I continue with the Author Interviews with Author Karen A. Wyle author of Twin-Bred.
What inspired you to write Twin-Bred?
After decades of reading science fiction, I tend to filter most new information through a science fiction lens. I somehow found an article about “womb twin survivors” — people who had been twins in utero, but lost their twin shortly before or after birth. The article described the significant trauma and enduring sense of loss felt by the surviving twins. That set me thinking about the bond between twins in general — and about what sort of gulfs that bond might be able to bridge, such as the fundamental comprehension gap between two sentient species. And who better to believe in such an attempt than a womb twin survivor?
Is there any significance to the name/names of your main characters?
The name “Mara Cadell” started with the initials MC, for Main Character. I decided those initials were as good a starting point as any. “Mara” means “bitter,” according to several websites, and that meaning seemed appropriate — as does “battle,” one meaning of “Cadell.”
Similarly, “Levi Thomas” started with the initials LT for Lost Twin. “Thomas” apparently means “twin.” As best I can recall, I chose Levi because (a) I liked the sound, (b) I envisioned Mara as Jewish, and (c) it may mean “joined.”
During the writing process did you find yourself thinking about any of your own memories?
I probably remembered more about my previous attempts to write fiction than about anything connected to the story. I wrote my first novel, if one defines “novel” somewhat generously, at the age of ten. It consisted of 200 handwritten (penciled) pages, in approximately 100 chapters. A second effort stalled after about forty pages, and while I wrote a couple of short stories for a class in college, I had not attempted a novel for some decades before deciding to give National Novel Writing Month a whirl in 2010.
What were some of your favorite books growing up?
In no particular order, either of importance or chronology, and leaving many out: J.R.R. Tolkein’s The Lord of the Rings; C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia; A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle; The Ship That Flew by Hilda Lewis; Walter Farley’s Black Stallion series; and The Secret Garden and A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
Do you hear from fans of the book, and if you do what do they say?
I have a Google Alert for “Twin-Bred,” and check Amazon and Goodreads now and then for new reviews. I’ve also solicited reviews from many book bloggers, some of whom have added extra comments when they provided a link to the review.
I’ve had very few outright negative reactions to the book. Some readers love it; some like it with reservations, often reservations I share.
What was the feeling like when you saw the very first printed version of your book?
It was a thrill — a high. Since I’d self-published, there was not the sense of vindication that one might get on first sight of a traditionally published book — but it was nonetheless delightful.
Do you continue to write?
Indeed I do!
Since Twin-Bred came out, I’ve published the novel Wander Home, a family drama with mystery and romance elements, set in a re-imagined afterlife. I subsequently published the short story “The Library,” set in the same afterlife and featuring one of the same characters. Just last week (as I write this), I published Reach: a Twin-Bred novel, the sequel to Twin-Bred. I have published one SF story dealing with human cloning, “The Baby” — and the novel coming next October, Division, deals with that subject in a very different context.
What is the message you are want people to take away from the book?
I didn’t write Twin-Bred to push any message, but I hope people finish the book feeling some mixture of affection, compassion and hope — for the fictional folks in the story, irrational as that may be, and for all of us flawed sentient beings who fumble and strive.
If you could envision a future for your main character, what would it be?
Well, I’ve written the next bit of it, in the sequel! I can’t say much about that without spoilers where Twin-Bred itself is concerned. I will toss out a few teasers:
–not all the action takes place on Tofarn;
–some secondary characters are more important this time around; and
–a Tofa gets pregnant!
Who are those in the dedication of the book, and their importance to you?
“To my family” speaks for itself.
The Office of Letters and Light runs National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo or Nano for short). In this annual online event, folks all over the world undertake to write a (very) rough draft of a novel, at least 50,000 words long, entirely within the month of November. (There are offshoots such as “Camp Nano” that take place at other times of the year.)
NaNoWriMo helped me return not just to a childhood ambition, but to a childhood identity. I believed for the first part of my life that I was meant to be an author. Now I can believe it once again.
The + 1 Question:
If you had any one place in the world you could travel to for a book tour, where would that place be, and why?
I have a cousin in Scotland whom I haven’t seen in many years. I’d love to go to Edinburgh, take in the architecture, and hope my cousin could come meet me there.