Men are from Mars…or Underground Lairs!
By far the greatest challenge I had in writing my second Phantom-related book, ‘About-Face’, was the need to be inside Erik’s head. Sylvie Bessette is and always will be the protagonist of my series, and the books are told from her point of view. It is primarily her story I am presenting, and I cannot stress how fond I am of Sylvie, in spite of all her flaws as a heroine! But in ‘About-Face’, Erik and Sylvie spend several months apart, and I could not figure out any way to describe what is happening to him without writing from his point of view.
I must confess I have never tried to write from a man’s perspective, and as we all know, men and women do not think alike! But even more challenging was the fact that the man in question was the former Opera Ghost, former Phantom of the Opera, now spouse to Sylvie and trying to mend his ways. To say he is a complex individual is an understatement! In the first book, ‘Disfigured‘, the story is told entirely from Sylvie’s point of view, and she tends to view Erik from her own perspective, which is not always accurate. It was rather terrifying for me to try and think as Erik might think, and always I was concerned that I would let down my readers over this very important aspect of the tale.
I knew as I went along that I must surely be getting some things wrong, for I will be the first to admit I do not have a full understanding of Erik’s character. Fortunately I was able to rely on the judgement of another, my friend Lisa Gomez. She gave me good advice and steered me away from having him do or say things that would be out of character for him. During the writing of this book, my husband read my manuscript and we disagreed on one point in particular. In the scene where Erik and Sylvie are hiding from some gunmen in an old barn, my husband thought Erik would not mind having Sylvie fight the bad guys too. But I was certain that Erik would do no such thing; he would want above all to protect her, and would not doubt in the least his ability to single-handedly manage four men with guns. I wrote the scene that way, and a pretty little argument ensues between Erik and Sylvie when he finds out she intends to fight along side him.
In the third book of my series, tentatively titled ‘Spirit of Revenge’, Erik and Sylvie will for the most part be together, not separated at least in the physical sense. Rather, they are temporarily separated by Erik’s having amnesia. It will be a relief to me not to have to be in Erik’s head as much as in Book Two, I can assure you! In Book Three, old enemies come back to haunt them, but they will fight them together. After surviving the challenges of Book Two, Erik and Sylvie emerge stronger as a couple. Stay tuned for an excerpt from Book Three!