#WritingMind: Creating a vampire from an actual historical figure's life
Remember a few posts ago, when I shared that John Wolfe (Maestro, Immortals #1) was based on a real-life composer from the 1700s? Let's talk about that!
When I set out to write a Vampire Romance Novel, I knew I had to do something to make it different. Vampires have been sooo popular in the romance world that, for a long time, I'd decided I wouldn't bother writing one. Then, one day, I had the idea for Maestro. I was watching a music video (which I'll share below) when I realized I had a vampire just waiting for me to notice him and tell his story.
It wasn't just any vampire, though. It was Johann Chrysostom Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Yeah. THAT Mozart.
That was five years ago. I had a vague idea of the story and what I wanted to do with it. At that time, though, I was writing Swept Away and was fairly engulfed in the world of pirates and time travel. As you may or may not know, that went on for quite a few years and eight books total! With that (and a few other stories that snuck their way into my schedule), Mozart and his fangs got pushed to the side for several years. All I had were a few songs on a writing playlist and an image of him with bloody fangs.
Detailed, I know 😂
With the finishing of The Swept Away Saga and my other projects (The Lost in Time Duet, Shot Through Time, am I forgetting any others??), I started looking toward projects that had gotten pushed back. Maestro (originally titled Night Music) was one of the ones I settled on. Having Mozart as one of the main characters felt like a fresh take on a vampire story to me. Plus, my love of history made me super excited to bring an aspect of "time travel" into the story.
So began the research into Mozart's life! I started with a few Google searches, as one does. Checked out the museum links in Vienna dealing with him. Used Google Earth to "visit" his home. Basically, I turned into a Mozart stalker 😂😂😂
Google wasn't enough for me, though. I hit up the Bookmans Book Store in Flagstaff (I live in the middle of nowhere, remember, so I got to take a fun trip as well!) and Amazon's Kindle store. I came away with a few books, as well as a documentary on Amazon Prime. Over the next couple of weeks, I watched and read everything I could get my hands on, learning what Mozart sounded like, examining his opinions and accomplishments. My house became a classical music center (let's be honest, it was a bit of one to begin with. I have pretty varied music tastes, haha).
I could write pages about Mozart's life, but I'm going to focus on his death for the purposes of this post. I am turning him into a vampire, after all!
Mozart passed away at the age of 35 in 1791, possibly of rheumatic fever. Whatever ailed him, it was definitely inflammatory. His last words were to one of his students, as he attempted to relay what the timpani line of one of his compositions should sound like. At that time, he was already considered one of the greatest composers of all time. Still, he was buried in a mass, unmarked grave, as was the custom of the time.
So, how do we go from a historical child prodigy with a definite death date and cause to a "living" vampire in the twenty-first century?
We look at some of the rumors surrounding his death, of course!
One of the biggest mysteries surrounding Mozart is the story of how he was set upon by a masked man one evening. This man refused to identify himself but ordered Mozart to write a death mass for him, disappearing into the night without another word. After Mozart's death, this spawned all sorts of stories, including poisoning by his student who wished to steal the composition and claim they wrote it. In all likelihood, it was probably a nobleman who wished to claim the work as his own as well. The composition Mozart was working on at the time of his death was, in fact, the mass the masked figure commissioned. Lacrimosa (shared below) is the last piece fully written by Mozart, as the rest of the mass was finished by his students.
In the Immortals world, vampirism works a bit differently than your regular, run of the mill vampirism. We'll get to that in another post ☺ That being said, in this story of the masked man, I found my chance to have an actual, historical figure have a run-in with a vampire. The Mozart the world knows and loves passed away, and I set to work crafting over two hundred years of history for a fictional version. By the time I reached the twenty-first century, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had transformed into John Wolfe.
John Wolfe is a man who has Mozart's core thoughts and beliefs, though he's been changed significantly because of what he went through after Mozart's death. He has gone by many names, fought in wars, traveled the world, heard music he never could have dreamed of, and made sure to keep his true identity a secret from everyone. He has lost everything, gained more than he could have imagined, and suffered like only someone cursed with immortality can.
So, when you pick up Maestro, know that John will not be the same child prodigy you know of. He will be his own man, with roots built in the past, and a future that is closely tangled with that of April Takahashi, a woman about to tumble into his life as no one else has.
Be sure to add Maestro (Immortals #1) to your Goodreads shelf, and check back often for more information on when it will be released!