The earliest drafts of “Birding,” dating back to late 2001, were written by my colleague here at Not Two, who prefers to be known simply as “JP.” As many of you know or might guess after reading it, both narrators, Joseph and Pedro, are based on JP, but Pedro is the main vehicle for the semi-autobiographical aspect of the novel. Likewise, the character of Nadia Czonka is a depiction of his first wife, Aubray Tomkinson.
They were “exuberantly wed” (inside joke) in October 1999 in their temporarily adopted hometown of Bisbee, Arizona –disguised in the novel as the fictional Caches Notch, New Hampshire. JP did not have a camera of his own for the vast period of time between high school and the emergence of smartphones (Aubray did, though they seemed to use it sporadically), so snapshots of them from this time period are limited. But there are enough to help you put a couple faces with the names.