Interview with Alice Darwin, Author of “Rokitansky”

We asked Alice two weeks ago if she would like to do an interview with MRKH Norge. And where so happy when she said yes ! And today we are done and can finally publish it ! There are so many girls excited about this book, and we ofcourse wanted to know more about this author that came from out of the blue almost, with a book about our condition ! This is the first novel book to our knowledge ever written about MRKH ! Alice comes across as a real heartwarming and compassionate women, I think I can say already, that the book will be the best read in a long time !

Alice Darwin

Alice and her beloved dog walking along the Devon coast

I’ve dedicated this book to my husband Daniel because quite honestly I don’t think I would be here without him. But this book is also for every little girl who ever dreamed of being a mother, this book is for all of you. I hope with all my heart that you enjoy Rokitansky.

First, where are you from? I live in a tiny little old house in the Surrey countryside in England. I can normally be found writing in a (very pretty) shed at the end of my garden.  How did you come up with the idea of writing a book/novel about MRKH ? Are you born with MRKH or know someone that have it?

I had the idea for Rokitansky literally years ago. It existed in my head for such a long time before I started writing it. It is difficult for me to talk about how I first came across MRKH without betraying the trust of others, so I hope you’ll forgive me if I don’t do that. I know that MRKH can be heart breaking and life changing for some and yet, despite 1 in 4,500 women having it, so many people, many doctors in fact, have never heard of it. I wanted to raise awareness of the condition and hopefully stamp out some of the ignorance about it. I know that many women feel incredibly alone when they are diagnosed with MRKH, and I very much wanted, in some small way, to change that. They are not alone and I felt very passionately that there was a story to be told.

Is it a fictionary story, or is it based on real life events ?

It is absolutely fiction, which I hope won’t disappoint people. The book is really three stories, about three women at different stages of their lives. Each of the three women has a secret. The first character you’ll meet is called Moira. Out of the three women, she will probably be of the most interest to MRKH ladies. Moira is diagnosed with MRKH when she is 15 years old and her journey continues from leaving school and leaving home to university. It’s important to note I think that Moira’s life is set in the past, before the invention of Facebook or Twitter or even the internet. There was no google and no wonderful groups like MRKH NORGE for her to turn to. Next is Tori, she is a travel writer who rarely leaves her desk. She is happily married to Harry and everything is just as it should be. Almost. More than anything, Tori wants a baby. I can see elements of myself in Tori and so could my friends who read the early drafts, but she isn’t based on me and in many ways, although I adore her to bits, I hope that I’m not too much like her! Mrs Brown is tired of Godalming Lodge and its elderly residents, she’s nobody’s fool and well aware that they all think she’s too old to run the place. I used to work in a care home for the elderly, so a lot of the inspiration for Mrs Brown came from my memories of that time and my memories of my own Nanna Darwin.

What have you learned about MRKH on your journey writing the book?

So much and not enough. I’ve learned that people and their families come to terms with MRKH in very different ways. Some people deal with it immediately, as soon as they are diagnosed – it almost seems like a relief that finally they know what is wrong with them. Others might seem like they have dealt with the diagnosis in their teenage years and are coping brilliantly, but then later in life can find things difficult. Perhaps when they meet someone they want to start a family with, that’s when they struggle to cope with the condition. Above all I’ve learned that it is a different experience for everyone. There is so much more I wish was known about MRKH. Like, what causes it? Or will there ever be a cure? Hopefully these are questions that we will all know the answers to one day. I’ve learned how badly MRKH can hurt people if they let it and I don’t want that to ever happen to anyone ever again.

They might not have the condition themselves, but chances are, they love you very much and they desperately just want to help, but they don’t always know the right things to say or do.

What is your main goal/purpose for writing this book/novel?

My main motivation for writing the novel was to raise awareness of the condition and to try and help women and girls who are diagnosed with MRKH know that they are not alone and that everything really will be ok. I also think it must sometimes be hard for parents, partners, friends and family of those with MRKH. They might not have the condition themselves, but chances are, they love you very much and they desperately just want to help, but they don’t always know the right things to say or do. Not everybody is great at talking about these things and hopefully the novel will give those who want to know more a tiny insight into what having the condition can be like and how it can make someone feel.

 Will it be translated to other languages ?

 It will be published in English initially, but hopefully in other languages further down the line.

Will it be available as hard copy only ? Or also as a downloadable version / Ebook?

There will be a paperback and Ebook version available from October.

How do you hope this book will affect people?

I hope it will affect different people in different ways. If it only helps one person, whether it’s someone with the condition or a friend or family member, then I’ll be happy! There were parts I found incredibly difficult to write, which would haunt me for days afterwards. This is a novel, it is fiction, but I am so aware that there are many, many Moiras, Toris and Mrs Browns out there, having the same experiences and living with similar emotions. It felt like and still feels like an enormous responsibility to tell their stories in the very best way that I can. I have grown to really love Moira, Tori and Mrs Brown, they are so important to me now – like an extra little family I have grown to know and care deeply about over the last couple of years. I hope that you will love them too and take care of them for me.

Do you have a Facebook page for your book?

No facebook page at the moment I’m afraid – I’m only just starting to get to grips with Twitter! Perhaps in the future!

Do you have a sneak peak from the book you can and want to share with us? 

Cheeky – love it! I’m not allowed to at the moment, but I’ve come up with a plan just for you! I’ll send the first chapter to MRKH NORGE a couple of weeks before the book comes out for an exclusive sneak peak at the novel!

 When and where will the book be available for us to buy?

My understanding is that it will be available everywhere on the same day, so you should be able to get it on Amazon in Norway I think, rather than paying crazy postage. I’ve dedicated this book to my husband Daniel because quite honestly I don’t think I would be here without him. But this book is also for every little girl who ever dreamed of being a mother, this book is for all of you. I hope with all my heart that you enjoy Rokitansky.

 Is there anything you would like to communicate to all the MRKH girls waiting for the book to come out?

Yes. This is just a novel and I’m just a writer telling a story. Your story is in your hands alone. MRKH isn’t the end, it is just the beginning. You are strong, you are beautiful and you are and will always be loved. You can be whoever you want to be, you just have to believe it. I so hope more than anything that you like my novel, but more than that, I hope you know that the story of your own life is in your hands alone. You are perfect just the way you are, live the life you always wanted and don’t let anyone or anything stand in your way.

We end the interview with this beautiful message from Alice:

Takk for at du leser dette intervjuet vakre MRKH NORGE followers! Veldig beste ønsker til alle, masse kjærlighet, Alice xx

(This is my first go at Norwegian…in case I’ve got it completely wrong (a very real possibility!) this is what I hope it says…) (Red.anm: You did great with the Norwegian alice  :)!

Thank you for reading this interview beautiful MRKH NORGE followers! Very best wishes to all, lots of love, Alice xx

 

Thank you so much Alice for this interview, and thank you for bringing awareness to MRKH in a new way, a way that will live forever and I’m sure will help a lot of  MRKH girls, family and friends out there!
We look forward to the first chapter sneak peak of the book, and ofcourse we look forward to read the entire book in October !!

Alice’s webpage can be found here  alicedarwin.com
Follow Alice on Twitter

Read also Kristen Peterson Blogpost –  “Rokitansky” by Alice Darwin, an MRKH fiction book?!

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