The Big Idea: Caitlin Starling

Some people prefer the company of “me, myself, and I”. Would that still be true if there were actual copies of yourself you could hang out with? Author Caitlin Starling brings us a new take on doppelgangers in her newest novel, The Last One to Leave the Room. Follow along in her Big Idea as she tells us how to truly face yourself.


Do you trust yourself?

Are you a good person? Do you know how you’d act in an emergency? How well do you know yourself: your limits, your desires, your fears? If you met yourself on the street, would you be excited–or terrified?

Doppelganger stories traditionally run like this: the menacing double is a distillation of the worst traits the protagonist has otherwise hidden from society, and there isn’t enough room for both to exist – either the original or the double has to die. Importantly, a doppelganger story requires contrast between the double and the original. There’s a wound to be explored through the protagonist’s struggle to be the last one standing, festering with shame or fear.

But what if your protagonist is fully aware of their flaws? What if they feel no shame? The protagonist of Last to Leave the Room is, to put it bluntly, a bitch. Dr. Tamsin Rivers is ambitious, antagonistic, arrogant, amoral– and at the top of her game. She enters the scene fully in control, and she knows exactly what she’s capable of. A predatory doppelganger, aggressive from the start, was the least worrying option I could imagine. So I gave her the exact opposite…

Find out more at: The Big Idea: Caitlin Starling

The Last to Leave the Room:  Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Bookshop|Powell’s

Author’s socials: Website|Instagram|Bluesky

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