Ever since I was child I have been fascinated by twins. All the way through primary school I wished I had a twin brother. Maybe he was the embodiment of all the things I wanted and knew I should not be. A boy, remember this was some time ago, could be more adventurous, take risks, be naughty and wasn’t, or so I believed, as much constrained by parental expectations as a girl.
Not being born a twin, I made up stories which featured them and it is a theme that still runs through my work. In “Bridge of Lies” the balloon girls, Sonia and Bronia are twins and another pair feature in “Island of Fear” the next book in the series.
In both those cases the twins are not the main characters. In “Belvedere Crescent” the relationship between Thea and Sadie is pivotal as it is the connection between them that drives the plot. Not only are the sisters twins but they are identical, which means of course that they share the same DNA.
Thea and Sadie look alike, “We had the same pale skin, dark hair and eyes, but she was thinner, deliberately waiflike, her hair cut short while mine tumbled to my shoulders.”
They can also communicate on a subliminal level. However as they grow older “the subtle differences between us became more obvious.”
This apparently is not uncommon. What I discovered in my research was that there are more differences than I had thought between people who had begun life as one entity. For example, while some identical twins shared each other’s thoughts and feelings, even suffering pain for one another, as when one twin was in labour and the other felt the contractions, not all twins had this ability. In the same way, some mirrored each other’s lives: marrying similar men, having the same number of children, doing the same sort of job, but again this was not universal. Circumstances, it appeared, influenced genetic outcomes, so that one twin could be depressive, the other not.
In the novel, Thea and Sadie are very different people, with their own talents and views on life. Abandoned as babies and brought up by a great-aunt, who has no real interest in children, their childhood is not easy, but they have each other for support. That is until tragedy strikes…
In spite of years of thinking and writing about the twin phenomenon, I can’t claim any expertise in the subject. So thank you to Natasha Molloy, my sort of daughter-in-law for her help and advice and for letting me use the photograph or her and her sister.