What if the only friend you have isn’t real?
When the voices in his head begin to make sense, high school senior Branson Kovac turns to the one friend he’s still got… only to discover he’s not really there.
Targeted Age Group:: Young Adult and Up
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
“A Divided Mind,” started with a phone call. It was the day before a major college kickoff event I had helped plan for more than a year. I was crazily finalizing last-minute details when my son, Kyle, called saying he needed to talk. I still remember my exasperation from being bothered at work. What? What could it be now? With four children to support, I was finally getting my boots on the ground as an adjunct professor. My placement on the planning committee was a huge step forward in my career. An interruption at work meant a disruption in what I was trying to build.
When I pressed Kyle for an answer, he started to back away from the conversation. That's when I knew. I knew it was more than a phone call. And suddenly, I couldn't breathe or stop my mind from racing – pregnant girlfriend, drugs, failing a class? What I heard in reply wasn't at all what I expected.
“I’m hearing voices.”
I didn't understand what was happening to my son. I only knew I wanted it to go away. The campus event no longer mattered. In trying to build "something," I let what truly matters – family, children, home life – break down. As I sat in the waiting room at the counseling center while Kyle saw an emergency intake specialist, my only focus was on my little boy.
At, 6'1 my 18-year-old was far from little. He was my gentle giant, my brave heart. Together we navigated the world of mental health without any clue what was ahead. During this time, the journalist in me surfaced. I asked a lot of questions, which I wasn't always sure I wanted to know the answer.
By delving into the darkness, Kyle shared with me demons I never knew he battled. It was heartbreaking and heroic. The story we lived became the story we told – with a twist. What started as a quest for answers turned into, “A Divided Mind,” a fictionalized, chilling story of what could happen if a divided mind was left untreated.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
"A Divided Mind" was one of those books that wrote itself along with the characters, their names, personalities and motives.
“SO, Branson, tell me why you’re here.”
What do you mean, why am I here? You know why I’m
here. Because I’m fucked up. I blacked out in school and
came to with bloody knuckles.
I rested my left foot over my right thigh, leaned back in
my chair, and said, “I’m just going through some stuf
“You want to be more specific?”
This therapist had to be in his fifties. No hair. Over‐
weight. Heart attack waiting to happen. And his clothes
weren’t right for a high school counselor. Way too formal.
Along with his name. Clive? Oh brother.
I pulled on a loose thread on my frayed, faded jeans and
looked at him without emotion. “I don’t feel what other
“Can you give me an example?”
“I don’t feel happiness, excitement. Basic emotions that
make you happy. They’re gone.”
His face was surrounded by white-painted bricks, like everything in the high school. But even if they dismantled the school brick by brick, as the construction crews outside were loudly and disruptively doing daily in the school’s grand remodeling scheme, it wouldn’t change the structure. Some institutions couldn’t be updated because they’d always be filled with memories of the people who have come through the hallways.
“Well—” Clive paused like he was carefully considering
something. “The emergency intake counselor had it spot-on
with depression.” This time he leaned forward and the
confusion on his face was there before he said, “I’m just
surprised she diagnosed you with post-traumatic stress
Fucking awesome. I shifted in the uncomfortable side
chair in his offce and glanced at the framed picture of some
Asian girl on his desk. Probably his daughter. Adopted? Or
maybe his wife’s Asian?
“Is there any reason why you think you have post-trau‐
matic stress disorder?”
“At a very young age, I was exposed to violence in my
house by my father.” The response was instinctive. My past
was part of my identity. I wore it the same way I wore
number eighteen on my track speed suit, had for as long as I can remember. “But,” I broke script, “since it happened so
long ago, I doubt that's the case. I don’t think it’s PTSD.”
“Then what do you think it is?”
I hate questions. You’re the therapist. You should already
know the answer. “I’m not sure.”
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