Twin Truths by Shelan Rodger : Review
A psychological suspense drama with a double twist ........
Like many twins, Jenny and Pippa often know what the other is thinking. They complete each other’s sentences. In fact, in many ways they complete each other. So what happens when one of them disappears? Vividly set in Argentina, Greece and the UK, and strong on absorbing characters and shocking incident, Twin Truths is a powerful and beautifully written meditation on identity and the impact of trauma.
From the first few lines “They say drowning is a good way to die, that panic quickly gives way to the best high you’ll ever have, but I don’t believe it” I was hooked. The story is in 3 parts. One part for each twin and the final part for closure for want of a better word. The characters are complex, the twins are so close yet there’s a gulf, the alcoholic mother annoyed me immensely and the stepfather was vile “this is my mother and this isn’t my father” are very angry lines and say it all really.
Now I really really like this book, it was gripping and tense, but there was a touching gentleness. I've told Shelan how much I loved it and I was fortunate to pose some questions to the lovely lady herself ..... Shelan, thank you! Twin Truths is one of those books that leaves you thinking long after the final page, when you finished writing it what did you do? I went for a walk and stared at the sea. It’s a strange feeling when you finish writing a book: a mixture of elation and gratitude and a soft sense of loss, the letting go of something that has become part of your life. After a while, I returned home and opened a bottle of wine. What’s your writing day like? Do you write at certain times following a set pattern? I dream about a typical writing day! I would rise early and swim in a tropical sea and eat mangos with black coffee, then settle down to a morning of writing on a veranda. Fresh fish and coconut for lunch (and just one glass of cold white wine!), more writing, and then yoga or a long walk in the sand in the company of someone special. Actually, I did this once for a week with a writing friend in Kenya – we rented a house on the coast and it was absolutely glorious. Now, living in Spain and juggling a full-time job, I still love to carve out writing weeks or days, when I can get completely lost in it - and I always write in front of a window, the metaphorical equivalent of a veranda in Kenya. Twins fascinate me, there were 2 sets of twins in my year at school who weren’t identical but had very similar traits. What prompted you to write about twins? I am fascinated by the notion of personal identity and what shapes our sense of who we are. I think many of us are intrigued by twins precisely because they throw up all sorts of questions about the nature of identity and nature versus nurture. Twins also run in my family; both my brother and sister have twins, so my paper twins have real cousins! The title of Twin Truths appeared in my head one day and haunted me. It played with a double meaning: two truths and truths about twins. I knew then that my main characters were twins and that I was going to write a book that explored the elasticity of truth. Both Twin Truths and Yellow Room have been powerful reads, did you have your plot to begin with or did you start writing and then changed tack? I am more of a gardener than a planner: planting a seed, watering it and giving it space and time to grow. I never lose the idea of what I want it to grow into, but the final shape of my tree can turn out to be quite different to what I envisage before it takes root. Going back a step to the writing stage are any of your characters based on real people? No, there are no direct parallels to real people, although no doubt there are certain traits from people I know that find their way into some of my characters. I don’t really feel as if I design or create my characters, I feel as if I meet them and get to know them through the book. What's next? I’m working on my third novel, another psychological twisty tale. It’s inspired by something that happened two weeks before my father died: he found a novel he’d forgotten he’d written, read it, changed the last line and gave it to me. That was the last time I saw him. In my book, a box of writing by the father she never knew falls into the hands of a dramatherapist called Elisa and takes her to Kenya, where a twist presents the one person from her past she never wanted to meet again.
So there you are! I hope you enjoy reading Twin Truths as much as I did. Thank you so much to The Dome Press for including me on the Blog Tour, it's always a pleasure.