Wednesday, December 02, 2009

BOM: How the idea germinated

As often happens, the idea for LET DARKNESS COME sprang from a couple of sources. First, I was involved in a rather unpleasant legal proceeding, and had to spend a great deal of time dealing with lawyers and reading about depositions and the like. Since I had to go through it, I reasoned, I might as well learn from it and tackle a legal book . . . maybe a thriller?


Second, I stumbled upon a special called "I Am My Own Twin" on the Discovery Health Channel (yes, I got part of the idea from THE FACE from that same channel. It's simply fascinating!) In the special, they interviewed a woman who actually gave birth to three children whose DNA did not match her own--according to genetic specialists, she was NOT related to her own children. They were ready to accuse her of kidnapping someone else's children until they watched her give birth to the third child, they typed the infant, and discovered that the same situation existed with the third baby. Apparently her ovaries came from a fraternal twin she had absorbed in the womb. She was a chimera.

(This makes me wonder about all those IVF cases where they implant three embryos and end up with one baby. Are the other two infants absorbed into the third? Hmmm.)

They interviewed another woman with the same condition--you could examine random hairs on this woman's head and they would appear to have come from two different people.

So--I was fascinated again. And I thought, "What about the souls of these second babies? Did they ever exist? Did they depart when the fetus was absorbed?" I was going to go with the idea of fetus in fetu, but thought the idea was a little too gruesome for my readers. I mean, imagine--ugh.

So the chimera seemed to fit. At that point, it was simply a matter of working out the murder, the accused, and the "detective," who in this case turns out to be the inexperienced defense attorney, Briley Lester.

Briley, BTW, is named after my cousin's cat. :-)

There is not a lot of spiritual content in this book, and I didn't intend to include a lot because I knew the publisher, Mira, is a secular publisher. But still I wanted to address the idea of eternal souls, and I also wanted to emphasize the sort of living-for-others exemplified by Timothy, Briley's boyfriend, and Briley's late father. Briley begins to follow their lead, even though she is reluctant to at first.

And there you have it . . . how the pieces of the idea came together. :-) Tomorrow: the research.



Mocha with Linda said...

Do you want to include a spoiler alert at the top of this post? If I hadn't read the book, I'd be bummed to read about some of those details that made this book so suspenseful.

That whole concept just fascinates me. I had to go look some stuff up after I finished the book! Expect the Unexpected is the perfect tagline for you!

Angela said...

Thanks for the spoiler tip, Linda. I put one in at the appropriate place. :-)


Unknown said...

Angie -- I read your blog nearly every day, but as soon as I saw your spoiler alert I stopped reading this post -- I JUST downloaded the book onto my Kindle! I'll come back and read this blog post after I've finished the book! Thanks for the warning. (And thank you for so generously sharing your process with us wannabe writers.)

Doni Brinkman said...

Will be anxious to read this one. :) And IMHO, it would be a rare phenomena that a twin/triplet was absorbed by the remaining embryo. I would think that would be more likely in an identical situation where they are sharing the same sac and not an IVF one. Having miscarried this way several times over, I don't believe I lost the other babies in this fashion. Guess time will tell though if Tanner turns out to be a chimera ;).

Suzanne said...

LOVED this book Angie! Couldn't put it down. I immediately passed it on to my MIL who I know will love it also.

Angela said...

Absorption may well happen in the case of identical twins, Doni, but we could never tell, since they have identical DNA. So when a chimera occurs, it is definitely fraternal twins, which made we wonder about those IVF procedures. I mean, something has to happen to those embryos, right? Do they disintegrate or are they absorbed? Fascinating to consider, and it usually doesn't result in a medical problem . . . just a legal one if DNA proof is ever required. I mean, how many chimeras are walking around unnoticed? You'd never know unless your DNA is tested from at least two, probably more, places on your body.

Kathy Cassel said...

I haven't read the book yet but I don't think anyting in here will spoil it for me. It's on my Christmas list.

It is kind of weird that this can happen with twins. How in the world would people ever figure that out or even think that could happen?