Sadie Montgomery Interview

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Le Club Lair And RT Robert Burns Interview With Author Sadie Montgomery

 

 

 A Little About Sadie Montgomery
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I teach in a small liberal arts college in Minnesota. Some say that those who can, do, and those who can't, teach. I would like to think this is not always true. I prefer to think that those who teach can do, while unfortunately those who do often cannot teach. I've written critical articles in my field, short stories, and novels. The series of Phantom novels that I've written are my first published novels.
 
As an only child, I like solitary pursuits. Besides reading and writing, I love both music and movies. I have always loved school, and I have always loved to read. I never leave the house without a book in my bag. You never know when you might want to read a few pages, perhaps while  waiting for the train to pass or standing in line at the bank. Obviously I am what you would call a classic bookworm. After graduate school, I found a compatible bookworm whom I married. We're deliriously happy. We have one son and a dog. Seems families always have at least one four-legged creature among them.
 
 
Interview
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Hi Sadie,
Thank you for granting us your first interview and taking time to answer questions from The Ladies Of Le Club Lair and Phantom Fans, it is most appreciated.
 
Rose
 I love the quotes you use from famous novels at the beginning of your Phantom chapters they really set the atmosphere, do you have a favourite genre or particular writers you admire?
 
 
Sadie
 I hadn't thought about genre. I would have answered that I prefer novels, but in my selection of epigraphs I have quotes from novels, stories, poems, and plays. I mostly read novels.
 
In the choice of an epigraph, the theme is no more important than the form of its expression. I like a well-turned phrase. For this reason, two of my favorite Nineteenth-Century authors are Oscar Wilde and Edgar Allen Poe. In both cases, I am as struck by the way they write as by the stories they tell. Another source that is nearly bottomless is Shakespeare. We know many lines from Shakespeare even when we aren't sure they're his. Another source is the Bible, especially the King James version. There are incredibly beautiful poetic passages in the Bible.
 
I have a lot of favorite authors. For my series, with one exception, I quote only from works that were already published and would have been known at the time when the story takes place. The only exception is a quote by Iris Murdoch in The Phantoms Opera. I just couldn't resist.
 
I usually had in mind an epigraph for the novel or for particular chapters while I was writing them. For example, I knew I wanted to quote Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's Frankenstein for Out of the Darkness because the images and sentiment were incredibly appropriate: 'Remember that I am thy creature; I ought to be thy Adam, but I am rather the Fallen Angel' Everywhere I see bliss, from which I alone am irrevocably excluded.' How could I express Erik's plight any better than this? In the same novel, I quote The Odyssey a good deal for the individual chapters because the novel uses the epic poem loosely as a structure for Erik's own journey and return. Given the fire and the figurative hell Erik goes through in The Phantom's Opera, I always had it in mind that I would use an epigraph from Dante's Inferno. In The Phoenix of the Opera, I depend mostly on Poe and the romantic poets, which seems reasonable. For Phantom Death, I relied a good deal more on Shakespeare, as well as the Spanish playwrights Calderón de la Barca and José Zorilla, but the epigraph to the novel as a whole is the parable of the Prodigal Son, which predicts the theme of forgiveness and return.
 
 
 
Rose
Do your students know you have published books, are they and your family proud of your achievements?
 
Sadie
No, my students do not know that I write romance novels yet. I've wanted to keep my creative fiction separate from my professional writing. I have published critical articles, for example. I sometimes imagine that it would be fun and perhaps even instructive to share with my students the experience I have had writing and now publishing these novels, but I also feel that it might be awkward. I wouldn't want my students to feel obligated to buy my novels, for example. When I began to write, I was doing so on my own time, as something that took me away from the requirements and identity of an academic. So far I have kept these two worlds separate. I'm not sure that I will be able to continue to do so.
 
On the other hand, my family not only knows about my writing, but often has to bear with me as I obsess about it. My husband and son, my mother and mother-in-law, are my first readers. They have been wonderful. My husband deserves a commendation for reading and editing my work. He is also my sounding board. I can't tell you how many times, on our daily walks through town, that I've gone over a recently written scene or discussed the ramifications of one choice over another, or asked his opinion about a certain plot twist. He is a saint. 
 
 
 
 
Debra
As someone who also writes, I'm very curious about the process other writers use to create. Do you have a routine to get your right brain in gear or maybe a special place where you like to write, a place where you can close off the world?  What makes the words flow for you?
 
 
Sadie
If you had asked me this in early 2005, I would have answered it as follows. In those first weeks and months, working on The Phoenix of the Opera, I had a fairly set routine. I started writing the Phantom novels when I was engrossed in the story itself in particular the movie. I went weekly to see the movie and listened to the soundtrack daily. I fell asleep thinking Phantom and woke with snatches of dreams in which the beginnings of many of my scenes were rehearsed. I often no sooner put my feet on the ground than a phrase would sound in my ear and I knew that if I wrote it down the rest would surely follow. And that was the way the first novel was written, somewhere between dreams and waking life. 
 
As far as something more concrete, I always pick the same notebook and will be incapacitated, I'm sure, when the company discontinues the style. I usually find a specific pen that feels right in my grip and stick with it until it runs dry. I compose in my notebook as well as at the computer. I type much faster than I can write by hand, and sometimes unfortunately I type faster than I can think. But all in all, I don't mind composing at the computer. A notebook is handy because it can go to lunch with me.
 
As I transcribe material from my notebook to the computer, I edit and revise. Unless a scene is already planned out or comes to me in a rush of inspiration, I will go over what I've already written and then continue from there. In some cases, I have the whole arc of the story mapped out; in other cases I have only the sketchiest of plans. Much of my writing during the school year is done at lunch. I put on my ipod, open my notebook, and write. If nothing comes, I force myself to write something new or I revise what I've already written. I do a lot of polishing and revision as I go. There are days that I am very productive and others when I worry that I'll never write another worthwhile line. In the summers I often get up very early, pour my first cup of coffee, put up the hammock on the back porch, and sit/lie down to write for an hour or so.
 
 
 
Rose
Are the Phantom books your first novels or have you written other stories?
 
 
Sadie
I spent a few years writing short stories. Then I had a dry period and wrote very little other than my critical work. Sometime ago I did write a first novel. It was a useful exercise because it proved that I was capable of sustaining a long narrative.
 
However I consider The Phoenix of the Opera my first 'real' novel. Besides the four books in the series I have six other novels in full draft versions. One is a contemporary vampire novel, another is a post-apocalyptic, alternative future society adventure with a strong romance plot at its center, several are early 19th century romances. I have the titles on my web pages and will eventually work up blurbs about each one. [url="http://ms.sadiemontgomery.googlepages.com/home"]http://ms.sadiemontgomery.googlepages.com/home[/url]
 
I'm in the process of looking for a publisher for some of these other novels. 
 
 
Rose
What made you decide to write a Phantom sequel and did you envisage from the start it would become such an epic, eventually covering four wonderful books?
 
 
 
Sadie
No, I didn't think that I would write more than the one novel. When I decided to write The Phoenix of the Opera, I did it mostly for myself. I was touched and moved by the scene of the 2004 movie when the Phantom stepped through the shattered mirror and disappeared into the darkness and into our imagination on the other side. Although I was motivated to find a 'happy ending' for the character, I knew that my first challenge was to allow the Phantom to recover from a broken heart and to tell how he comes to love again. I was determined to write this continuation without destroying the poignancy of his love for Christine. I also accepted that Christine and Raoul belonged together. It was very important that I not betray the story that had moved and inspired me in the first place.
 
Besides writing the continuation of the Phantom's story, I had other goals in writing the first novel. I intended to write a narrative whose complexity would parallel the complexity of its characters and their story, one that shifted in point of view and used a variety of narrative strategies. As important as the story itself was the way it was told. In Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom, music conveys the emotions and tells the story. For me, language had to function in a way similar to that of the music in the movie and stage play. To this end, I used stylistic strategies interior monologue, lyrical segments, dreams as means to connect with the emotional core of the characters and the story as it unfolded. I also wanted to explore the characters through a kind of psychological realism in which the rough edges and moral ambiguities would not be erased.
 
When I finished The Phoenix of the Opera I realized that I had given Erik the narrative space to heal his broken heart and the possibility of a new life. But I also saw that my projected goal of his new love was incomplete. I could not leave Erik and Meg where they were at the end of The Phoenix. After all they were literally still on the road! And yet I knew The Phoenix had reached its end. That was when I decided to write the second novel, Out of the Darkness: The Phantom's Journey. In this case, I chose the motif of the journey, loosely basing the story on The Odyssey. Erik and Meg had to be separated so that they could eventually be reunited. Erik had to choose to be with Meg, not because he couldn't have Christine but because he loved her. The journey myth represents the path of the hero in which he finds himself. Not only does Erik find his way back to Meg, he finds a home, fights real monsters, and learns about himself in the process.
 
I wrote The Phantom's Opera because I didn't want to stop inhabiting the characters that I had come to love. This third novel is about identity. Who are we if we are not a product of our past? Given the Phantom's violent history, the problem of who he is and his relationship to his past is a significant theme of his character. Is there a core personality that is shaped but not determined by history and circumstances? Or are we only a product of our past and the situation in which we are placed? The third novel is filled with all sorts of ironies. We know what Erik doesn't know. What Erik doesn't know because of his amnesia puts him at risk. The novel is also about the power of storytelling because Lucianna tells Erik a story that he is forced to play out. It's probably my most complex novel.
 
Phantom Death was also written because I missed my characters. I wrote the first three novels in quick succession, but I took a break from the Phantom after the third and wrote two other non-Phantom novels. When I decided to return to the saga and write Phantom Death, I thought of two strands from the beginning, one comic and one tragic. One thread brings us full circle to the events that occurred in the Opera Populaire and picks up the more comic character of Carlotta. The other thread is more ominous and threatening and takes us back to The Phoenix of the Opera, but it, too, is tied to the events of the night of the chandelier. Phantom Death felt like an apt conclusion for the series, bringing us full circle again and giving the story closure. It wraps up most loose ends and brings resolution, as much as I could make reasonable, to the tragic events of the original story. 
 
Each of the four novels responds to a different problematics of the story or character as well as affording me an opportunity to experiment with the telling of the story itself and the language. All four novels had already been written when I decided to publish The Phoenix of the Opera. However I might never have published the second, the third, or the fourth had it not been for the warm reception given to me by those first readers.
 
 
Pat - Chicago Rose
In your opinion what was the one main aspect from ALW's POTO that spoke directly to your soul in inspiring your writings?
 
 
 
Sadie
This is a fascinating question. I'm not sure that I can narrow it down to one main aspect. It would have to be the wedding of the music with the story of unrequited love. I think the music forged a powerful emotional connection to the images and the story. But how can I separate all of this from Gerry Butler's portrayal of the Phantom? his sensuality, his menace, his deep sadness and ultimate vulnerability? These of course were conveyed through the medium of Andrew Lloyd Webber's music. The lush sets and beautifully conceived scenes in the Schumacher film appealed to my imagination. The film created a spectacle that shared much in common with the illusions that the Phantom used to seduce Christine. It evoked myth, other film images, dream scapes. The romantic turn that is so powerful in the movie made me revisit older versions of the Phantom story to reread it with a different lens. Schumacher's nod to Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast (La Belle et la bete) gave me more than one story through which to imagine the characters.
 
In the end, I think it was Gerry's portrayal of a man who was both mythic and real that stirred my imagination. I was drawn to the ironies of this man who rules from an underground kingdom through the power of illusion and his art. The Phantom runs the gamut of emotions, is a man who creates and destroys, is of this world and not of this world. He's a fascinating character. 
 
 
 
 
Jan
I know you were anxious in the beginning, wondering how your novels would be received by Gerard Butler/Phantom Of The Opera fans. How gratifying has it been to know that the fans adore your work?
 
 
 
Sadie
I can't express how gratifying it has been. I started writing the novels for me and to share only with a small circle of family and friends. Somewhere between the kitchen and my study, it suddenly became important for me to share these novels with others. I don't know why this should have become important, but I suppose that I have always wanted to be a writer. This was the closest I had ever come to something that I felt deserved to be published.
 
My family encouraged me to consider publication. I was not sure that the novels would appeal to a publishing house. I may have miscalculated, but I assumed it was a small market at best. So I didn't spend any significant time or effort looking for a traditional publisher. My husband had read about self-publishing as the wave of the future. After some investigation, I decided that this was the route for me to take in this case. It also allowed me much greater control over the novels and their publication than a traditional publishing house would have given me.
 
The reason I was worried was that there was so much discussion and analysis of the film and of the characters and Gerry's performance that early on I got the impression that people had very strong views on the Phantom. I worried that I would disappoint readers who had formed vivid fantasies around the character. Indeed I did run into some walls. There are some who won't read my novels because I decided to pair Erik with Meg. Even though I had browsed the threads quite a bit, it just didn't really occur to me that some Phantom fans had already drawn the line so deeply that they would refuse to even entertain the possibility that Meg could be paired with the Phantom. Similarly there are others who really want to see the story evolve between Christine and the Phantom. My choice of Meg as my female lead was not based on a rejection of Christine. I couldn't imagine un-writing or denying the story that had moved me to tears and empathy for the Phantom in the first place. Erik's sacrifice had to remain a sacrifice. His tragedy had to remain a tragedy. I felt it more interesting to write how one survives such pain and how one might learn to love again. Meg offered a good number of benefits over and above a completely new character. I've been amazed and pleased that a number of readers who were skeptical about my choices have ended up enjoying my novels.
 
I'd like to add here that what has been the most fun for me is reading comments on the threads about my novels and then being in contact with several readers. Writing is a solitary act. So it's been great to hear readers remark on what they've enjoyed and why. I've been fortunate to get very detailed responses on all four of the novels. 


 
 
Rose
Do you have a particular favourite out of your phantom books, one that you enjoyed writing more than the others?
 
 
Sadie
Great question, but it almost makes me as uncomfortable as I imagine a mother feels when someone asks her which of her children she most loves. I have enjoyed each novel for different reasons. My feelings have also fluctuated in the course of writing and publishing. Because the first novel flowed so effortlessly and was such a joy to write, I think it will always hold a place of honor in my thoughts. It's a novel of mourning, for that is what Erik must undergo before he can truly begin to live outside the shadow of the Opera Populaire, without Christine. Only after this painful and gradual transformation, can the Phantom become Erik and perhaps find love. Out of the Darkness: The Phantom's Journey was one that I consciously sat down and wrote because the story was not done. This second novel represented a leap into the unknown for me. I was glad I landed without too many broken bones. I might have ended the saga here but for the fact that I couldn't shut the book and say farewell to my characters. I've a soft spot for The Phantom's Opera, which I think is a dark narrative. I was very self-indulgent in it. It allowed me to create a scenario in which Erik could woo Meg yet again. It is also the novel in which Erik and Raoul forge their unique relationship. Phantom Death is the most fun of the four novels. Although there are certainly dark elements, as always, it is basically a novel about redemption and transformation. Hence the epigraph in the novel of the Prodigal Son from the Bible. The themes of forgiveness and mercy run throughout the series. What amends can be made are made. For all else, there is mercy. There is also a comic strain to the novel that I had great fun writing, and the ending in particular was, to me, a satisfying culmination to the journey begin in The Phoenix of the Opera.
 
So I may not have answered the question. Each has its special place in my heart. Each was a joy to write, some presenting more problems than others, but all of them giving more satisfaction than grief.
 
 
Nickyville,
There have been countless incarnations of Phantom over the years, not to mention fanfiction, published or otherwise. There are various pairings as well - Erik/Christine, Erik/original character and Erik/Meg, among others. What is it about your story/series that sets it apart from the rest?
 
 
 
 
Sadie
I think my style is a distinguishing feature of the series. My novels are very character-driven rather than plot driven, and for this reason I spend a lot of time poking around inside the characters' thoughts and feelings. In an effort to treat the characters as realistically on the level of psychology as possible, I don't shy away from the darker aspects of human nature in my story. My characters have doubts. They are not always unselfish. From the beginning, although my main focus is and always has been Erik (the Phantom), I conceived the story to be about all four of the main characters, Christine, Meg, Raoul, and Erik. In the course of the series, one aspect that I think is unique to my story is the development of the characters. One such development is the growing friendship between the two rivals Raoul and Erik.
 
Also there weren't any series, as far as I know, until after I began the publication of mine.
 
 
 
 
Rose
What made you choose Meg as Phantom's eventual companion and not continue the story with Christine?
 
 
Sadie
It never occurred to me to bring Christine and Erik together because I basically agreed with the ending of the movie. To me, it seemed a shame to suggest that the apparent love Christine and Raoul felt for one another was not real or would not survive. One story that has similarities to the story of the Phantom is Pygmalion and Galatea. Pygmalion sculpts Galatea and falls in love with his creation. If Christine had remained with the Phantom, she would always have been the Phantom's  'creation'.  I don't believe she would ever have been able to stand independent of him. After all, the Phantom is a dominating and strong personality, and he saw Christine as his creation. Also it seemed absolutely necessary to get the Phantom out of the vaults and into a different world. However I also understood, as I was writing Out of the Darkness: The Phantom's Journey, that Erik would never be happy if he were forever banished from the world of opera.
 
When I thought of whom to choose for the love interest for the Phantom, I immediately thought of Meg. I decided against Mme. Giry because she had always had the opportunity but never initiated a relationship beyond that of keeper and guardian with the Phantom. I found her character to be the most puzzling and most contradictory in the film. On the other hand there were several nice touches in the film that suggested Meg might be a good choice. She is present throughout the same time period and even predates Christine's entrance into the world of the opera. She knows the world in which the Phantom moves, has a direct connection via her mother with the Phantom, is curious to the point that she explores the corridors and is at the forefront of those who go in search of the Phantom in the end. Although she often screams, she is the one who announces the appearance of the Phantom in many scenes, and she is the one who dons pants and a shirt that actually remind one of the Phantom's clothing and goes into the lair and finds the mask.
 
There were distinct advantages that I could use in the novel if I chose Meg. She was young, like Christine, and yet determined to find out about the Phantom. Eventually she could get insights from her mother. There was the possibility that she knew certain things having lived in such close proximity to the Phantom and being the daughter of Mme. Giry. I decided to treat her, in some ways, as an inversion of Christine. Meg had only a partial knowledge, but unlike Christine, she was not fooled by the illusions produced by the Phantom. She watched the Phantom as the Phantom watched Christine. It was just too good an opportunity to pass up. And because of the fact that I intended to write about all four characters, Meg's connection to Christine was also a rich one that provided dramatic potential. Meg's character in the movie is less developed than Christine's and Raoul's. But for that same reason, it gave me a lot of latitude for my own purposes. 
 
 
Rose
How hard was it to write and how long did it take you to finish your amazing Phantom quartet. Did the storylines come easily to you and how did you keep it all straight in your mind between books?
 
Sadie
Once I felt the overwhelming urge to write the story and to 'rescue' the Phantom from the dark unknown, the writing itself went quickly. Debra Whitehead says in her interview that she sometimes felt as if she were channeling, the words just flowed. I had a similar experience. I spent several hours a day writing, and I often wondered if I would be able to type fast enough to keep up with the images and the dialogue. Even though I sometimes did not know exactly what would come next in the plot having only the broad strokes of where I wanted the story to go, the next section would just pop into my mind when I opened my notebook or turned on the computer.
 
I finished my first full draft of The Phoenix of the Opera on March 5, 2005, Out of the Darkness: The Phantom's Journey in June, The Phantom's Opera by August of the same year. After a hiatus in which I wrote other things, I finished a full draft version of Phantom Death by the end of March 2006. I was constantly revising and reworking each of the novels. The first three, having been written in such quick succession, were easy to keep straight. I should add that I got comfortable using the search tool on the computer to check some facts so that I could avoid errors. I was constantly rereading the material. In addition, I kept a file for notes in each case. Before I began writing Phantom Death I went back and reread the first three novels in the series. In the process, I often went back to check details.
 
I did sometimes hit road blocks in the course of writing. In the weeks just before publishing Out of the Darkness: The Phantom's Journey, I realized that something was missing in the novel.  For that reason, I inserted an entire chapter almost at the last minute. In Phantom Death, there was a complex series of events converging around the opening night of Erik's opera that needed to occur in a particular order. But something wasn't working. In an effort to figure out the best sequencing for the action, I wrote down all the events in two of the middle chapters on individual index cards and set them out on the coffee table. After some slick shuffling, worthy of Las Vegas itself, I came up with the sequencing as you now find it in the novel.
 
 
Deborah Ann,
First let me say I like your' sequel series to Phantom best. The writing, the character development, the emotion. You really capture our interest at the very beginning and it never wanes, each book left us wanting more. So here's my question, brilliant as your conclusion is, there seemed to me to be a strong emotional involvement in your writing, are you going to 'miss' Erik and his 'Phamily'? Or do you feel this 'relationship' has reached a satisfactory conclusion and you want to pursue other avenues?
 
 
Sadie
Can I say 'yes' to both questions? I have been living intensely with these novels since 2005. I began the process of publishing the novels in January 2007. For this reason, I've been involved with the series, revising and preparing each successive novel for publication, for well over a year. I think that I would miss Erik and his 'Phamily' were I not so involved with them still. I think the four books adequately bring the story to an end, but there's nothing to stop me from writing other novels, picking up the storyline and the characters. I have a draft of another that could be added to the series should I decide at some point to publish it. I do have other novels that are not Phantom novels, and I would like to try my hand at getting one or more of them published in the next year or so.
 
 
Rose
How did you go about getting your books published, did you have any knowledge of the process beforehand and has everything gone relatively smoothly?
 
 
Sadie
I spent very little time on the traditional publishing route. I believed that my novels would appeal mostly to Phantom fans, Gerry fans. I wasn't sure that spending the next several years trying to find an agent and a traditional publisher to take the gamble on me was a wise idea. I was afraid that as time passed there might not be as much interest. I probably was wrong! It seems like there is always going to be interest in this story.
 
My husband had read about the self-publishing trend. Once I got my courage up, I investigated several of the larger online publishers, including iUniverse, which seemed to have the best rating according to some of the sites I pulled up. I also researched some of the Phantom novels that had come out since the movie and found that many were self published. I went to the iUniverse site, read their information, explored the bookstore, and compared the various packages they offered. December 31, 2006, I bought my first package and decided to publish The Phoenix of the Opera.
 
The process went very well, with only a few snags along the way. All in all it has been a great experience. The first time I saw my first novel available at Amazon, I was amazed! The only regret I have is that my novels are not available on the shelves in the bookstores. Barnes and Noble will order them for customers, but I'd love to be able to stroll into a bookstore and see perhaps a copy on one of the aisle tables. Ah!
 
 
Jan
Now that Erik and Meg know their love is true and they have a wonderful family life, are you thinking of taking them in a new direction where Erik will be very happy working on his music and not having to face too many perils from his past? LOL I long for the poor man to have some prolonged pleasure for a change, he has faced so many tribulations!
 
 
Sadie
You never know! Although I can't imagine a story without conflict or tension. And because Erik is always the heart and soul of these novels, I don't think I can let the man laze around being nothing but self-satisfied and content. After all he is intense. He's an artist, and he will always be the Phantom. This is one of those aspects that I determined should be a feature of the series. He will always have a bit of the beast in him. Certain things we do not forget; we learn to live with them and to cope with them. I feel this is true of the character in relation to his past.. I have at play in the series a rather romantic notion of the artist. Erik  needs that edge in order to create. It's part of who he is.
 
But I could imagine a narrative, perhaps, in which he is less at risk and more confident of his ability to cope with the conflict at hand. Most of the ghosts from his past are laid to rest. I think there is some psychological territory that might still be explored.
 
For me, the final chapter of Phantom Death is the payoff for all the suffering I put the character through.
 
 
Rose
I like the way you bring Phantom's past life back into the new storyline, in some ways re-enacting similar happenings, although like Jan I think our poor Phantom was put through a lot of terrible suffering again, particularly in the capture and subsequent torture scenes with lots of new humiliations along the way, I really felt sorry for him at times, did you feel that was an important part of the story, not letting him have an easy time of it all with Meg?
 
Sadie
Yes, I did feel that the suffering itself was an important aspect of the story. It seems linked to the very nature of the Phantom himself. Outcast and reviled, he has been molded by a traumatic past and by those lost years living in the underground vaults.
 
The scenes you refer to in your question are a reference to the latter part of The Phoenix of the Opera the imprisonment and trial of the Phantom. True to the title of the novel and series, the Phantom faces death and is reborn. Given that the character destroyed several lives as well as his own world, it is a kind of poetic justice to submit him to the prison, the trial, and the scene of execution. In this way, we sympathize with the character and recognize that to some extent he has paid for his crimes of passion. This also represented the symbolic death of the Phantom. Of course, the Phantom never really dies! But the capture and execution of the Phantom severs his ties to the Opera Populaire and forces him into a new milieu and a new life. 
 
There is a darkness in the Phantom that does not disappear. The obstacles he faces are in direct relation to the strength of his character. He meets his demons and survives. That's what makes him a hero. That's also what makes him human. I am more attracted to the character because he is vulnerable and yet strong. It is through these other trials in the subsequent novels that Erik shows us who he is.
 
 
Jan
Now that Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber is going ahead with his sequel of having the Phantom come to New York, might you have Erik and Meg do the same?
 
Sadie
No, I don't think so. If I did relocate Erik and family, it would be to London. That would be great fun.
 
 
Jan
Is there a chance that some tragedy might befall Meg and Raoul and Erik and Christine might end up blending their families together in a future novel.
 
 
Sadie
But how sad! I think if a tragedy befell Meg, it might send Erik back to the vaults. I've also gotten rather fond of Raoul and Erik as friends. So it would be awfully difficult for me to knock Raoul off. I can see the dramatic appeal of Meg's death 'a tragic and beautiful death worthy of an opera itself' but it would be a serious change in direction for the storyline. I'm not sure how most of my readers would feel about such a change in direction.
 
If something were to happen to both Raoul and Meg, it would be reasonable to imagine that Christine and Erik would console each other. But would such a shift in my storyline feel contrived?
 
 
Kathy
You have a very unique style of writing which I enjoy immensely, this may have been asked by someone else, but here goes anyway. I would like to know 'what is next for Sadie Montgomery'? You have completed your quartet of Phantom books, are you going to continue writing novels of a similar nature or venture into something entirely different. What does the future hold?
 
 
Sadie
I'm so glad that you remark on my style in particular. I have drafts of other novels. I think it might be fun to try my hand at a contemporary romance, one with a mature man and woman at its center. But my first order of business at this point is to publish Satin and Blood, my contemporary vampire romance.
 
I do know that even if I don't publish another novel, I will continue to write. It's what I do now.
 
 
Debra
Do you have any new projects in the works and if so, can you tell us a little bit about them?
 
Sadie
Even when I was in the midst of publishing the series, I always had a project that I was writing on the side. At present I am about 30,000 words into what might or might not turn out to be my eleventh novel.
 
Let me just say how much I appreciate this opportunity that Rosemarie has given me to talk about my novels and the time she put into making this interview possible. Thanks, too, to those of you who sent in questions.
 
 
The End