Coralie Phillips and Donna Roach are identical twin authors. They have written four books together. The illustrated book Duplicate Dreams about twins and multiples with identical interests and careers in common is their latest book and is available via Amazon.
We had the opportunity to interview Coralie and Donna about being twins and about their books:
When meeting and interviewing twins for your book, how different were the views you found on the whole ‘twin thing’?
Overall, the twins that we interviewed for our book Duplicate Dreams embraced being twins and enjoyed sharing the same interests and/ or career.
Did you include a mixture of identical and non-identical, same sex, different sex twins? Was there any difference in the types of stories they told?
In our latest book, we’ve interviewed identical twins, fraternal twins, female twins and male twins. However, they all had positive things to say about the twin relationship.
Typical twin question (we apologise), but what do you love the most and the least about being identical twins?
We love having a twin friendship with each other. We hate it when people use us to play a game of ‘spot the difference’.
Another typical twin question (and we apologise again, but it’s the classic) – as identical twins have there been any spooky things like “mind reading” or knowing what each other are feeling?
Sometimes, we’ve tried to get one another a surprise gift and ended up getting one another the same gift as each other but in different colours. We often guess what the other one of us is going to say before they say it. Our lives have also been full of coincidences.
Does your book include both light hearted and more serious stories, for instance illness between twins (which is something you both have personal experience of), even death. Was it ever a topic that came up, and maybe did not it to the book?
One of the twins, who kindly agreed to be interviewed for our book, shared some of his memories of his late fraternal twin sister and told us about their mutual interest in art.
From all the people you interviewed and met, did twins like being twins?!
We can answer that question with a resounding YES!
From people you interviewed, did they see being a twin as something special or a bit of a curse (for example, friends trying to break the closeness etc…)
They all saw it as something special.
You have a mixture of books, light hearted, children, serious research – which type do you enjoy the most?
We get great satisfaction from writing a book together whatever the genre. We couldn’t say that writing in one particular genre is easier than writing in another genre. Each type of book presents its own unique challenges. However, when producing Duplicate Dreams, we were delighted to have the opportunity to communicate with twins from around the UK and elsewhere including the United States of America and Australia. We interviewed twins with a wide range of careers including careers in the fields of food, fitness, fashion and fine art. We also interviewed twin singers, musicians, presenters and actors.
What made you start writing each of the books you have so far (and in the future), is there any particular message of theme you are getting across?
Hypothyroidism in Childhood and Adulthood, which was published by Nottingham University Press, is our first book and we wrote this to raise awareness of the impact of hypothyroidism. We hope that it will be of interest to researchers and medical professionals.
Donna: The fact that we are twins is important to this book because hypothyroidism affected me at approximately nearly six years of age but not Coralie and therefore the photographs in the book provide a useful comparison for medical professionals. My symptoms included sensitivity to the cold, breathlessness, tiredness, weight gain, difficulty with school work and slowed growth.
Coralie: Likewise, I was affected by hypothyroidism at approximately ten years of age and when you look at the photograph of me in the book, the impact of hypothyroidism stands out because by then Donna was being treated for hypothyroidism and developing as expected and in good health. My symptoms included shortness of breath, tiredness and weight gain. My face was ‘fuller’ than Donna’s face.
Our second book is Three Times the Trouble – a work of medical/ romantic fiction. We wrote it to share what it’s like to be a twin/ multiple and to raise awareness of hypothyroidism by showing its impact upon some of the fictional characters within the story. We hope that it will appeal to anyone who loves a romantic novel.
Our third book is the illustrated children’s book The Twins’ Tale about our own childhood. We wrote it to share what it’s like to be a twin and to raise awareness of the impact of hypothyroidism in childhood. We hope that it will appeal to nine to twelve year olds.
Duplicate Dreams is our fourth book. We are always delighted whenever we come across another pair of twins with the same interests, hobbies or career as one another, therefore, we were inspired to produce this book, illustrated with coloured photographs, in which we have interviewed a selection of such twins and one set of quadruplets. It is a general interest book and we hope that it will appeal to a wide audience. It would also be suitable as a gift.
Our experiences of being twins and our experiences of hypothyroidism inspired us to become authors and to write about topics related to being a twin/ multiple and subjects related to the thyroid. Even though our books are from different genres, these two themes run through our books. All of our books are available via Amazon.
Sometimes parents have experience as parents of twins with one suffering illness/special needs, while the other does not, from this we have various feelings and thoughts, as parents. As twins, what are your initial thoughts and feelings seeing your sister suffering and/or maybe not “the same” as yourself?
Donna: When I was affected by hypothyroidism, I was aware that I was finding everything a struggle compared to my twin sister. However, one thing that stood out to me was that my twin sister and I were no longer being treated the same as each other by other children and teachers. When Coralie was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, I felt disappointed that she had hypothyroidism too but glad that she was also going to be prescribed ongoing thyroid hormone replacement treatment that would help her to be well again.
Coralie: When Donna had hypothyroidism, it didn’t make any difference to how close I felt to her or how much I loved her but I was aware that others were treating her differently and when the teachers demoted her to a lower class from me because the hypothyroidism was causing her to have difficulty with her school work, I was upset that we had been put into different classrooms. Thankfully, once Donna was diagnosed and treated, her school work improved gradually and she was eventually put into the same class as me again. When I got hypothyroidism, the thing that stood out was the negative reaction of some the other children because hypothyroidism had caused me to gain weight. When diagnosed, I felt upset because my condition would require lifelong treatment but also relieved because I knew that I would now recover from the symptoms that I had been experiencing. However, I remember that I also felt pleased that I was a ‘proper twin’ again because we both had the same condition.
What are normally the topics of your organised speaks? Are they serious science based or are they “being a twin” based, light hearted (or maybe a bit of both)?
So far, our talks have been more serious and scientific but we’d be happy to give a more light-hearted talk about being twins!
What is the background of Twins’ Tale, it appears to be aimed at grown up children, are there parts in the book to help children understand as they grow older and notice they are different?
The Twins’ Tale is a factual illustrated children’s book based on our own childhood. It is for nine to twelve year olds but the photographs showing the impact that hypothyroidism had on each of us in turn during childhood would make it of interest to parents and other family members too. Our aim was to share what it’s like to be a twin, but also raise awareness of the adverse impact of hypothyroidism in childhood and also tell a tale of triumph over adversity.
As identical twins, have you any funny mistaken identity stories or even jokes you have played on others?
Donna: Once, when I was walking to work, a stranger stopped their car, opened the door and told me to get into the car! They turned out to be someone who worked with my twin sister who thought that they were offering her a lift to work! Another time, I was told off for being away from work during work hours because my boss had seen my twin sister elsewhere but I had been at work for the whole time!
Coralie: Someone once greeted me with a hug and a kiss on the cheek and talked as if he knew me! When I told him that I hadn’t met him before and that he had mistaken me for my twin, he thought that I was joking!
Are you planning any follow up projects from this book?
We are open to the possibility of writing another book about twins and multiples with identical interests and careers in common. Our romantic novel Three Times the Trouble is about triplets but we have planned the outline of another romantic novel about twins. If you start a section on your website for twin stories, let us know! We’d love to read it!
All books available via the links below from Amazon:
More information about us and our books can be found at our website www.thyroidbooks.co.uk