Thank you to The Novel Approach for inviting me here today. My inspiration for writing about two sets of identical twins initially came from the song Origin of Love in the stage musical, Hedwig and the Angry Inch. This song draws directly from Plato’s Symposium, specifically from the speech made by Aristophanes. What Aristophanes proposes is a satirical spin on man’s creation story, saying initially there were three types of beings, all of them with doubled bodies – two heads, four arms, four legs. Some were all male, some all female. The rest were androgynous, half male, half female. When these primal versions of man attempted to scale the heights of heaven, Zeus crippled them by splitting them in half with lightning bolts. For the rest of their lives, these men searched for their lost other halves, never able to feel “whole” until they succeeded. When they did find their missing half, they never wanted to be separated from them again. This was the origin of love. Sex then became the way man tried, if only for a moment, to heal itself, reuniting physically with their other half.
My series, Twin Ties, grew from the idea of these missing halves and the anguish of the search to feel complete. What better incarnation of them this than identical twins that were separated at birth, only to find each other in young adulthood? Evan and Brennan are mirrors of each other, excited to be reunited, but in emotional chaos due to everything they’ve lost, and everything they are only beginning to see in each other. It has been a fascinating way to examine the idea of love itself. Society draws the boundary lines, but sometimes emotions carry people to places they never intended to go.
The moral of Aristophanes’ story is to fear the gods and worship them appropriately, lest they chop us all in half yet again. In Evan’s quest for self-awareness, his best friend, Jimmy, is an ex-preacher who tries to use his relationship to God to help those he loves. No matter how pure Jimmy’s intentions are, though, God has other plans for Evan. The closer he gets to his missing half, Brennan, the more lightning bolts of fate strike his path.
The main character of the story, Evan Savage, was inspired by a particular photograph of a young man sitting in a field of wildflowers. There was a single, tiny petal caught in his eyelashes, and the yearning in his expression spoke of a deep well of need which seemed almost bottomless. When we meet Evan, he’s an eighteen year old mechanic who’s been lonely his whole life. An only child without a mother, and with a father who is hardly ever present, he’s been bullied in school and, given his sensitive nature, has withdrawn into himself out of self-preservation. Brennan Holt, Evan’s twin, is outgoing, was popular in school, and has moved to another state to live with Evan following the death of their mother, Maggie. Brennan nursed Maggie through her terminal illness. Grieving her loss, he’s searching for love and comfort in a place that’s totally foreign to him.
The love interests are played by Luka and Alek Popović, are twenty-five year old identical twins who have been out on their own since high school. Raised by a single mother whose bad relationship with their father caused her to be unable to open her heart to them, they turned to each other for solace and love. Luka is a personal trainer whereas Alek is a short-order cook and security guard with a degree in finances. They live with a couple of friends who understand the twins’ atypical closeness and, though they don’t condone Luka and Alek’s sexual behavior, they also don’t turn away from public displays of affection. Comfortable in themselves and their choices, Luka and Alek happily challenge those whose actions don’t quite match up to the morals they preach.
BLURB: What happens when two different sets of identical twins fall in love with the other? Growing up gay in a small town with no mother, Evan Savage learned the hard way to cherish his secrets above all else. Now he’s eighteen, not even his father can hurt him anymore. When his long-lost twin brother Brennan shows up out of nowhere looking for a new home, Evan’s world, and his very identity, comes crashing down around him all over again. Evan’s twin, Brennan, is searching for sense of connection after their mother’s death. Together, frustrated and reckless, anonymous sexual encounters are just the first step on a journey of self-discovery for both Evan and Brennan, when the two meet Alek and Luka, another set of twins whose love leads them find in each other things they never knew they had lost…and lures them all into danger.
BLURB: All Evan Savage wanted was a quiet night at the bar, waiting for his boyfriend to finish his shift; what he gets instead is a nightmare. Things were complex enough when his biggest problem was the tangled sex life he and his brother Brennan share with twin lovers Alek and Luka. When a selfless act ending in terrible violence lands Evan in the hospital, Brennan and Evan’s homophobic father returns to loom over their lives. The young men’s relationships begin to unravel as carefully drawn boundary lines are blurred and crossed. When the most dangerous thing you can do is admit to who you love, and jealousy is a luxury you can no longer afford, brutal honesty is the only remaining key to salvation…or damnation.
“There’s a sink in the kitchen at the back of the house if you want to get washed up there. There’s only the one bathroom,” Brennan apologized.
“Okay,” Luka grinned. He watched Brennan go, his button-down shirt all rumpled and damp in patches, his pants hanging open in the front but his underwear at least protecting his modesty. “You were right about that ‘small’ thing by the way,” he called. “I totally take it back.”
“Thank you,” Brennan smirked, disappearing into the dimly lit hall. A light blinked on, shining from the bathroom, then was blocked as the door shut. Struggling up off the bed, taking a moment to try to tame his raging libido, Luka attempted to wilt his huge hard-on by thinking about the nasty, sweaty, stinky people from the gym that morning.
Long moments later, he headed out into the hallway. The bathroom door was open again but no one was inside.
Moonlight filtered through the windows and it was just enough to see by. Luka could just make out the kitchen in the distance, so he turned to go that way when someone stepped into the hall a few feet ahead of him.
It was Brennan but he was wearing other clothes now—a snug-fitting, worn t-shirt and jeans. And his hair was different. It looked… shorter.
“Brennan?” Luka squinted.
“Alek? Shit, what’re you….”
Baffled, Luka repeated, “…Alek?”
“Luka?” Brennan said, appearing from behind the door to the linen closet. “I just needed to grab a clean towel… oh. Hey, Evan.”
“Evan? No. Wait. You’re… Evan,” Luka pointed, looking between the perfectly identical pair. “Whoa. Oh my god. Oh my god, you have a twin!? What the fuck!? This is… incredibly… insanely… Whoa. You didn’t tell me you have a twin! Well, I didn’t tell you I have a twin either, so I guess I really have no room to complain.”
Brennan’s eyes widened. “Wait, what? No way. You have a twin, too? No. Okay, now I know you’re fucking with me.”
“I’m not fucking with you!”
“Evidence suggests otherwise,” Evan muttered, glancing at Brennan’s come-streaked, falling-off clothes and unzipped pants.
“Shit. Yeah. Christ. Excuse me. Luka, you’ll be cool for a minute if I, um…” Brennan fumbled, gesturing to the bathroom.
“Yeah. Yeah! Go ahead. I’ll just stare awkwardly at Evan or something. Probably.”
They stood there as Brennan hurried back to the bathroom with the towel. Evan chewed at his lip, hunching over like he wanted to disappear, and swirled the half-empty beer in his hands, glancing up through his long eyelashes at Luka who was indeed staring awkwardly at him, as promised. Evan looked exactly like Brennan, so much so that Luka had an overwhelming desire to stand them next to each other so he could compare and contrast. Their features were the same, right down to the placement of freckles. It was everything else that was different.
“That’s so weird,” Luka gushed. “Oh man. This is how I’ve been making people feel all my life, isn’t it? I’ve never met identical twins before, besides, you know. Myself. And Alek. Obviously.”
“So, you wanna borrow a shirt or something? ‘Cause…” Evan nodded, tipping his beer toward the wet spot on Luka’s polo shirt.
Looking down at himself, Luka shut up quickly and ran a hand back restlessly through his hair. “Yes. Please. That’d be appreciated.”
Evan turned, walking into a darkened room located off of the center hall. Luka followed along behind him like a dog with its tail between his legs, embarrassed and confused. He accepted the shirt Evan handed over with a low, muttered, “Thanks. I’m sorry about that with your brother. Who is awesome, by the way. I swear I’m not just here to perv on him. It’s not just, you know, what it seems.”
“No problem,” Evan said, digging down into his pocket and coming out with a cigarette. His hand trembled slightly as he placed it between his lips and he seemed pale but Luka wrote it off to the shock of walking into the scene he just had. “You mind if I?”
“Nah. Your house, man.”
Evan nodded, lighting the cigarette and walking with Luka to the kitchen as he changed shirts, sitting down at the table and picking restlessly at his beer label. “Have a seat. Beer’s in the fridge.”
“Sure,” Luka agreed, sitting across from Evan. They were in better light, so he was able to study Evan closer, and the differences between him and Brennan. Luka found Evan’s hair was cut shorter and styled differently than Brennan’s, not to mention darker in color. Evan’s posture and body language, his expression and build were all wildly different too, but there was also so very much of the same. It was a little spooky. “Sorry for staring, but this is really fascinating.”
“What?” Evan shifted in his chair, sucking hard on the cigarette, blowing smoke out the side of his mouth.
“Well, you look like you should be the bad twin, with the cigarette and the beer and mild surliness and all. You know—the angel and the devil, that whole thing. It’s kind of this theory I have. Alek thinks I’m crazy. But anyway, I think Brennan is definitely the bad twin. I think you two got your disguises mixed up or something to throw the rest of us off.”
“Hmm. Brennan’s the bad twin?” Evan echoed, squinting at Luka, flicking ashes into the ashtray in the center of the table.
“Why, you don’t agree?”
“I don’t know.” Evan shrugged, “Don’t really know him that well but I’d disagree from what I’ve seen.”
Utterly baffled, Luka blurted, “What do you mean you don’t know him that well? He’s your identical twin brother! How could you not know him?”
“Long story. Just met the guy a few days ago.”
“Huh,” Luka grunted thoughtfully, considering this new information. “Well then, trust me, Brennan is the bad twin.”
“I still disagree. He’s as dangerous as a cupcake.”
Luka snorted, “Cupcake. Ha! That’s totally gotta be his nickname from now on. But I’ve gotta warn you, Evan, beware of that cupcake.” He thumbed back over his shoulder at the bathroom, raising his eyebrows and nodding once for emphasis.
“Wait,” Luka frowned. Finally, he realized one thing he almost missed, something that only sparked upon replaying the incident in the hallway over in his head. “You called me Alek. You thought I was him. You know Alek?”
“I guess,” Evan said evasively.
“Huh. Small world.”
Evan chuckled, sucking hard on the filter of his cigarette, filling his lungs with smoke and holding it there a second. Then he breathed it out and shook his head. “Yeah, tell me about it.”
AUTHOR BIO: Lynn Kelling is a bestselling author who began writing in order to tell stories that aren’t afraid of the dark, don’t hold anything back and always strive to be memorable, forging lasting attachments between character and reader. Her inspiration comes from taking a closer look at behaviors and ideas lurking at the fringes of life—basically anything that people may hesitate to speak of in mixed company, but everyone wonders about anyway. Her work is driven by the taboo in order to expose the humanity within it. Lynn is an artist, designer and lover of any form of creative self-expression that comes from a place of honesty and emotion, whether it’s body art or opera. She has had multiple novels published, has written over fifty works of erotic fiction of varying lengths, and always has several novels in progress.
THE GIVEAWAY: In honor of her visit, Lynn is offering the chance for one lucky reader to win an e-copy of BOTH books in the Twin Ties Series!
All you have to do to enter is leave a comment right here by Midnight Pacific Time on Thursday, March 6, 2014. One winner will be selected at random on Friday, the 7th, and notified via email for prize delivery.