Challenges & Surprises in Modernizing the Classic Novel – A Guest Post by Jeffe Kennedy

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We’d like to thank both Jeffe Kennedy and Bewitching Book Tours for letting us participate in this tour event. To see all of the blogs involved, please click HERE.

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 Challenges & Surprises in Modernizing the Classic Novel

By Jeffe Kennedy

The gals here asked me to talk about challenges and surprises I encountered in adapting the classic Phantom of the Opera story into my modern retelling, Master of the Opera.

Actually, they gave me several possible topics, which I really love because it helps me to know what readers want to hear about. I picked this one because I did encounter a very interesting challenge I had not expected when I started the project.

Of course I knew the story well – most of us do! Christine Diée, the ingénue with a brilliant voice, gets her big break. She also attracts the attention of two men: her childhood sweetheart, Raoul and Erik, the theater ghost. It’s a haunting and romantic story. I wanted to play with it, to explore more of what happens between Christine and the Phantom.

I always knew I’d write it from Christine’s point of view (POV). First of all, I usually write from the heroine’s POV and secondly, it’s the natural choice for this sort of romance. Of course we’re most interested in her experience.

We want to be Christine, don’t we? At least for a little while.

But here’s where I encountered problems. Both Gaston Laroux’s book and Andrew Lloyed Webber’s musical (even the movie versions, which aren’t much worth mentioning) are all really told from the male perspective.

I suppose we should have known this, right? All of those creators are male.

Still, I didn’t really realize it until I tried to get into Christine’s head and discovered that I had no idea where she came from on all of this. Why did she make the choices she did? We don’t really know because, to the male creators, Christine was a trophy.

Think about it – she’s basically a doll. Lovely, sings, performs, is gratifyingly yanked about, but who she is becomes largely irrelevant. The way those tales are told, everything is about what the others want. The Phantom wants to possess her. Raoul wants pretty much the same thing, though he’s more noble about it. The theater owners have a stake in her performance. Carlotta is competitive with her. Even Madame Giry and Little Meg, who are her friends, have more clear motivations that Christine does.

So, I knew where to start with her, which still wasn’t easy to write. Christine – my Christy, to begin with – isn’t dumb, but she is naïve. She’s been sheltered, has little real world experience and she’s plagued by old fears and insecurities. When confronted by these very powerful male personalities, she’s not quite up to dealing with it. They want to make her their trophy.

My Christine, however, is no trophy.

It takes her some time – and both men bring out different aspects of her – but she finds her own power. In doing so, she brought other magical aspects into the story that I didn’t expect. Which is good. I was happy to see Christine adding her own to the story.

She’s far more than someone’s pretty doll.

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About the Series:

MotO-Book1Master Of The Opera

Act 1: Passionate Overture

Date Published: January 2, 2014

Publisher: eKensington

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In the first tantalizing installment of Jeffe Kennedy’s ravishing serial novel Master of the Opera, an innocent young woman is initiated into a sensual world of music, mystery, passion–and one man’s private obsession. . .

Fresh out of college, Christine Davis is thrilled to begin a summer internship at the prestigious Santé Fe Opera House. But on her first day, she discovers that her dream job has a dark side. Beneath the theater, a sprawling maze of passageways are rumored to be haunted. Ghostly music echoes through the halls at night. And Christy’s predecessor has mysteriously disappeared. Luckily, Christy finds a friend and admirer in Roman Sanclaro, the theater’s wealthy and handsome patron. He convinces her there’s nothing to fear–until she hears the phantom’s voice for herself. Echoing in the labyrinths. Singing of a lost love. Whispering her name: Christine.

At first, Christy thinks she’s hearing things. But when a tall masked man steps out of the shadows–and into her arms–she knows he’s not a phantom of her imagination. He is the master of her desire. . .

***

MotO-Book2Master Of The Opera

Act 2: Ghost Aria

Release Date: January 16, 2014

Publisher: eKensington

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In the second seductive installment of Jeffe Kennedy’s thrilling Master of the Opera, a young woman falls deeper under the spell of the man who haunts her dreams, fuels her desire, and demands her surrender…

With each passing day of her internship at the Santé Fe Opera House, Christine Davis discovers something new, something exciting—and something frightening. Hidden in the twisting labyrinths beneath the theater is a mysterious man in a mask who, Christy’s convinced, is as real as the rose he left on her desk—and as passionate as the kiss that burns on her lips. He tells her to call him “Master,” and Christy can’t deny him. But when her predecessor—a missing intern—is found dead, Christy wonders if she’s playing with fire…

If her phantom lover is actually a killer, how can she continue to submit to his dark, erotic games? And if he is innocent, how can she resist—or refuse—when he demands nothing less than her body and soul?

***

MotO-Book3Master Of The Opera

Act 3: Phantom Serenade

Release Date: February 6, 2014

Publisher: eKensington

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In the third enticing installment of Jeffe Kennedy’s enthralling Master of the Opera, a woman finds herself torn between two powerful lovers—and one reckless passion that leaves her aching for more…

After a harrowing night trapped in the tunnels beneath the Santé Fe Opera House, intern Christy Davis finds comfort in the arms of Roman Sanclaro, the opera’s wealthy and gorgeous benefactor. But even as Roman tries to impress her with his lavish lifestyle—and seduce her with his charms—Christy cannot stop obsessing over her other, clandestine lover. Hidden in the labyrinths below, a mysterious masked man has become the master of her desires: a sensual but commanding partner who pushes Christy to the very brink of erotic pleasure…and beyond. No other man can compare. But somewhere, watching from the shadows, a fiercely jealous rival threatens to destroy the erotic secret they share.

Haunted by doubts, deception, and danger, Christy must choose between the warnings in her mind, the feelings in her heart…and the wild, forbidden yearnings that set her body on fire.

***

MotO-Book4Master Of The Opera

Act 4: Dark Interlude

Release Date: February 20, 2014

Publisher: eKensington

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In the fourth fiery installment of Jeffe Kennedy’s scintillating Master of the Opera, a woman surrenders—body and soul—to the one man who is everything she desires, everything she craves, and, possibly, everything she fears…

Reeling from the discovery of a dead body in the Santé Fe Opera House, intern Christy Davis is forced to reassess the strange, erotically-charged relationship she’s forged with the mysterious masked man who lives in the labyrinths below. Could her masterful lover be capable of murder, and worse? Perhaps it was the thrill of danger that drew Christy to him in the first place—like a moth to the flame—instead of a more conventional romance with the opera house’s handsome benefactor, Roman. For the sake of her sanity, she must at least give Roman a chance. But for the love of her master, she must give in to every wild fantasy, every wicked game, and every whim he commands…

Is Christy prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice? To surrender her heart, her soul, her everything? First she must acknowledge the truth: a woman in love can serve only one master…

***

MotO-Book5Master Of The Opera

Act 5: A Haunting Duet

Release Date: March 06, 2014

Publisher: eKensington

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In the fifth erotically charged installment of Jeffe Kennedy’s scorching Master of the Opera, a daring young woman follows her reckless desire for the perfect lover—to the point of no return. . .

He is more than just the man of her dreams. He is the master of her destiny. A mysterious masked stranger who haunts the darkened tunnels beneath the Santé Fe Opera House, the Master is like no other lover Christy has ever known. He has lured the beautiful intern to the very brink of ecstasy—and beyond. He has pushed the boundaries of her sensuality and tested the limits of her passion. But now the Master wants more. If Christy accepts his challenge, she must be willing to go further than she’s ever gone. She must surrender to his every desire. She must submit to his every command. She must expose herself body and soul—or bear the scars of a broken heart forever. . .

Tonight is the night she must make a choice: to free herself from one man’s obsession. . .or bind herself to him for life.

***

MotO-Book6Master Of The Opera

Act 6: Crescendo

Release Date: March 20, 2014

Publisher: eKensington

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In the sixth and final installment of Jeffe Kennedy’s sizzling Master of the Opera, a man and a woman risk everything they’ve ever loved—for the most dangerous passion they’ve ever known. . .

Caught in a web of secrets and lies, Christy Davis has come under the suspicion of the local police. Since becoming an intern at the Santé Fe Opera House, she has witnessed strange occurrences in the underground tunnels. She has heard inexplicable whispers in the shadows after midnight. And she has found the lover of her dreams in the masked man who lives down below. But after the discovery of a dead body and other sinister events, Christy realizes that her life is in danger. Two men hold her fate in their hands: Roman, the opera house’s wealthy benefactor who uses his money and power to control her. And the masked maestro known as the Master who demands her surrender and commands her pleasure with each stroke. Both want her; only one can have her. . .

In a rising crescendo of madness, obsession, and lust, Christy must take a chance and follow her heart—to a breathtaking climax as powerful as love itself.

All books can be found at eKensington.com

About the Author:

JeffeKennedyJeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author with a writing career that spans decades. Her fantasy BDSM romance, Petals and Thorns, originally published under the pen name Jennifer Paris, has won several reader awards. Sapphire, the first book in the Facets of Passion series, has placed first in multiple romance contests and the follow-up, Platinum, is climbing the charts. 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.

She is currently working on Master of the Opera and The Twelve Kingdoms, a fantasy trilogy.

Jeffe lives in Santa Fe, with two Maine coon cats, a border collie, plentiful free-range lizards and a Doctor of Oriental Medicine. Jeffe can be found online at her website: JeffeKennedy.com or every Sunday at the popular Word Whores blog.

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Posted on January 13, 2014, in Authors. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Thanks for hosting me!