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chapter one

With the transgressive thriller Inhaled, Montreal author Isabelle Duval shares her dark story of overcoming an abusive and dangerous relationship with a narcissist and sociopath.

What was the inspiration for this book?

Duval: I knew, as my relationship was sinking into the pit hole of abuse, that
I had to document the strangeness and cruelty of it all. I knew that what I was
experiencing was quite abnormal. So the inspiration for writing Inhaled was dictated by a state of mind
that had been literally taken hostage by manipulations, lies and gas lighting
but also by the abuser’s lack of conscience. To witness such absence of remorse
is quite compelling. My curiosity had been stoked. And it almost killed me.

I also
wrote to provide victims of narcissistic abuse a soundboard that validates
their pain and their reality. I wrote to tell them that they are not alone. I
wrote to educate as well. Narcissistic abuse is devastating to the spirit and
the soul and needs to be better understood.

What makes Inhaled different from other similarly themed books on the market?

I wrote
with a raw honesty that pulls the reader in. The glimpse into dysfunction,
depravity and denial that I offer is rare and confronts the reader head-on. How
can a smart woman like me not see, really see, what is going on?

What does writing this book at this time
mean to you?

I wrote
about abuse, about the power sex can have on a woman. I exposed myself fully.
This is naked and vulnerable writing at its best. Exposing myself like that is
somewhat frightening. But, it freed me from my demons. It proved that in the
end, I was stronger than the abuser. That I won.

How do the book’s themes address today’s
issues; what is the relevance for readers?

I think
that Inhaled highlights the dangers
of online dating. But more importantly it underscores the misogyny and the
sexism that is still rampant in our world today.

Why did you choose this title for the book?

I chose
to title my book Inhaled for the
simple reason that I felt swallowed whole by the experience, sucked into
someone else’s psyche, someone who wanted to fuse with me, insuring my

Why should people read Inhaled?

should read this book to understand that it could happen to anyone; to learn
the importance of listening to your intuition, your guts, your inner voice. Addiction
comes in many forms, but leaving such a relationship, while painful beyond
measure, is possible.