Courtesy of Ken Bagnis
An accomplished musician and practicing psychotherapist, Ken Bagnis
, who fronted the Cleveland band Pretty Vacant, has played in rock bands since his early youth. Now the director of treatment for the Anne Sippi Clinic, Bagnis treats people with histories of severe and persistent mental illness symptoms.
Following up his critically acclaimed first novel, Mind Riot
, his new novel, Break
, "takes readers on a Bonnie and Clyde-style escape across the American Southwest with Trey and Pearl, two teenage escapees from a Los Angeles mental institution, and the young girl they may have unintentionally kidnapped. Compared to Mind Riot
is less small-town summer, more adventure-on-the-go, and 100 percent not enough snacks."
The novel centers on a 17-year-old who has lost everything. Things have gotten so bad that's become difficult for him to distinguish fact from fantasy.
“With my debut novel, Mind Riot
, I explored what it was like for a kid developing his understanding of mental illness as sort of an outsider looking in,” Bagnis says in a press release about the tome. “A naïve introvert being introduced to a dramatic world you might only see in the movies, he dives headfirst into some precarious waters and must figure out a way to keep afloat. With Break
, I wanted to take that idea to the next, more challenging level. I flip the story and increase the risks a thousand times over. We’re introduced to a kid with developing — sometimes terrifying — symptoms trying to interact with the 'real' world. I wondered, how would this kid cope with not being able to tell the difference between reality and fantasy? How would he connect and accept friendship? The pages of Break
reveal that reality is only half the story.”
will be available online and in select bookstores on Aug. 30.