CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – A new book by 23-year-old Clarksburg native Kara Lindaburg was recently published by Monarch Educational Services. “A Study in Terminal” is a fictional YA novel that follows 19-year-old Sean Brogan as he copes with his mother’s passing. Set in a fictional town in West Virginia, the book tackles tough subjects like mental health and suicide. The book received a five-star review from Reader’s Favorite, a free book reviewing site, and a Silver Star from Literary Titan, a paid indie book reviewing site.

Lindaburg sat down with WBOY to discuss the inspiration behind her book.

Q: So, tell me about your book.

A: So, my book is about a 19-year-old guy who rides into a fictional town here in West Virginia, and basically, his past is catching up with him. It’s also the anniversary of his mom’s death, so he’s trying to figure out if life is worth living, and how to find hope in that. He’s just trying to figure life out. It’s about suicide, but it’s about life, too.

“A Study in Terminal” was written by West Virginia native Kara Lindaburg.

Q: Yeah, so tell me about how you came up with the idea for the story.

A: I’ve had different personal experiences with suicide, and there’s so many people out there who don’t have hope and there is so much not giving them hope right now, with COVID and all that. No one has any hope. So that’s what I wanted to write–especially for teenagers, because that’s when I was struggling with suicidal thoughts–when I was in high school. And then my grandmother, her brother died from suicide. So it was all this different stuff that I was seeing, feeling personally, and that’s how I thought, this is what I want to do, is I want to write a story that gives people who’ve been in my place and my grandmother’s place hope. That’s how it all started.

Q: So I know it’s not uncommon for writers to take on a new point of view, perspective. I was curious why you chose to write from the male perspective instead of having a female lead.

A: There’s not a lot of books that are from the male point of view, and also, I’ve always gotten along with guys–sometimes better than girls. I don’t know why. Every time I sit down to write, it’s from the guy’s point of view. It just comes out, but also, when it comes to suicide and mental health, guys have a hard time speaking about that because of the whole macho man thing where they don’t want to talk about their emotions. So that was another reason.

Q: Yeah, I feel like that was a big theme of the story.

A: Yeah, exactly, and culture doesn’t allow them to talk about it. They’re not supposed to cry and stuff like that. So, I wanted to show how it’s okay to have emotion. It’s okay to have these thoughts, but there’s also hope. I want people to also see that you need to come alongside people who are struggling and continue to come alongside them, because it’s not just a one-time thing. It’s continually, and that’s how you’re able to make a difference in people’s lives continually coming beside them.

I enjoyed actually getting to know them. That was so much fun for me, to just sit down and talk with them and be their friend, basically. Because some of these kids didn’t have people in their lives, so it was a privilege to be able to be that friend for them.

Kara Lindaburg on working with at-risk youth

Q: So when you were sitting down to write this, did you have an audience in mind? Did you imagine a certain type of person reading your book?

A: I imagined teenagers, especially in this area, ’cause I worked with at risk youth, and I saw teenagers who are feeling like there’s no reason to live, like they’re stuck, and maybe they’re not living with their actual parents. They’re in foster care, or they don’t have a dad in their lives, and they just feel like there’s no hope. Because I would talk to these kids, and they would be like, “I’m stuck here. This is my life, and I’m never going to get out,” so when I was writing, I was writing for them.

Q: Can you tell me a little bit more about your experience working with at-risk youth?

A: I worked right out of high school, so I worked with the summer parks program here in West Milford, and I just really enjoyed hearing the kids’ stories and coming alongside them, so even though it was just a summer after-school program, I enjoyed actually getting to know them. That was so much fun for me to just sit down and talk with them and be their friend basically. Because some of these kids didn’t have people in their lives, so it was a privilege to be able to be that friend for them and to try to give them a little bit of hope. Just a little bit, if I could.

Q: So this book was kind of inspired by that experience as well?

A: Yeah exactly, for sure. Between that and, like I said, personal experiences with suicide. Basically, I got A Study in Terminal from life experiences.

Kara Lindaburg, local author, sat down with WBOY to talk about “A Study in Terminal”

Q: Yeah, so was it an easy book to write or did you struggle?

A: No, no it was not an easy book to write at all. I, so badly, wanted to honor people who are struggling with suicide or have had family members die because I didn’t want to make it sound like, oh, this is an easy thing to get over, and I was constantly thinking, how can I realistically portray someone who has either had someone die from suicide in their life or is thinking of committing suicide themselves?

I wanted to figure out how to realistically portray it, but at the same time, it was hard because–you know how you have these books and movies come out, and it’s so graphic. I didn’t want to do that. I didn’t want someone to be triggered when they sat down to read it if they had a family member die from suicide or were struggling with it themselves. So I wanted to do it with grace and to honor them, and so that was constantly in the back of my mind, being afraid that I’m not going to be able to do that. That was a constant fear for me.

Q: Right, so what were some of the things that you did to make sure that you were down that track, or what was your strategy?

A: I didn’t want any profanity. I didn’t want to have sex scenes and all that in my book, and that’s what my publisher is all about. She wants clean fiction, so that way we can have a wide audience, and we’re not going to inhibit someone from wanting to read our books. So basically, it was just those two elements combined, and I didn’t want to have a lot of gore or trigger anybody.

I try to go on social media a lot and see what other people are reading and what puts people against certain books. Like, I have friends who are Christians, friends who aren’t Christians and just see–why aren’t they reading certain books? Why are they reading certain books? And try to gather all that when I’m writing.

Q: I know you’ve written some fantasy novels before. How is writing this story different than that?

A: Well, it’s real for one thing, so I can’t just like make something up as I’m going along. I have to be realistic, and that was really hard for me, too. I’m not in a gang, I’m not a guy, so all that stuff was really difficult, so there was a lot more research involved than I thought it would because with fantasy, it might not be real, but it’s fine. People skip over that because it’s a fantasy world, but with this, I wanted to be as realistic as possible. I wanted Sean to be realistic.

I wanted people here in West Virginia to be able to read his story and be like, okay, I can identify with some elements of him. I can see this actually being a real person and that was like the biggest thing for me is constantly researching and asking people and doing a lot of research.

Q: What’s next for you?

A: I want to keep writing. I want to continue with Sean story. I just want to keep writing young adult ’cause I love the genre, and I want to continue to be able to inspire people if I can. Even if it’s just one person. I would love to see myself being a New York Times bestseller—that would be super cool, but at the same time, even the small connections that I’ve made through writing A Study in Terminal have been really incredible. So, I just want to continue writing and see where it takes me.

Q: Alright, is there anything else that I didn’t ask that you think people should know?

A: Just that there’s hope. I just want people to know that they’re not stuck and it feels like you’re stuck, but your feelings don’t define you. And that’s what I really want people to know and to know they can get out of where they feel stuck.

“A Study in Terminal” is available in hardcover and paperback at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Books A Million. E-book options are listed here.