Christopher has been with me for a while. I conceived of the character 20 years ago when I was thinking about a young professor who could guide my youthful protagonists on an adventure. Since then, he has been a mainstay in my writing, sometimes taking center stage, sometimes lurking in the background. Christopher comes from when and where I come from, which gives me some big advantages when writing about him. One of these is that he can haunt some of the same places that I have. I know, for example, that he spent a lot of time at the South Beach Arcade, was educated by nuns, went to Staten Island Technical High School, rode the S78 bus home from school, and bought comic books at Jim Hanley’s Universe. He can listen to the same music and live through the same events. But Christopher Salvatore is not an autobiographical character. Sure, like any writer I have borrowed some key events from my life, but these are few and far from the most formative.
I’ve put a lot of care into designing his personality to be split between archetypes. I hope that he is hard to pigeonhole. In fact, there are eight very different sides to Christopher Salvatore. These are his sub-personalities, at times simply referred to as his “parts.” These were carefully designed based on a psychological theory. But rather than picking one personality type for him, I have done my best to have him, in one way or another, represent them all.
Throughout out the first novel (Vanishing Places), these sub-personalities come into their own, each being the solution to a seemingly unsolvable problem. Being a fan of the fantasy genre and role-playing games, he has come to understand them through that filter, and their names reflect this.
- Wode, The Avenger. Christopher is a little bit of a tough-guy (he get’s this from his father who raised him to be a fighter). When challenged, he has a well of anger that he can draw on like fuel. At times, the suddenness of this aggression is shocking.
- Skek, The Scholar. Some people would definitely consider him to be a geek (with his straight A’s and his interest in comic books and roleplaying games.
- Loeth, The Trickster. Christopher sometimes misuses his intelligence to manipulate people, but more frequently to play practical jokes.
- Paladine, The Knight. But his misbehavior is limited by his passionate and his unique relationship with his Christian upbringing and his mother’s expectation of him to be a fundamentally moral person.
- Slyph, The Seeker. Like any young man, Christopher is at times overwhelmed by his infatuations. There is always a goddess of love in his life—a woman who inspires him and with whom he becomes obsessed. At times these romantic quests supersede all other priorities in his life.
- Lalaith, The Wanderer. Christopher has a fair amount of friends and seems to be able to attract loyal relationships, but he is also an introvert, prone to periods of wandering in his solitude. Maybe that’s riding buses, or being lost in his thoughts on the Staten Island Ferry.
- Raven, The Protector. At times, Christopher is prone to severe anxiety and phobia. It doesn’t seem to affect his life too severely, but it is as if his nature is to be frightened and he has, through training, forced himself to confront what he fears. He has the sense that there is something terrible that is about to happen to his world, and maybe he has to do something to stop it.
- Well as for the eighth part…that’s a bit more complicated. It has to do with a more healthy, mature, truer version of love (As opposed to his more sexually-oriented obsessions). This part is not fully formed in most of the stories but is manifested in the occasional appearance of a mysterious blue-haired girl.