Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sense or Sensation: Revisiting Stories That First Stole Your Heart

Today on the blog I'm just thrilled to introduce Jami Jean Welebob. She describes herself as a " a writer of historical horror and irredeemably bloody romance." She is a hoot and I'm happy to more info on her below. 

Sense or Sensation: Revisiting Stories That First Stole Your Heart

Let it be known that I, the professional charlatan, am very much in touch with my inner child.  Not only does this serve me well in earning my daily bread, but being able to connect with those first feelings of pure delight continues to inspire and enhance my passion for storytelling.  Yet, as are all of us who are doomed to roam this earth, I have grown up.  My tastes have grown more sophisticated.  I appreciate, and in many ways prefer, the various shades of grey in which I see the world now as opposed to the rigid black and white of my youth.  Thus, my fiction has matured in this manner. 
Recently, however, one of my first loves has returned.  The Phantom of the Opera, the musical, celebrated its 25th anniversary with spectacular fanfare and a lavish restaging.  Needless to say, I was intrigued.  Phantom introduced me to my first love triangle and the idea that romance isn’t always a beautiful thing.  It had been so long since I had given any serious thought to the story or score.  Suddenly the mere suggestion (aka flashy advertisement) incited a burning desire to visit my first love once again.
Phantom was every bit as beautiful a production as I remembered.  The updated effects were well placed, such as the addition of screens instead of relying on small mirrors and improved pyrotechnics.  The soaring music made my spine tingle, and I was a 13-year-old girl all over again by the end of Christine’s operatic debut, “Think of Me.”  Enraptured, I watched the Phantom lead her down into the bowels of the opera house.  I sat alongside them in the gondola gliding across the misty lake.  I could almost feel the Phantom tentatively caressing me as he held Christine close during “Music of the Night.”  And I could feel the excitement as Christine reached out and lifted his mask.  Then my childhood idols came crashing down.  The Phantom confronts Christine singing, “Fear can turn to love.  You’ll learn to see to find the man behind the monster. . .”  I realized that the Phantom was a stalker!  As the musical progressed, none of the characters behaved with the nuances I remembered.  Christine, instead of being torn between mysterious excitement and the comforts of a traditional love affair, appeared kind of ditzy.  What the hell was she really feeling?  There was no indication of conflict.  She seemed truly afraid of the Phantom most of the time and rather ambivalent about Raoul outside of his ability to protect her.  This did not create dramatic tension, for the choice was far too obvious.  No one would choose fear.  This was not the complex situation of fraught tragic figures I remembered. 
So what does all of this mean beyond confirming that I am indeed growing old?  Overall, I still enjoyed the musical as much as ever.  It was an opportunity to figure out what the real hooks were for me in this classic love story.  As it turns out, sensation wins out over sense in this case.  If you can craft a beautiful enough fa├žade, your audience will overlook a million weaknesses in your characters and plot and if they are like me, return again and again for more.  Of course fog machines, fireworks, and a full orchestra helped The Phantom of the Opera; while all storytellers have to work with is words.  Writing is a solitary task.  Enjoy, as I do, wielding ultimate power over the worlds you create without having to worry over a budget, collaborate with composers, or placate prissy prima donnas.  Just remember that it is up to you alone to command the love of your readers. 
If you’d like to hear more about my adventures, the true, the untrue, and the many in-betweens, please visit my blog, The Professional Charlatan, or friend me, Jamie Jean Welebob Craven, on Facebook or follow me via LinkedIn.  

A former Army brat, Christine Hughes moved quite often. She spent much of her time losing herself in books and creating stories about many of the people she'd met. Falling in love with literature was easy for her and she majored in English while attending college in New Jersey.
Not sure where her love of reading and writing fit, she became a middle school English teacher. After nine years of teaching others to appreciate literature, she decided to take the plunge and write her first novel. Now at home focusing on making writing her new career, she spends her time creating characters and plot points instead of grading papers.

Music has become an integral part of her writing process and without the proper play list, Hughes finds the words don't flow. At least a few times a week she can be found at the local Barnes & Noble with her Mac and headphones working on her next novel. Her YA novel Torn will be released by Black Opal Books in June 2012.

3 Interesting Facts:
1. I attended 13 different schools, including college, due to my family’s military relocations.
2.     I met my husband when I was 14.
3.     My favorite book of all time is Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.

When Samantha's father dies and she he was an angel because of what he was protecting,  she must join the fight between two groups of fallen angels, the Faithful and the Exiled, in a race to save humanity. In spite of the unforgivable betrayal of her best friend, the newly acknowledged love for her guardian angel, the face to face confrontation of the dark angel who killed her father and the growing need to allow darkness to take over her being, Samantha has been charged making the choice between fighting alongside the Faithful or succumbing to the darkness of the Exiled.

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