Written and Illustrated by Jacqueline Collen-Tarrolly

Behind the Mask

What made me write this novella? Am I a mad, obsessed Phantom of the Opera “phan”? Not really. I do love the story, but I love all tragic love stories, this one no more than any other of it’s ilk: Lance and Gwen, Romeo and Juliet, Kermit and Miss Piggy. No, it was really a very happy accident. One of the cable stations was showing the 2004 Motion Picture of it one evening and loving the music, and having not seen the film before, only the stage production, I watched it.
The next day a Facebook friend and I were talking about it, and we were in agreement that a sequel needed to be written that did not, in fact, turn the majority of the characters into people we didn’t like. In about 30 seconds I had an idea laid out that acheived that end. She encouraged me to write it, I demurred. A full length book was NOT in the grander scheme at that time in my life. I had plenty on my plate as it was. But on my way home that evening the first two lines of the prologue were born fully grown and armed to the teeth in my head like Athena from Zeus’s skull. Once that happens, in my vividly creative world, its all over, as they say.
I had to write it.
The entire story was laid out, including all loose ends tied up and every major characters’ personalities and histories developed, in about 48 hours. The rough draft took me another 10 days to finish.
The writing was the easy part. Now it had to be revised, formatted for print, illustrated, a website built to promote it, and in all other ways made ready for publishing.
Writing this novella was definitely not in my plan, and in some ways it felt like I was possessed by the spirit of the Phantom himself. It’s been a night and day odyssey that has taken over my life during it’s creation. But it has been a journey as amazing as Sophie’s own and I have fallen a little in love wth Eric myself on this adventure.

All I can wish for now is that you do too.

-Jacqueline

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