Thursday, November 16, 2017

Twins by Diane Burton

According to Wikipedia, twins are two offspring produced by the same pregnancy. They can be identical (one fertilized egg that split in two, same placenta) or fraternal (two eggs, two sperm, separate placentas).

For years, scientists have studied twins. They look for commonalities—genetics, health, behavior, and tastes in music, food, sports, etc. They also study the differences in identical twins. Each year, twins gather in Twinsburg, Ohio for the Twins Days Festival. With so many twins in one place, this is an excellent time for researchers to study twins. The big question is which influences a person more, heredity or environment.

Back in the 1990s, I took that concept (studying twins) quite a bit further. In my science fiction romance, Switched, an unethical scientist from an alien (but human) world separated Earth twins before birth. He left one twin in the biological mother and transplanted the other twin in a mother from his planet, Serenia. (Think “beaming” the fetuses from one mother to the other.) When the authorities discovered what he was doing, they shut down his project and imprisoned him. That didn’t help those twins that survived—one on Earth and the other on Serenia.

When I wrote Switched, I made a lot of assumptions about twins. I assumed if a twin discovered the truth, she would want to find her twin and biological family. Since the project was an embarrassment to the authorities, they buried all information, including where on Earth the twins came from. But, if a person is driven to discover her origins, I imagine that person would do anything to find out.

That’s how Switched begins, with the Serenian twin beaming down (from a starship) to Earth to meet her twin. In a glitch, the Earth twin is beamed aboard the starship. With another glitch, not only does the starship leave Earth’s orbit, it ends up in another part of the galaxy. Until the starship returns to Earth, each twin has to take her sister’s place. In doing so, they discover their similarities . . . and differences.

As a mother, I wondered what the biological mother of the twins felt. In the days before ultrasound, the doctor relied on manual examinations and heartbeats through a stethoscope. But mothers have instincts. According to a pediatrician I wish I’d had for my kids, a mother’s instinct trumps an MD degree every time. Would the mother know when one of her twins disappeared? How would she feel at the birth when only one child was born? It wasn’t hard for me to imagine the answers to those questions.

Then, I wondered if she met the Serenian Twin would she recognize that he was not the child she birthed and raised? You know I had to use that in the third book in the Switched series, Switched Resolution.

Switched was published in 2001, republished with updates in 2011. Switched, Too was released in 2012 and Switched Resolution in 2013. Although my great-uncles were twins, no other twins occurred in my family. I used information about twins from the internet. A friend of mine has twins, so she became a source, too. Little did I know that twins would show up in my family again.

That’s when I learned firsthand about twins. I even got to go with my daughter-in-law for an ultrasound. How fantastic to see the two, each in his own placenta. From the beginning, one fetus was larger than the other. We joked that it would be like the movie Twins with Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger. We were almost right. When the boys were born almost three weeks ago, one weighed 8 lbs 1 oz; the other weighed 5 lbs 11 oz. They were three and a half weeks early (not uncommon with twins). If you add the two weights together, no wonder my DIL was so uncomfortable, especially since they were standing upright.

A question I’ll never figure out is do twins communicate in utero? Were they aware of the other? Once they were born, and put into separate layettes (probably not the right word) in the hospital, did they realize they were separated? Obviously, when their mother held both together they were close enough to be aware of the other. But when one had to be transported to a children’s hospital and stayed there five days, did the other twin miss him? That sounds like a good idea for a paranormal story. 😊

As the boys grow and develop their own personalities, I’ll be watching to see if my guesses (and internet research) were close to reality.

As if being kidnapped by aliens isn't bad enough, Jessie Wyndom discovers they grabbed her by mistake. She wise cracks past her fear especially when she learns she was part of an experiment separating Terran twins before birth. Her twin just took Jessie's place back in Ann Arbor, Michigan while she gets to twiddle her thumbs on an Alliance of Planets starship. The only good part is the hunky captain. Except. He's so unemotional he could be Mr. Spock's double.

Captain Marcus Viator's well-organized life is turned upside down by the free-spirited female from Earth. Problems with the starship prevent him from returning her to her home. Fate brings them together. Treachery tears them apart. Is their love strong enough to reunite them?

Switched is available for 99 cents at Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ B&N ~ Kobo ~ iTunes ~ Smashwords

Switched, Too
Down-sized astronaut candidate Scott Cherella leaps at the chance to go into space. He just has to pretend to be the captain of an Alliance of Planets starship. His lifelong dream quickly becomes a nightmare when sabotage erupts. To save the ship and crew he has to depend on an uptight, disapproving colleague.

The only time Veronese Qilana broke the rules tragedy resulted. She vowed never again. Now, to protect the real starship captain, she'll have to deceive the crew by helping the imposter. They must work together to uncover the saboteur and get the crew safely home. In doing so, they discover opposites really do attract.

Switched, Too is available at: Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ Barnes & Noble ~ iTunes ~ Kobo ~ Smashwords

Switched Resolution
Actions have consequences as Space Fleet Captain Marcus Viator and NASA reject Scott Cherella discover when they switched places. Does the reserved Marcus have what it takes to imitate his smart-aleck twin? Despite help from his love, Veronese, Scott’s already been outed by two of Marcus’ best friends.

When rebels steal the ship with part of the crew aboard, Scott has to rescue them and retrieve the Freedom. The stakes increase when he discovers the rebels are heading for Earth. They know he’s a fraud and they want Marcus. The safety of the Alliance of Planets depends on Scott and his allies.

Switched Resolution, which wraps up the Switched series, takes the reader from Earth—where Marcus adjusts to a pregnant Jessie—to the starship Freedom commandeered by rebels, to the chase ship with Scott and Veronese aboard.

Switched Resolution is available at:  Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ Barnes & Noble ~ iTunes ~ Kobo ~ Smashwords


Maureen said...

Loved your post and your story sounds fascinating! Since I have identical twin 16 yo daughters I have also dipped into much of the research about twins and it is so interesting. It is so neat to observe other twin relationships etc. I have friends who have twins and their girls are opposite, another one's don't get along. It's hard for me to imagine that since mine are inseparable best friends. Enjoyed your post! You enjoy those twin gran- babies!

Diane Burton said...

Thanks, Maureen. I am enjoying those boys. So sweet, quite different. Not just in size but in temperament, already. BTW, I sent my DIL your post on twins, esp. the spreadsheet (which I offered to make) to record when each twin feeds, poops, etc. She thanked me then mentioned she has an app on her phone for that. There must be an app for everything. LOL

Patricia Kiyono said...

I read and enjoyed this entire series. There are no multiple births in either my family or my hubby's, so I've never attempted to write about them. I'll just have to sit back and enjoy stories like yours!

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

Wow Diane! Great post.
My book The Visionary features a set of M/F twins and both are extremely talented and have extraordinary supernatural/paranormal experiences

Good luck and God's blessings with SWITCHED

Connie Bretes said...

Hi Diane. A very interesting post. I've often wondered what it would have been like to be a twin or have twins in my family. Congratulations on the births of your grandchildren and best wishes for a successful writing career for you. I love your books.

Marissa Garner said...

What an awesome premise for a story! I think most people find twins (or more) fascinating.

Alicia Dean said...

Fascinating post! I've always been intrigued by twins. You raised some good questions. :) Love your book, I do all of your books I've read!

Alina K. Field said...

Twins are so fascinating. Interesting posts, Diane!

Diane Burton said...

Wow. I left for a book event yesterday morning & you all have been here commenting. Thanks so much.

Patty, thanks for the endorsement. ;)

Pam, your book sounds so interesting. I'll check it out.

Connie, thank you. You are so supportive.

Marissa, thanks. You're right. Twins are uncommon, so people find that interesting.

Alicia, thanks for saying you like my books. I love the encouragement.

Alina, thanks.

Diane Burton said...

I discovered what Maureen (and mothers of multiples) already know. Feeding time is crazy. Hubs & I babysat the twins. The smaller one let us know he was hungry. Loudly. I fed him half a bottle, burped, etc. But after feeding him, I had to wake up the other, change diaper, fed him. Then the little one woke up and wanted more. It seemed like an endless cycle. Whew. Thank goodness, Hubs was there to hold one while I fed the other.

CJ Burright said...

I've always thought twins are fascinating some are so alike and others are so opposite. I'd always wanted a twin so I could switch places with them and play tricks on people. :)