The Scent Keeper Q&A
“Erica Bauermeister, the national bestselling author of The School of Essential Ingredients, presents a moving and evocative coming-of-age novel about childhood stories, families lost and found, and how a fragrance conjures memories capable of shaping the course of our lives.
Emmeline lives an enchanted childhood on a remote island with her father, who teaches her about the natural world through her senses. What he won’t explain are the mysterious scents stored in the drawers that line the walls of their cabin, or the origin of the machine that creates them. As Emmeline grows, however, so too does her curiosity, until one day the unforeseen happens, and Emmeline is vaulted out into the real world–a place of love, betrayal, ambition, and revenge. To understand her past, Emmeline must unlock the clues to her identity, a quest that challenges the limits of her heart and imagination.
Lyrical and immersive, The Scent Keeper explores the provocative beauty of scent, the way it can reveal hidden truths, lead us to the person we seek, and even help us find our way back home.”
About the Author:
Erica Bauermeister is the author of the bestselling novel The School of Essential Ingredients, Joy for Beginners, and The Lost Art of Mixing. She is also the co-author of the non-fiction works, 500 Great Books by Women: A Reader’s Guide and Let’s Hear It For the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14. She has a Ph.D. in literature from the University of Washington and has taught there and at Antioch University. She is a founding member of the Seattle7Writers and currently lives in Port Townsend, Washington.
Q&A with Author:
St. Martin’s Press offered me the opportunity to ask Erica Bauermeister some questions about her work and life as a writer. I enjoyed hearing about what influences her creative work and learning more about her as an author. I hope you enjoy learning more about Erica!
Q: Your last book, The School of Essential Ingredients, also incorporated senses into your storytelling. What inspired you to integrate senses into your fiction writing?
A: I am drawn to the subliminal, the things that affect us even though we rarely pay attention to them. Food was a logical place to start, as I love to cook. But the more I wrote about food, the more intrigued I became with the sense of smell. Smell is perhaps the most subliminal of all our senses. It has the power to take us back in time, make us fall in love. By putting a signature fragrance in the slot machine room at the Mirage Casino, the owners increased the amount of time people spent gambling by up to 45%! And we don’t even see it coming. My goal with my books is to help people pay attention.
Q: What message/s do you hope readers will take away from The Scent Keeper?
A: The power of the subliminal. But more importantly, the power of compassion, and the recognition that in order to become adults ourselves we have to learn to see our parents as human beings.
Q. How do you get inspired to write? And do you have a certain routine or space that you use when you are writing?
A: I have written in many places—coffee shops, kitchens, in cars or in bed—but I think I finally have the perfect one. A few years ago, we built a small writing studio down in the orchard at our house. Every morning I go down there early, with a cup of coffee. The deer come and lie on the grass in front of the studio and watch me, a strange audience. I sometimes wonder what stories they would write if they had fingers.
Thank you SO much, Erica, for taking the time to answer some of my questions. The Scent Keeper was such an entrancing novel and I highly recommend it. I found the story unique and I loved the abundance of relationships and connections throughout. The Scent Keeper will be published on May 21st, 2019 and I strongly recommend adding it to your summer reading list! I will be sharing my personal review of The Scent Keeper next week so stay tuned. <3