Friday, June 15, 2012

Guest Post: Twin Bred by Karen A. Wyle

I have the pleasure today to bring you a guest post from author Karen A. Wyle about her new sci fi book, Twin Bred

Can interspecies diplomacy begin in the womb?

In Twin-Bred, the human colony on Tofarn and the indigenous Tofa have great difficulty communicating with and basically comprehending each other. Scientist Mara Cadell, who lost a fraternal twin in utero, proposes that host mothers of either or both species carry twins, one human and one Tofa, in the hope that the bond between twins can bridge the gap between species. Mara has secretly kept her own twin, Levi, alive in her mind as a companion and collaborator.

Mara succeeds in obtaining governmental backing for her project – but both the human and Tofa establishments have their own agendas. Mara must shepherd the Twin-Bred through dangers she anticipated and others that even the canny Levi could not foresee. Will the Twin-Bred bring peace, war, or something else entirely?...

I asked Karen how she came up with the idea of for her book and what inspired her. Here is her answer:

When I decided, in late October 2010, to take part in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) that November, I needed a story to tell -- and I needed one in a hurry. As I sat down to come up with some book ideas, science fiction kept happening. At about the same time, I read an article about amazing interactions between twins in utero, captured on video. The researchers had found synchronized movement, touching, even kissing. Either the article or a comment on the article mentioned the traumatic, often devastating, impact on those whose twin -- identical or fraternal -- had died in utero or shortly after birth.

Straining this information through the science fiction filter in my mind, I imagined a scientist seeking to overcome the comprehension gap between two intelligent species by way of the bond between twins. It would be natural for the scientist who conceived this idea to be a twin. It would add emotional depth to the story if she were a twin survivor. And for added strangeness and interest, what if she had somehow kept her lost twin alive as a companion, who could be a character in the story? . . .

So far, so good. I had a starting point. What I didn't have, as I plunged into NaNoWriMo, was a plot, let alone an ending. What would happen to the Twin-Bred project? What sort of aliens were the Tofa, and how would the Twin-Bred Tofa differ from the rest? I also lacked characters. What sort of personality could Mara's dead twin have? Who else would step forward and become part of the story?

It didn't take me long to discover that Levi had plenty of personality, and none of it much like Mara's. Mara is blunt, driven, impatient, and socially isolated. Levi is cynical, clever, sly, sardonic; he would probably have enjoyed mingling with others in order to dissect them later on. What they share is a deep bond of affection. Levi is Mara's protector, where possible, as well as her companion.

Two host mothers -- humans who volunteered to carry Twin-Bred -- introduced themselves early on. Laura Hanson and Veda Seeling, childhood friends, are another unlikely pair. Laura is as straightforward as Mara, but warm and kind, with none of Mara's abrasiveness. Veda hides her vulnerabilities behind a highly polished exterior and patronizing demeanor.

When I started the story, it had no villains besides human nature and the inevitability of unintended consequences. Councilman Kimball emerged fairly late in the process, and I had to go back and put him where he belonged. I hope the reader will view him with understanding -- which is not to say I agree with the adage that to understand all is to forgive all.

As for the ending -- it took a while for me to find it out. Stories reveal themselves in their own time. But for an author, there's nothing like the thrill of that revelation, when it comes.

Thank you so much Karen for stopping by today and telling us all a little bit more about your book!



  1. What an interesting concept. I am always amazed to learn what goes into a book and how the story unfolds and this is no different. Thanks for sharing today.

  2. Thanks for stopping by Heidi! :)