Q&A With Erica Bauermeister
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Behind The Book With Erica Bauermeister
Todays Behind The Book post will be with the New York Times Bestselling author Erica Bauermeister. Back in December I was delighted to do a Q&A with Erica and shortly after that I read No Two Persons on Netgalley. No Two Persons with Erica Bauermeister will be what this edition of Behind The Book will be about.
Q: Is it fair to say the characters in No Two Persons are loosely based off of people you met from these book clubs? I know in our Q&A back in December you told me that your idea for No Two Persons came from working with book clubs and seeing people in these same book groups discuss what the book meant to them and how it impacted them in different ways.
A: It’s true that No Two Persons was inspired by talking with book clubs and seeing the entire different ways one book could be interpreted. But I made a promise to myself a long time ago never to base any of my characters on people I know in real life. I find I have a greater ability to dive deep into the emotional lives of the characters if I am not hemmed in by a personality or life experiences that already exist—and it’s in those deeper explorations that I find the most interesting lessons and surprises.
Q: What lessons do you hope readers will learn and take away from No Two Persons?
A: First off, that we all see things differently. In the case of a book, we may all read the same words, but the story we read has everything to do with who and where we are in our lives when we open the cover and start to read.
And secondly, that we are all connected, not only by the act of reading, but in other ways we may never see.
Q: What was the research process like behind No Two Persons?
A: There was so much research! (this makes me happy). I had to create 10 completely different worlds, 10 characters with their own passions and love and work. To find the characters I read widely (New York Times and Atlas Obscura’s daily email are great sources). I wandered the non-fiction sections of bookstores. I look for the potential characters in the content. It could be a free diver. An intimacy coordinator for movies. A leap second scientist. An audiobook narrator (more research here than you might think!). Etc. etc. It was a great way to spend the pandemic.
Q: Would you ever think about writing a sequel to No Two Persons, or a book similar like it? I had to ask because No Two Persons is one of those wonderful stories that stay with you, and to quote Jane Austen If a book is well written I always find it too short.
A: Thank you! What a lovely compliment. I have no plans to write a sequel at the moment, but I do have a little secret to tell you. When I wrote The Scent Keeper, it was originally portrayed from 3 points of view—one of which was Fisher’s. In that version, he had a much more involved backstory, but it had to be cut/modified when the book became Emmeline’s single-protagonist story. Readers wanted more of Fisher, however, and I loved his story, so it kept rattling about in my mind. Then I realized that it actually worked perfectly as the basis for Theo (the book within No Two Persons), and I loved the idea of the two books talking across time. If you look closely, you can see the echoes between them. In fact, there’s even a pivotal scene which is the same in both, which is my little Easter Egg for readers who like to go on hunts….