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Jenny! I've been dying to ask you this, where DID you come up with Doppleganger?
I first read John Wyndham as a young teenager and was fascinated by his incredibly imaginative and (at that time) bizarre ideas. One of them was that time travel was not possible along a linear trajectory, but that time kept splitting into alternative versions and you could, as it were, go along one of the other paths and meet, or inhabit, an alternative version of yourself.
He wrote several stories with this as a theme. My favourite is Random Quest in the anthology Consider Her Ways and Others.
His vision of alternative universes is now an accepted scientific theory.
My first attempt at an excursion into one of these alternative universes was String Theory in the anthology Take One At Bedtime. I originally wrote it for a competition with a word limit of 2,000.
Doppelganger, with a much more generous word limit, is, I think, rather more sophisticated. My character is transported to her alter ego by drinking a rather dodgy bottle of wine.
It occurred to me that you commit suicide to escape, or perhaps for revenge. But what if you didn't die? What if you just got transported into an another version of yourself'? Would it be better or would it be even worse? Could you escape? And if you got sent back could you return?
You brought me excerpts? Awww, thanks!
Excerpt for Doppleganger:
Christine lay in the bath sipping a glass of wine and staring at her toes. She had quite nice feet, she thought. A little chubby, perhaps, but a pleasing shape, the toes even and straight. In fact, she wasn’t bad looking altogether. Despite bearing two children she retained a shapely figure. She had stretch marks, of course, fading to silver now, and scarcely noticeable, and her breasts were perhaps on the large side. Kevin thought so, anyway. He had laughed at her bra on the line, saying it looked like a couple of potato sacks. And she used to think he was such a kind and loving person.
She scooped up a handful of pills and knocked them back with another sip of wine. It was taking much longer than she had expected. She’d had to run more hot water in twice and had to get out to get another bottle of wine and more pills. She’d used all the painkillers she could find - paracetamols, aspirin, ibuprofen, even the children’s junior aspirin and was now starting on the rest of the stuff in the bathroom cabinet – antihistamine, diazepam, something for diarrhoea. They all said not to exceed the stated dose, which just goes to show how much leeway there was.
She had considered slashing her wrists, even gone as far as bringing the sharp kitchen knife into the bath, but she couldn’t bring herself to do it. An overdose seemed so much more civilized, less messy. And if you did it in the bath, you’d slide under the water when you passed out and there would be no question of botching it.
Except she wasn’t passing out.
She scooped up another handful of pills. She was wearing a swimming costume. Even though she would be dead when they found her she couldn’t bear the thought of being found naked. “Over my dead body,” she thought, and gave a hollow laugh.
She had planned this quite meticulously. Kevin was away for the weekend. With a poetry workshop, he said. Ha! She would have believed him once.
The children were at her mother’s for a few days. Her mother didn’t know. Nobody knew. Except Kevin, of course.
It was all so bloody unfair. She had tried so hard. He, being a poet, couldn’t be expected to work and support a family. And so she was the one who had worked full-time, been the bread-winner, brought up the children single-handed and done all the housework. He hadn’t wanted children. Didn’t want the responsibility. But it wasn’t just that. She took another sip of wine. He wanted all her attention. The children were rivals for her affection.
God, this wine was disgusting! It seemed a shame, when it was the last thing she was ever going to drink.
Tell me about you Jenny....and did I see Manchester on there? **does a silent Go Manchester United cheer**
Jenny Twist left school at fifteen and went to work in an asbestos factory. After working in various jobs, including bacon-packer and an escapologist’s assistant, she returned to full-time education and did a BA in history at Manchester and post-graduate studies at Oxford.
In 2001 she and her husband moved to Southern Spain where they live with their rather eccentric dog and cat.
Where can I find your wonderful books?
Take One At Bedtime: