Q: Can you say more about the choice of Mycroft Holmes rather than Sherlock Holmes as the main character, and why did you settle upon Mycroft as a young man?--Marshal Zeringue
A: Well, again, I didn't choose Mycroft — that was all Kareem. As much as he loves Sherlock the sleuth, he was even more taken with the idea of his brother, a strategist and diplomat, someone who had (or will have...if we're allowed to write some sequels!) his finger on the pulse of the British government, which at the time was the most powerful country in the world.
Mycroft has already become a bit of a Machiavelli in this book — and will have to become even more so, in order to negotiate the deep waters of political/government intrigue that he'll be facing. Kareem has a passion for all things history and a good knowledge of it, so the Victorian era is a perfect era for him: he's a kid in a candy store.
We decided on Mycroft as a young man because we didn't want to start him as the obese curmudgeon that he is in his 40s, when Conan Doyle first introduces him to the world. We'd like the chance to explain how he became that person.
As I've said several times, picture old Marlon Brando. Now picture young Marlon Brando. That's what we were going for. It's not that much of a stretch for someone to be handsome and athletic in his youth and be...less so as he ages, and I hope the purists will...[read on]