Just wanted to mention a lovely interview I did for Dianna L. Gunn on her blog The Dabbler, where I talk in detail about the inspiration for Rosy Hours.
I think it is always difficult when an author takes on characters with cult status. The Phantom of the Opera is so entrenched in popular culture, it’s so well known, that you run the risk of upsetting a lot of people. Choosing to return to Leroux’s Gothic roots makes things tricky, too. Most people know Phantom from the musical adaptation. Erik is a character who inspires much greater sympathy in Webber’s version – less torture, less murder, less of everything except singing.
I rather took the other approach – more torture, more murder, less singing.
A few weeks back I was also reading an article in which they asked acclaimed authors what had most surprised them about the writing life. One of my favourite answers was Linwood Barclay (who I was fortunate enough to see at Cheltenham in 2013):
The biggest surprise I think is that becoming an author has afforded me the opportunity to experience humiliation in ways I never knew existed. You think, 'Wow. I'm a published author, now.' Then you go to a bookstore event, and absolutely nobody comes. The only thing worse than nobody coming to an event, is if only one person shows up. If nobody comes, you just go to the nearest bar. But if one person is there, you have to talk, and maybe even sign a book, if one manages to get sold.
I've seen this happen to friends, and sat through a book signing of my own where not a soul came. It's been a huge relief this time around that people have turned up to talks, venturing out in the dark and the rain. Really means a lot to writers to meet their readers.