25 September 2011

Guest Blog: Jennifer Linforth

This week, we're welcoming historical author and regular contributor, Jennifer Linforth, with an excerpt from her upcoming novel, RONDEAU. Jennifer's here to talk about the book and give away a copy! Here's the blurb:

The Madrigals continue...

While on the run and hiding in Germany, Erik lives like anyone else—until one nobleman strikes back...

When Anna’s secret past is revealed and she is captured by Raoul’s bounty hunter, Erik is forced to avenge her. This time the madness of the Phantom cannot be freely unleashed.  Erik must rein himself in for the sake of his genius son and hideously deformed daughter.

With few allies as he takes to the streets of Paris in pursuit of Anna and his nemesis, Raoul, one man, The Persian, seeks to help while Christine seeks to keep Erik at large. Forced to turn over his control while spinning out of it, Erik’s past as The Phantom of the Opera roars to life before Paris and his unsuspecting children and only The Persian tries to talk sense to him.

But talk is senseless when speaking to a madman.

Overcome by his history and desperate to keep the past from destroying his life, Erik takes Paris by storm...

Two guns.
One bullet.
And a result that changes everything...

**A Q&A with Jennifer Linforth**

RONDEAU is the third book in your series that continues The Phantom of the Opera, MADRIGAL and ABENDLIED being the first two. Why did you wish to continue classic literature and why the original novel and not the widely popular Lloyd-Webber version?
Certain stories transcend time leaving more questions than answers. No author made me question as much as Gaston Leroux. My love for The Phantom of the Opera stemmed from a deep respect for a book that was a mystery, horror and romance rolled into one. After revisiting Leroux’s novel for the third time the questions in my head would not fade. Why—as a jurist—did he leave so many unanswered questions in such a fascinating book? The primary question I had was who was the “Shade” he spoke of.  From that idea came The Madrigals.

I focused on Leroux because Leroux created the story, not Lloyd Webber. Webber created iconic images with his musical and movie, but  Leroux’s original is quite different from the romantic, famous love triangle of Webber’s. Webber’s film created a mildly deformed man oozing sex appeal who happens to have murdered out of desperation and anger. What Webber wished was the basic romance as the focus. In Leroux, Erik was a murderously vengeful personality… a clear madman, while concurrently being a repressed and ardent gentleman. He was the central character in a Death and the Maiden tale and I wish to focus on that challenge instead.

How do you feel about finishing your series?
I actually wrote all three Madrigals in one year and spent the next several polishing the series before and during publication. I cried from relief when I finally polished RONDEAU. I put a great deal of pressure on myself to make sure this series remained true to Gaston Leroux yet still had enough of my vision in it to make it stand out. Now that the series is finished I feel very accomplished and am ready to move on to the next project. I may resist the characters down the road, perhaps continuing the story with primarily the secondary cast.

After spending so much time with these characters is there a sense of loss with the ending?
There is a sense of completion, not loss. I’ve spent seven years with this series from the start of my research to the last book published. A writer does get attached to their characters, however. I will miss crafting the secondary characters that revolved around Leroux’s original cast. I will miss making nasty villains, but I can do that for another work! I don’t feel loss over it because I know the door is open for great things to come in terms of my career as a writer and my personal goals to meet them.

Which were your favorite characters to explore in each book?
Crafting Erik as a true madman was always a delight from book to book. In the first, MADRIGAL, I loved bringing Madame Giry back to her roots. She is so often seen as Webber’s verison. I enjoyed making her that bumbling servant of the Phantom that she was.  In ABENDLIED exploring Philippe de Changy was my passion and still is. He is my favorite character in classic literature. He’s was a character begging to be explored.  I also loved Pappy. In him I enjoyed making a character utterly unexpected in a novel like this but who was pivotal to the growth of both Anna and Erik.  In RONDEAU the Persian was fun to write for he was another under explored character.

What’s next for you?
I am writing Regency romance now. I am working on a book with a unique spin on a heroine. I like to have characters that, like the Phantom, must overcome some mental or social stigma. I am also polishing a historical romance set in Austria for my publishing house.

Thank you, Jennifer, and all the best with RONDEAU. Remember, please leave your comment to win a copy of Jennifer’s latest!