Name: Emanuel Bergmann
Book: The Trick
Genre: Mainstream Fiction
Series: This book isn’t part of a series. At least not yet.
Current Home: Los Angeles
Favorite Word: “Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz.” This used to be the longest word in the German language, but it became obsolete in recent years. It contains a staggering 63 characters and it means “law for the transfer of duties in the supervision of the classification of beef.”
Was this the first full-length novel you ever wrote? This is my first book.
Tell us about your day job (current or former). Currently, I’m doing three things to pay the rent: I write articles for newspapers and magazines in Germany, mainly about movies. Also, I translate novels. And I teach private German classes. Last but not least, I’m hard at work on a second novel, but I don’t consider that a job. It feels more like a sun-filled vacation.
How did you start writing? I started telling stories before I knew how to write. At around the age of four or five, I began to notice that adults had a secret code they used to communicate — writing. But I wasn’t able to crack that secret language, at least not yet. Still, I had the urge to tell stories, so I asked my mom to sit down at my grandpa’s old typewriter while I dictated my first novel to her — a pirate adventure, with some space aliens thrown in. We never finished it, because I could never figure out the ending.
What was it like when you got “The Call”? “The Call” was actually an email. I had written the first draft of The Trick ten years ago, in a six-week-long writing frenzy. And in the years that followed, the book was rejected by several publishers, big and small. So when “The Email” arrived, asking me for more information about me and my book, I fully assumed it would somehow lead to yet another rejection. I decided not to respond. I wanted to save myself further heartbreak. A few days later, I got another email, and finally, a phone call. At that point, it slowly began to dawn on me that they might actually be interested in the book. It was actually a little difficult to wrap my head around that.
What research did you do into traveling circuses? Going to the circus was actually one of the reasons I started writing this book in the first place. I had, in previous months, begun making character and scene sketches (one of these scenes actually made it into the final draft, almost without any changes), but at the time I had no story and no plan to even write a book. I only had fragments. Then, one night in Gießen, Germany, I noticed that a circus had set up on the fairground near where I was staying — I could hear the circus music in my room. I was curious. I hadn’t been to a circus since my early childhood, so I went to check it out. I expected it all to be laughable and silly, but it wasn’t. It was magical. I felt as if I was a kid again, gasping at the acrobats, marveling at the magic, laughing at the clowns. The most interesting thing I discovered is that in the circus — as with any good entertainment, really — the trick is to let go and allow your inner child to enjoy it. Afterward, we in the audience got to meet some of the performers, and we were allowed to see the animals. I was able to fully experience it, to see and feel and smell the circus. When I came back, I wrote it all down, and all that made it into the book. I was one step closer to having an actual story.
What really made the story click was my divorce! It was a painful time for both me and my ex-wife, but thankfully, we’ve become good friends since then. She used to be a magician’s assistant, so I knew the world of stage magicians very well. And that’s how I decided to write about magic … and heartbreak.
If we’ve hooked you on The Trick, you can preorder your copy here before the book hits stores September 19: Amazon | BN | Kobo | Google Play | iBooks. And to meet some other debut authors, click here.
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