a minor, his father would enlist the police and authorities to track down his missing son. No doubt, his father would spin a tail of the grieving father, maybe even involve the media in his search for his possibly abducted son. Now, if Kevin was 18, his father wouldn’t be able to play the minor card and maybe not so much the grieving father of a kidnapped victim – it was simply one less tool he could use to track Kevin down. Sure, his father could still spin things, it was just less likely and that is what Kevin was banking on. Third, again, Kevin knew he had to play all his cards right to increase his chances of escape. He planned out everything, money, name changes, new identification, etc. These things all took time to put into place.
So in short, had Rick been alone, he may not have made the move just because the abuse was so new. But he absolutely wouldn’t do anything without Kevin. And Kevin was just trying to stack the deck for the best possible outcome. He knew the risk and he wanted to put into place as many pieces as he could before making the move.
Hope that clears up some of the motivations and reasons why they stayed.
What influenced you to write Kevin in the manner you did, what was your influence? Sharlotte Otteson
Kevin started out as a fairly flat but mean secondary character. He was a bully and that was about it. However, as time went on Kevin pushed to the front of the stage because he had a story to tell. Yes, he was an asshole but there was a reason.
The inspiration for his story came from a real experience in my life. I had a Kevin in my life – someone who was a bully and I also found out there was abuse in that person’s home. It certainly wasn’t as severe as Kevin’s situation but it sparked in me the realization that everyone has a story. A majority of people aren’t born mean - they are taught hate, violence and pain.
Most people really don’t like Kevin at the beginning. I even had one person tell me she quit reading the book because she hated Kevin so much. But, Kevin tends to win over the hearts of most once you take the time to get to know him….could this possibly be true for people in our own lives? Are there people you can’t stand? Do you know their story? Do you know why they behave he way they do? Maybe you should try to get to know them….you never know.
For Rick, in the sequel, are you open to finding love with a new character (how is that possible after Kevin)? Cassie Shepherd
Ouch. That’s a really hard question. My heart still belongs only to Kevin. I can’t even begin to picture a situation where anyone could compete with the love I have for him. He came into my life and saved me, taught me what love was and that love has been present in my life every day since. In short, at this time, no – I am not open to loving anyone other than Kevin. But, I do know Kevin would stop at nothing to ensure my wellbeing and we all know, when Kevin wants something – well, he gets it.
For Kevin – looking back, is there anything you would’ve done differently (other than the ending)? Sharlotte Otteson
What kind of fucking question is that? You have to be kidding, right? Is there anything I’d change – did you even read the fucking book? Do I strike you as a guy who regrets the shit he does? Fuck no!
Okay, we know Kevin can be a bit abrasive and he’s not likely to admit to all of you where his shortcomings are. Sorry about that! J But I feel like I know him pretty well - I think he has a lot of regrets. He was in survival mode most of the book and all he really knew in his life was violence – so that is what he put out to the world. Rick showed him a different way and through that he was able to see how many people he’d hurt along the way – even if he wasn’t ready to admit all that. Of course, what he did to Charlie (the gay guy he beat up) haunted him even in the book. But had we gotten the chance to spend more time with Kevin, I think we would have seen his past actions haunting him more and more.
But, there is some truth to what he said above – regrets don’t change the past, they only keep us there. If we can forget regret (our past is what makes us who we are) and learn from our mistakes to be better people – I think that is what Kevin would do. He’s not going to waste his time regretting things he can’t change but I think he would take the time to learn, heal and change going forward.
That’s all folk! Thanks for checking in and I’m happy to answer any additional questions you all may have – just email me at ChooseLove@PTDenys.com. Make sure to check out Cinderella Stories on Friday for the next stop in our tour.
Autographed copies of Violence Begets… are available through P.T. Deny’s website.