Posted by jkennedy at Dec 23, 2013 4:11 am in FF&P, Jeffe Kennedy, On Writing Romance, Opera, Opera houses
A year ago, I had just sold to Kensington on an unwritten concept. I contracted with them to write an eSerial that would be a modern, erotic retelling of The Phantom of the Opera. I planned to set the story at the Santa Fe Opera House ******** , a place I’ve been numerous times, as an audience member.
What I really wanted to see was the backstage area.
See, a huge part of the creepy factor of Phantom, and what I wanted for my version, Master of the Opera, is the labyrinthine levels below the opera house. I managed to visit the opera house gift shop before Christmas last year – because the gal who runs it agreed to meet me there specially – and I bought gifts for my editor and agent there. But the Santa Fe Opera House is seasonal and it was closed for the winter. The gift shop gal told me she’d heard there are many deep levels, however.
This thrilled me. My opera house had to have something like the Paris catacombs of the original legend.
She gave me a lead for someone who might be willing to give me an off-season tour – the book was due March 1 and I couldn’t wait until spring – but no one would be reachable until mid-January.
Meanwhile, I needed to write the book. I’m a beginning-to-end writer, so created my version of the opera house as my heroine did. My Christine is an apprentice in charge of the unwieldy and eclectic inventory of props and sets. She spends a lot of time in the deep, dark and twisting corridors below the opera house, searching for various trophies (magic flute, anyone??) and trudging up and down a central spiral staircase. I figured that, once I saw the real thing, I’d wrap in those details.
Finally, in late January, I scored a private tour!
On a sunny, chilly winter afternoon, we braved the depths of the opera house. In many ways, the reality did feed the story. I took pictures and notes, adding in gothic details of the larger-than-life sets.
In another way, however…mine was so much better.
I ended up keeping my version instead. And I figured, I get to, right? This is part of the license of fiction-writing. Even more – the power of writing in the paranormal realm. My version of the Santa Fe Opera House half exists in a magical realm, a place that connects to other worlds, where the Phantom comes to life in a vivid, real and sensual way.
It’s funny to remember that tour now, as my Master of the Opera comes out starting January 2. I feel like time has looped back and overlapped. In many ways, the story is more real to me now.
The magic of making things up!
Jeffe Kennedy’s Bio
Jeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author with a writing career that spans decades. Her works include non-fiction, poetry, short fiction, and novels. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. Her essays have appeared in many publications, including Redbook.
Her most recent works include three fiction series: the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns, the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion, and the post-apocalyptic vampire erotica of the Blood Currency. A contemporary e-Serial, Master of the Opera, will be released in January. A fourth series, the fantasy trilogy The Twelve Kingdoms, will hit the shelves in 2014. A spin-off story from this series, Negotiation, appears in the recently-released Thunder on the Battlefield anthology. Her newest book, Five Golden Rings, came out as part of the erotic holiday anthology, Season of Seduction, in late November.
She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, a border collie, plentiful free-range lizards and a very handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.
Jeffe can be found online at her website: JeffeKennedy.com, every Sunday at the popular Word Whores blog, on Facebook, and pretty much constantly on Twitter @jeffekennedy. She is represented by Pam van Hylckama Vlieg of Foreword Literary.
This entry was posted in General Interest and tagged art, Jeffe Kennedy, Ucross Foundation, Writers Residency on December 11, 2013 by Jeffe Kennedy.