Q: How did you first become involved with the "Phantom of the Opera" story?
Is there a certain version that is your favourite?
A: It's really interesting how I first got involved with Phantom. I was sleeping, and as usual my husband had our TV on (which absolutely drives me nuts, but I have learned to live with it. ;) Anyway, I was in that half-asleep, half-awake mode, when I heard the most beautiful music. I finally woke and sat up in bed and found myself looking straight at Erik on television. It was a morning news show in Louisville showing a clip of Grant Norman as Erik, and he was singing Music of the Night. That was in 1994. I had never heard of Phantom or of that song before that, but needless to say, it's been my favorite song ever since. I was hooked.
You know, I really prefer the Lowell Blair translation of Phantom. I like his word choice; I just think it's more powerful. I've read other translations that aren't nearly as colorful as his. Also, I have a book called "The Essential Phantom of the Opera," and it's one of my favorites as well. The editor really goes into a deep analysis of Erik and Christine and what happens in the book. This is a must-have book for anyone doing a school research paper on Phantom.
Q: How did "Progeny" come about? Was it more of a 'spur of the moment'
writing or did you take a lot of time to plan it out and rehash it?
A: Well, after I heard Grant Norman on the morning news show, I fell in love with Phantom. A few days later I was in a record store with a friend of mine, and I saw the double CD, so I immediately bought it and fell in love with Michael Crawford's voice. He has been, and I suppose always will be, Erik to me.
A few years after I first saw Phantom (I was a real junkie by that time, touring around the country whenever possible to see the show in other cities), I bought another Michael Crawford CD. I can't remember the name, but it's one where Michael sings "Bring Him Home." Well, that was Erik to me, singing about his son. That was the inspiration for Progeny. I suddenly wondered what really would have gone on in the lair when Christine returned to Erik. My mind kind of went nuts, and I saw all these flashes of scenes in my head, and I knew I had to write that book. I had written three previous romance novels, so I wasn't a stranger to writing a book.
|Cover of "Progeny"|
Now Phantasy, my second POTO novel, was different. Where Progeny just flowed and was completed in about a month, Phantasy took me a good year to finish. That's because I suddenly got involved with singing and acting (I was in numerous musicals that year and several years following that), and so I didn't have as much time to write. Also, Phantasy just didn't seem to flow along like Progeny--I actually had to stop at certain points in Phantasy and think of where I wanted the book to go.
Q: What is it about your story that makes it different from the others?
A: It's very well written! ROTFL Seriously, it is well written, and it's complete and thorough. Also, I think I have a good grasp on these characters and what they really would do in certain situations. For example, I've read other phanfic and POTO novels (I won't name them here) where, for example, the author has Erik do something, and I sometimes think, "Well, no, Erik wouldn't do that." To me, that means the author just doesn't have a grasp on the character--he or she just doesn't know the character well enough. BUT, I have also added dimensions to the characters that make them more real. For example, a lot of phanfic depicts Christine as just weak and wishy-washy. Well, there aren't many people in the world who are ONLY weak and wishy-washy. Most people who seem mild-mannered do possess that trait, but believe me, they usually have things that will bring them out of that and you see the more firm side of them. My Christine is "real" in that she is very Christine-like with Erik, but once she is out of that setting, she isn't necessarily that way. For example, in Progeny, you can tell from the servants that Christine is in charge at the Chateau de Chagny; she assumes that manner at the chateau. It's something she would have developed after years of being the Count de Chagny's wife. Also, when it comes to Christian, the reader can easily see she's the boss. That makes her real. I do the same with my other characters as well.
In addition, Progeny has a very good, solid plot. It follows the lives of Erik, Christine, Raoul, and their son (or is he?), Christian de Chagny, over a certain period of time. Progeny doesn't attempt to cover years and years of time, but a shorter amount of time, possibly a year, which gave me the opportunity to delve more deeply into the events and show them unfolding rather than having to spend time telling the reader what happened.
Q: How did you get your book published?
A: I submitted Progeny to the publisher, iuniverse.com, and the company agreed to publish it. Now, I didn't get any money up-front--I only get a portion of the book's sales. Such is the poor life of a new author. LOL
Q: How is it selling on the internet now? Are there any 'book signings' in
the future for you?
A: My agent, a very good friend of mine, has worked out one book signing at Books A Million in Louisville, Ky., but a date hasn't been set for it yet. I'm also appearing on morning news shows in Louisville to promote the book, and a radio interview has been scheduled on a weekend talk show.
Progeny is doing very well on the internet. Now, I don't know exactly how many copies have sold yet because I will only get quarterly reports from iuniverse, and the next quarter doesn't end until the end of July. I know that on amazon.com, among books with the word "Progeny" in their title, Proge ny is No. 2 in sales. That's pretty darn good. I believe it is No. 3 at www.bn.com. Of all the places to order it, amazon.com seems to be the quickest.
|The author, Becky Meadows|
Q: Do you have any plans to write another 'Phantom'-based book?
A: Actually, I have begun work on a novel tracing Christine's life. I've begun with her parents (whom I'm sure you all will love), and I will take this novel up to the point where Progeny begins, so I suppose this is a "prequel" to Progeny. I started it as my project for my Master of Arts in English degree from the University of Louisville, and I have finished three chapters of it so far. I haven't worked on it in a while, though, because now I am singing country music, and have a band, etc., so I've been busy with our gigs. We're playing several county fairs this summer, among other places. Come to think of it, there isn't much that I don't do! ;)
Q: Do you have any advice to aspiring authors who want to write their
version of the story? Some tips on what to and not to do?
A: Hmmmm. Write it. That's the best advice I can give to anyone. If there's a book inside you, get it out. Sometimes that means shutting yourself up inside a room and daring the world outside to bother you, but if that's what it takes, then so be it. Also, don't write with the intention of selling. If you do that, you'll edit yourself to death before you get the product out. The first and most important step is to get it out. When I write a novel, I don't edit until I've finished the entire book, and then I print out a hard copy and hand edit.
Also, be careful about using the stereotypical qualities everyone has assigned to Erik and Christine. (Do whatever you want with Raoul--nobody cares. LOL) And if it's at all possible, take a Creative Writing class at a local college or through a community education class. I learned to write novels from a wonderful author of several romance novels during a summer class I took with a friend of mine. I didn't learn my writing technique--that comes with practice--but I did learn what it takes to finish a book. Believe me, there's no feeling in the world like holding your finished novel in your hand (with the exception of performing a wonderful country music concert. LOL) All the half-written chapters in the world are no good if you can't finish the book.
Also, let the characters go. Don't always sit and try to make them do things. Let them decide on their own what they'll do. Watch them in your mind as you write, and just record what they do.
And remember, if it's your first novel, don't expect it to be stellar. Very few people write a wonderful novel the first time. Progeny was actually my fourth book--the first three were typical romance novels (all very dear to me, by the way.) Writing a good book takes practice. It usually doesn't just happen overnight.
I guess that's it! I'm always happy to help aspiring authors any way I can, so please, if you have any other specific questions, email me at OperaGal9@aol.com.
Also, I have a phan club, and would love to have anyone who has read the novels (or is a country music fan--my country music photos as Foxx are on the phan club page as well) to join! There's no cost, and that's the page where I keep everyone posted on what I'm doing next. To join, go to: http://clubs.yahoo.com/clubs/beckymeadowsphanclub. Again, it doesn't cost a thing. You don't even get club email unless you request it.
Where can you buy Progeny? (Phantasy is currently not available.)
Barnes and Noble