In the Mind of Revenge (The Shamed – 1) by Liv Hadden
Release: March 5, 2016
“Mine is a tale of pain, hate, lies, murder, injustice, vengeance, and love unreturned. It began much like yours; a hopeful innocent born to a world of endless possibilities. But my journey has rarely been paved with opportunities of light. Confronted by those who sought to eclipse what light I had found, the darkness came for me. Wrapped in its intoxicating embrace, I have risen from the dead to reclaim my dignity and the life that was taken from me. I have begun my journey into the mind of revenge. Revenge for me. Revenge for those like me. Those who are shamed.”
In the Mind of Revenge, book one of The Shamed Series, takes a deep look at how monsters are born. Set in a society that glorifies “normal” and demonizes different, this dark tale takes its readers on an emotionally wild ride of vengeance, murder, pain and desperation. Though the reader is warned by its main character, Shame, not to develop an attachment, the first person narrative combined with Shame’s uninhibited vulnerability makes it nearly impossible not to do so. Raw, vivid, honest, fast-paced and beautifully vulgar, In the Mind of Revenge is sure to have you emotionally twisted from beginning to end.
This is a story for the shamed, by the shamed. The question is, are you ready for it?
Praise for In the Mind of Revenge
“If a cat has nine lives, Shame has 29. Liv Hadden leaves us in the dark as to whether this character is a girl or a boy. As Shame often muses, why is gender that important? It’s reflecting on issues like gender that makes In the Mind of Revenge more than just a rather exciting read.” – Reader’s Favorite
“A somber revenge tale, but fronted by a protagonist both absorbing and sublimely complicated.” – Kirkus Reviews
“In the Mind of Revenge tackles hot-button social issues in a way that forces the reader to rethink the importance of what society deems as normal.” – Self-Publishing Review
“An absorbing crime story…” – Blue Ink Reviews
“MIND BLOWING! From the first sentence, “I am ugly.” to the last sentence, “I see you.” this book had me glues to the pages. I read this book in one night.”
“Fantastic roller coaster of a book. VERY visual. There were moments where I was too in the moment and felt as if I was truly there.”
“The ambiguity that surrounds the main character’s gender/sexuality is a welcome change. It allows you to get wrapped up in the character’s development.”
“It’s like Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Middle Sex. The gender ambiguity coupled with the vague use of personal pronouns was bold and executed masterfully.”
“What a relief it is to not have a completely heteronormative main character with a love interest for once, and to also have it executed so damn well. Shame’s identity is kept under wraps masterfully by the author and I almost hope she never reveals it.”
“This book sucked me in as soon as I opened it. I swung from feeling pity and heartache for Shame, to hating the character, and back again. After whipping through it in under a week, I can honestly say the novel didn’t disappoint in the least–my main problem is desperately wanting the second and third installments in the trilogy to be written NOW so I can read them!’
Debut novelist Liv Hadden has been writing ever since she was a little girl. But, it wasn’t until 5th grade when her teacher said she’d one day write a book that she started taking it seriously.
Her Shamed series began in college, when Hadden employed her writing as an outlet for her feelings during a serious bout of depression. After a brief, yet impactful first night of writing, she dreamt of a shadowy figure, tormented and demonized by their own mind and realized this was the shadow of pain that hurting people everywhere felt.
She woke from her dream feeling more energized that she had in months, picked up her computer and began to write. “I felt if ever there was a story inside me and a character worth taking the leap, it was Shame and this story,” says Hadden. “This one in particular is personal in nature, and perhaps the very reason it’s so close to my heart.”
Hadden has her roots in Burlington, Vermont and has lived in upstate New York and Oklahoma, where she went to college at the University of Oklahoma,, and earned her degree in Environmental Sustainability Planning & Management. She now resides in Austin, TX with her husband and two dogs, Madison and Samuel and is an active member of the Writer’s League of Texas.
Incredibly inspired by artistic expression, Hadden immerses herself in creative endeavors on a daily basis. She finds great joy in getting lost in writing and seeing others fully express themselves through their greatest artistic passions, like music, body art, dance and photography. “I get chills when I have the great privilege of seeing someone express their authentic selves,” says Hadden. “I believe it gives us a true glimpse into the souls of others.
Q&A with Author Liv Hadden
What inspired you to write In The Mind of Revenge and The Shamed series?
The tale of this story in particular is personal in nature, and perhaps the very reason it’s so close to my heart. When I was a senior in college, I experienced my first serious bout of depression. I didn’t entirely recognize it at the time, most likely due to self-medicating with alcohol. I called it partying; I was in college, so I was allowed to. I can’t tell you how many times that year I looked myself in the mirror and didn’t recognize me, at all. Not one inch.
I was almost 200lbs, had pushed away all my friends, could not get a job in my chosen field (environmental sustainability) and had absolutely no sense of who I was or who I wanted to be. One drunk night I decided I would write how I was feeling. It started with, “I am ugly.” I wrote about a paragraph, then went to sleep. That night I dreamt of a dark shadowy figure, one tormented and demonized by their own mind. This figure began to take shape, and at first I thought it was a shadow version of myself. Then, I understood it wasn’t just me. It was everyone.
This shadow was all the pain of everyone who was hurting. It was lonely, scared and ashamed. The next morning, I woke up feeling way more energized than I had in months, so I picked up my computer and started writing. I wrote anytime I was feeling lost, crappy, bored, horny…didn’t matter the feeling, if I felt compelled to write, I would.
I felt if ever there was a story inside me and a character worth taking the leap, it was Shame and this story. After years of writing, I really sat down and applied the story to paper. Three months of hard work later, I had a complete manuscript, and here we are now. It’s surreal and exciting!
You hit your readers hard with some pretty shocking topics. What do you think they’ll find the most surprising about In the Mind of Revenge?
I think the blunt nature of the writing will be jarring and/or refreshing, depending on who the reader is. I’d like to think the most surprising thing will be the lack of certainty of the gender of the character, ultimately leading to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter. Because it doesn’t!
Tell us about Shame and how you utilize your main character to drive home your message.
I chose to write the book in first person specifically so it would really be a dive into the mind of revenge. Because we have such an intimate, vulnerable look at the deepest, darkest places of Shame’s mind, it’s hard to decide from page to page whether you have hate or empathy for the character. I also created some contrast with the personalities Shame seems to draw in. They are very vocal, relatively clear on what they want/who they are, and are “good” (relatively speaking). Shame lacks self-awareness and the entire book is seen through this tunnel vision that I think speaks to the idea that A. revenge isn’t simple, gratifying or worth it and B. the pain and hurt Shame feels can only be healed when Shame is ready to address it and really see things from the inside out.
Does any of the book come from personal experience?
There are definitely bits & pieces of the story that are inspired by things I have experienced. I find that true of all my writing. However, I was never bullied the way Shame was, nor have I ever been on a bloody, self-destructive vengeance rampage. Four of the primary female characters (Cassie, Anna, Margaret & Sawyer) are named after my cousins, though their likenesses were not used.
Did you have to do any special research for your book?
I didn’t have to do much. A lot was inspired by the surge of bullying related suicides and school shootings since I was in elementary school. I grew up in a time where hearing of mass shootings was just “part of the nightly news”. It makes me sick, and I used my writing as an outlet for my anger, sadness and despair about my lack of ability to do much to change things. These are realities I grew up with, so the research was just living.
That’s an incredible motivation, and what a cool way to turn your frustrations into such a thrilling book! It’s shocking how things like that have really become ‘the norm’.
The thing that surprises me the most is that we (U.S. citizens) are STILL victim shaming. We still maintain it’s the woman’s fault for wearing that skirt, or the young gay boy’s fault for being on social media, or the transgender girl’s fault for not waiting until she graduated.
They’re issues that affect everyone there, so your book really appeals to anyone, of any age – especially given the vagueness of Shame’s gender.
I believe a reader’s experience is very personal to them, so I think my story is unique by supplying a genderless, ethnicity ambiguous character. Anyone can put themselves in this person’s shoes. I also think a lot of the issues surrounding bullying, gender fluidity and sexuality in the book are very relevant to today’s society and topics that need to be highlighted until they aren’t even topics anymore.
Since this is part of a series, did you craft parts of In the Mind of Revenge with other pieces of future books in the series? If so – what were they?
Yes and no. When I sit down to write, I just kind of let things happen. Once they’re written, I then create possibilities. So, I keep the future in the mind, but don’t craft a storyline based on where I think it’s going. I let it take me where it needs to go.
Sometimes, I have had an idea and it went in a totally different direction. I did leave several story details open purposefully: 1. To create the tunnel vision storyline of being in the mind of revenge and 2. Leave a lot of places for Shame to explore. For example, Shame hasn’t been paying attention to body changes outside of the current situation. In one part of the book, Shame is shot, but then we never hear about it again. Weird. How could someone be shot and forget about it? We’ll have to wait & see…
Can you tell us what readers can expect in book two, From the Mouth of Decay?
I am introducing a new narrator, so the story will come from two perspectives instead of one. We’ll learn more about what really happened to Shame the night of the attack, the results of the experimental surgery, and will also uncover more about Cassie and the life she has been living.
Instead of being so wrapped up in Shame’s world, we are going to start to see what’s happening at large because Shame is starting to see that. It’s a new awakening within Shame that causes the character to emerge from the small, clouded world of hate and regain pieces of the soul that used to be.
Check out an excerpt from the audiobook here.
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I was lucky enough to be invited to be part of this tour from Sami at Roger Charlie. I should have a review of the audiobook shortly.