We caught up with Kate Workman from New Jersey ahead of the May launch of her debut novel ‘Rendezvous at the Populaire’ in which a badly injured Sherlock Holmes is coaxed out of retirement to tackle the Phantom of the Opera. Kate explains that pitting two literary giants against each other was too tempting to resist.
What was the main inspiration for the book?
My main inspiration for Rendezvous at the Populaire was simply that I love the idea of Holmes and the Phantom not only matching wits, but potentially joining forces. They are both giants in the literary world and any novel that features them both has the making of one incredible novel.
Which is your favourite aspect of the book?
My favorite aspect of my novel was being able to get into Holmes’s and the Phantom’s heads. As Watson writes in the last segment, “The only thing I knew for sure was that Holmes and Erik understood one another. They were both remarkably similar men, outcasts of, yet so well-known within, their worlds.” Being able to write either about, or from the perspective of, these characters was an incredible, and incredibly challenging, experience.
Of all the Holmes stories which is your favourite and why?
Of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, I’d have to say The Final Problem and Hound of the Baskervilles. Of other authors, I think The Shadow of Reichenbach Falls by John R. King is my favorite.
When did you first become interested in Sherlock Holmes?
I was about ten and my dad showed me the movie Young Sherlock Holmes. I was hooked, but it was years later before I started reading Holmes stories and bought the Canon.
If you could meet Arthur Conan Doyle on his forthcoming birthday, what would you ask him?
I just finished reading The Sherlockian, by Graham Moore, which focuses on a period in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s life, so I would probably ask Conan Doyle how much in there is true. If Sherlock Holmes did become an absolutely hated character who overshadowed everything else Conan Doyle wrote and felt was of more merit than Holmes.
What are you reading at the moment?
I’m reading the first in a trilogy by Lisa Scottoline called Mistaken Identity.
What’s the best aspect of being a Holmes author?
Let’s be honest. Everyone who writes a novel using a character already in creation is basically writing fan fiction. At least, that’s how I look at it. And within that, the best part of writing this is the challenge of keeping the character ‘in character,’ while putting him in a situation that we think up.
How do you view the new adaptation of Holmes in the BBC’s Sherlock?
The BBC’s Sherlock is absolutely amazing. I love it, I think they did an incredible job modernizing Holmes, and I can’t wait till more episodes come out, because they left off on the worst (or possibly best) cliffhanger I’ve ever seen.
Which other modern day Holmes writer do you most enjoy?
John R. King, Laurie R. King, Sam Siciliano, and Edward B. Hanna.
Rendezvous at the Populaire is available from all good bookstores including Amazon, Amazon Kindle, Kobo and iBooks (iPad and iPhone).