Yes, it was super cool.
I wanted to see the backstage to help shore up details for my Phantom book. For new readers, I’m writing an updating of The Phantom of the Opera, which will take place at the Santa Fe Opera House. I’ve only been as a member of the audience. My heroine, however, works backstage. Now, I’ve been fictionalizing my little heart out, but I really wanted a sense of the reality of backstage – even if I decided to disregard it.
The thing is, the opera only offers official backstage tours in the summertime. My manuscript is due April 1 (no joke). So, if I really wanted to see backstage before I finished writing the damn book, I needed to find Another Way.
And not breaking-in, either.
Although that would be fun, too.
I had done the obvious – called and emailed the contacts on the website. Nobody replied. Thus I began working connections. Santa Fe is not a big town and the influx of staff and performers for the summer opera season is substantial. Still, I had trouble finding someone who knew anyone.
Could be I don’t run in circles that are rarified enough.
Finally, after growing tired of hearing me whine about it, David suggested I ask our next-door neighbor if she had connections. Susan is a sculptor, but she’s also into the theater scene. Plus she’d been getting me to help her with her luminarias (this was before Christmas), so she totally owed me.
I asked her if she had a connection. She said she might and to nag her about it if she didn’t get back to me. She didn’t. But, a couple weeks after Christmas, she invited us over for dinner. Over the meal, we ended up talking about my recent book deals. When I told her about the Phantom e-serial and the subsequent three-book print deal with Kensington, she said “Wait – isn’t this a big deal? The kind of thing all writers want?!?”
Yes. Yes it is.
~does a little dance of gratitude~
I have had this conversation numerous times, with various people, by the way. But that’s another topic.
At any rate, she tells me she did mention my desire for a backstage tour to a friend who was connected, but the friend didn’t seem enthused. However, Susan hadn’t told her this was a Big Deal. So she gave me the gal’s email address and told me to write her and explain this wasn’t a whim on my part.
I emailed the gal. And heard nothing.
But, because my email address comes from my JeffeKennedy.com domain, it sometimes gets blocked or sent to spam. At the very least, it gives me the excuse to nag people in case this has happened. So, after a week of nothing, I resent the email from another account, apologizing if it was a double and explaining the possible spam thing.
This time she replied – though did not say if she’d gotten it before. She said that, “as she’d told Susan,” she couldn’t help me and to call the Press and Public Relations Office at the opera.
Yeah, I was kind of bummed. Sure I was back to the very beginning. But I called, since I hadn’t called that specific number before. And, lo and behold, the office director called me back. She sounded suspicious at first, but warmed quickly.
Of course they could give me a special tour, she says.
So, after two months of trying, I was in. And yesterday – after a couple of postponements – David and I went for the personal tour. I took lots of pictures, too.
I’ll still make a lot of stuff up, but it was great to soak up the feel of the place. Also, to ask my Many Questions.
That persistence thing, I tell you guys – it really pays off