Today we are excited to be a stop on the blog tour for One by Sarah Crossan. This book quickly captured my attention and held it to the very last page. It was an incredibly fascinating and emotional book and I am thrilled to have Sarah here to answer some of our questions today:
Where did the idea for One come from?
I saw a documentary about Minnesotan twins Abby and Brittany Hensel and was completely captivated by how happy and successful they have made their lives, despite sharing a body. I knew I had to write a novel on the subject, so I started my research the very next day.
There is a lot of discussion in One about the medical implications of being a conjoined twin, both in everyday life and in the surgical separation. What kind of research did you have to do to write One?
I did so much research! I didn’t use the internet because, as anyone who has done proper research knows, the internet is actually pretty useless when it comes to accurately depicting a picture of reality! Instead I went to the British Library and trawled the shelves for books and periodicals to find out all I could on the subject of conjoined twins. I spoke sweetly to a friend of mine at the BBC, and he managed to retrieve lots of documentaries for me from the TV archives. And finally, I spoke to medical professionals, including Edward Kiely, the leading separation surgeon for conjoined twins in Europe. All in all, my research lasted about a year.
One was a very emotional read for me, so I imagine that it could be difficult to write. Grace and Tippi’s lives bring many challenges, from the fact of being conjoined to the scientific background needed to write about it. What did you find most challenging when writing?
Really, I wanted to accurately depict the lives of conjoined twins without the reader feeling pity for the characters, and this was a challenge because the lives of so many conjoined twins are steeped in tragedy. The only way to do this was to show that despite their unusual bodies, Grace and Tippi have no real choice but to get on with living as best they can and that for the most part, they love being alive.
When people read One, what do you most want them to take away from it?
A lot of people have told me that the book made them cry, but this was never my intention when I wrote it. Mainly, I want people to think about identity and what it means to be an individual. I also want people to see that loving another person needn’t mean tearing yourself to pieces if that person dies or leaves you: let happiness be your gift to them.
If you could have lunch with a character from One, who would it be and why?
Great question! Probably Grace and Tippi’s mom. I would love to understand how she coped with conjoined babies and also with the aftermath of the separation.
Tippi and Grace share everything—clothes, friends . . . even their body. Writing in free verse, Sarah Crossan tells the sensitive and moving story of conjoined twin sisters, which will find fans in readers of Gayle Forman, Jodi Picoult, and Jandy Nelson.
Tippi and Grace. Grace and Tippi. For them, it’s normal to step into the same skirt. To hook their arms around each other for balance. To fall asleep listening to the other breathing. To share. And to keep some things private. The two sixteen-year-old girls have two heads, two hearts, and each has two arms, but at the belly, they join. And they are happy, never wanting to risk the dangerous separation surgery.
But the girls’ body is beginning to fight against them. And soon they will have to face the impossible choice they have avoided for their entire lives.
ABOUT SARAH CROSSAN:
Sarah Crossan is Irish. She graduated with a degree in Philosophy and Literature before training as an English and Drama teacher at Cambridge University and worked to promote creative writing in schools before leaving teaching to write full time.
She completed her Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Warwick in 2003 and in 2010 received an Edward Albee Fellowship for writing. She spent several years living and teaching high school in New Jersey before moving to London.
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The theme of the blog tour is twins and our website twin is Novel Ink. Make sure you head over there for a review and more chances to win a copy of your own!