Nothing begins in isolation. The world both hobbles us and inspires us. What comes to be depends upon the strength of the inner spirit.
How this began: First I was inspired by the marvelous book written by Susan Kay entitled “Phantom” which follows Erik’s life from pre-birth through the years beyond his death. I love Leroux’s foundation piece, and Kay does a masterful job expanding on the few short details Leroux teases us of Erik’s youth. I admire the ambition of Kay’s masterwork.
One day I was given cause to ask the question: what if he didn’t die? Erik is a crafty man. What if he made the ultimate sacrifice and let Christine live on by faking his death and then put an ocean between them to keep from going back? Thus I opted to dive off the end of Kay’s work, nixing parts of the epilogue for those who read it. (If you haven’t, I highly recommend you do!)
The first story I wrote was “Nightingale’s Strain” taking place in 1891, ten years past the horrific events. Here Erik’s past comes back to haunt him and he finds himself faced with choices he never imagined. Friends read the tale, loved it, and I just kept writing, intrigued by circumstance. The next was “Gilded Cage for a Nightingale” where a deadly game erupts costing Erik dearly. A third tale began to form and I seeded foreshadowing into “Gilded…”. Halfway through “Lament of the Nightingale”, even as a fourth tale began to emerge from the shadows a recurrent question from readers prodded me … “How did he manage the rise to power in high society? That must be one hell of a story!”
Hrm indeed, there is a story there! And so the whole arc changed, now rooted further south on the isle of Manhattan. I went back to 1882, picking at my notes from the first story when Erik arrogantly declared how he gained his fortune. Here Erik is tossed into destitution where he and Nadir would have fallen victim to as foreigners in the aristocratic fabric of the city. With limited resources the two are left to depend on Erik’s ingenuity.
Throughout the stories many historical facts will present themselves about buildings, events, procedures; the outcome of countless hours of research. In the spirit of the two previous authors who wrote the foundation for this work, I endeavored to do the same and weave in those threads of truth. I fully admit to basing much of Erik’s personal history on Kay’s work to keep it consistent. I have built beyond it much as she had done with Leroux’s work.
This odyssey is indeed a fanfic, I make no claim otherwise. But I hope that people will find as much enjoyment in reading these as I had writing them.