A legend lives on in paperback novel
But now Kraft, the daughter of Roger and Marie Hashem, formerly of Milano, has published a continuation of a classic musical tales w ith “The Opera Ghost Lives.”
Kraft will sell and sign books for area readers at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Milano High School cafeteria as part of the MHS Exes Reunion luncheon.
IS HE DEAD OR NOT– For book fans and fans of the legendary Phantom of the Opera, Kraft’s story provides a continuation of the Gaston Leroux tale in which Erik falls in love with Christine.
After becoming obsessed with the story, Kraft read the original book and believes that gave her insight into how Erik’s character would have lived after the story was completed.
“Most people are familiar with the way the movie and musical ends but I tried to stay true to the book, yet incorporate my own ideas at the same time,” Kraft said.
“I was watching the movie and two or three hours later, I don’t know what happened,” she said. She figured out how she would adapt her story from the original book, then poured herself into the writing process.
“It was so much fun writing — I would stay up all night writing and the story just came out of me,” she said. “Only once did I hit a road bump, but I prayed about it and I think that’s why it came easily after that.”
CHARACTER LIVES– She said she worked some of her family’s traits into the characters.
“The character of Gaston was inspired by my father,” she said. “He was and still is a man that would put what was right above and beyond what others thought or what repercussion he would have to withstand in the face of his decisions.”
Many locals would agree with that assertion, having watched the political career of the former Milam County judge and Milano High School principal.
She said her characters Chester and Meg were patterned after her mother’s parents, “good salt of the earth people that wanted more for their kids than what they had but never wanted or needed to obtain more in order to be happy.”
And she said the character of Amalie is a lot like herself, “or the way I used to be, seeing everything in black and white.” Kraft said she felt she grew personally during the writing of this book.
HER OWN TALE– Kraft ad mit s some of t he rabid “Phans” of the movie and musical may not like it.
“They may want him to be with Christine, but that’s okay,” she said. “If others don’t want to come along for the journey, I’m fine with that. Everyone has their own ideas about how Erik’s story should end. I chose to write mine down and share it.”
Kraft said she was shaped by growing up in Milano and wants to share her love of writing with friends in the area. Growing up with parents as educators helped form a love of the written word.
Compassion also plays a big part of the story.
As one reviewer wrote: “The first novel by author Ann M. Kraft gives a fresh perspective on how a man in his late forties whose face is disfigured has come to a place in his life where nothing has turned out the way he believes it should have or has planned. It deals with prejudice, redemption, forgiveness, friendship, betrayal, trust and loving someone completely in spite of everything you can see from the outside.”