Interview with Davonna Juroe, Author of 'Scarlette'

Scarlette
Scarlette
by Davonna Juroe
Publisher: BumbleB Media, Inc.
Release Date: October 12, 2012

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Find the Beast ~ Find the Cure

Scarlette, an 18-year-old peasant, lives under a dark threat. A nightmarish creature lurks in the surrounding forest, killing the villagers one by one. When Scarlette's grandmother survives an attack, Scarlette learns that her grandmother hasn't suffered the bite of just any normal animal.

Now desperate, Scarlette searches throughout her province to find a cure. But there are those who want to keep their pasts hidden. As she begins to uncover the dark secrets of her village, Scarlette is befriended by a local nobleman and a woodcutter who share a gruesome history with the beast. To save her grandmother, Scarlette must unravel their mystery and solve an age-old crime. But as she pieces together the clues, Scarlette finds herself torn between the two men, both of whom want to be more than friends and hold the key to the cure.

What if Little Red Riding Hood was Real?

Based on both the Grimm and Perrault versions of Little Red Riding Hood and set against the terrifying, historic Beast of Gévaudan attacks, this dark YA retelling blends two epic legends, giving the fabled girl-in-the-red-cloak a new, shockingly real existence.

Interview

What inspired you to write Scarlette
Once upon a time, during a snowy day in January 2010, I was drinking a hot cup of tea and working on an ultra hip Japanese cross-stitch pattern. (The Asian designer Kyoko MaruokaGeradraws inspiration from fairy tale scenes. The Little Red Riding Hood pattern happened to catch my eye, and I bought it right away to work on.)

While I was stitching, some questions came to mind: What if LRRH had really lived? And wouldn't it be cool to retell the tale but make the wolf in the story a werewolf?

Little did I know that those questions were about to take me on an epic journey. One where I'd discover the rich history of the Little Red Riding Hood story and stumble upon one of the most famous alleged werewolves of all time.

Charles Perrault
I began researching the fairy tale right away and was surprised to find many different versions. One of them was a French rendition called The Grandmother where the wolf in the tale was really a werewolf! I then hoped to find a historical event to use as a backdrop to make the fairy tale seem like it could've really happened in time. 

After pawing around, I discovered something truly horrifying. Some sixty years after French author and aristocrat Charles Perrault penned his version of Little Red Riding Hood in 1697, nearly one hundred people were ferociously mauled by an unidentified wolf-like creature in the Gévaudan province of France.

Rumors blended with superstition, and the terrified peasantry blamed the attacks on a werewolf. This creature was then named: The Beast of Gévaudan. I knew right there that I had my werewolf. And it made further sense to set the YA in France, based on the rich background there surrounding LRRH.

The Beast of Gévaudan
The rest as they say is YA storytelling history. ;)

When did you start writing?
I've been writing since elementary school. I saved a lot of "books" which I used to make. One I have is from 6th grade and was a story, with illustrations, about a family being overtaken by picnic ants during an outing in the park. Fun times! Loads of princess and fairy stories as well. I always seemed to be in some type of fantasy world. Probably because I grew up right next to Disneyland and was a frequent visitor.

Who was your favorite character to write?
I'd have to say Francois. That man always has to have a comeback for everything my main character Scarlette says or does. It was fun to think of scenarios that the two characters would be in and work backwards, fitting in Francois' snark.

Scarlette is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood! Why did you choose this classic fairytale?
The Little Mermaid statue

I really do love fairy tales; to the point that when I was little, I wished somehow they could've been real. I was that little girl sitting at the edge of a beach, lake, or pool dreaming and pretending to be The Little Mermaid. Little Red Riding Hood just happened to literally be right in front of my face when the idea for the retelling struck me.



Scarlette is also based on the Perrault version of Little Red Riding Hood. Could you describe this version for those that may not know the historical side of the fairytale?
There are different versions from various countrieseven Asiawith some predating the 15th century. But, it was Frenchman and aristocrat Charles Perrault who really put his printed rendition of Ms. Hood on the map.

Perrault's tale is not the happily-ever-after Little Red Riding Hood bedtime story we all grew up with, though. It's dark, and there's no woodcutter/huntsman to save LRRH. In the end, she and her grandmother are both killed and eaten, victims of the wolf's trickery.

What's even more interesting is the message behind Perrault's version. It is a thinly veiled precautionary tale for young "well bred" ladies to not associate with "wolfish" men or else suffer the consequences.

Here is the end moral taken from Perrault's rendition:

Moral: Children, especially attractive, well bred young ladies, should never talk to strangers, for if they should do so, they may well provide dinner for a wolf. I say 'wolf,' but there are various kinds of wolves. There are also those who are charming, quiet, polite, unassuming, complacent, and sweet, who pursue young women at home and in the streets. And unfortunately, it is these gentle wolves who are the most dangerous ones of all.

So, take it from Perrault, ladies. Any dude who says to you, "My, what big eyes you have," ninja chop him to the ground. ;)

What type of research did you do for the book?
A boatload. Five nonfiction books and one History Channel special were used, to be exact. But I'll tell you about one of the most interesting sources.

There's a great mystery surrounding what the Beast of Gévaudan actually was. Many theories have been hashed out, but no conclusion has been reached. The History Channel ran a creepy special called The Real Wolfman back in October 2009. The show centers on cryptozoologist Ken Gerhard and veteran criminal profiler George Deuchar who together launch an investigation in France to seek out what the Beast could've been.

Their search brings them to the Paris Museum of Natural History. And just like the giant government warehouse filled with countless crates in the Indiana Jones movies, there is speculation that the Beast's remains can be traced to the underground secured storage inside the Museum. Absolutely fascinating, freaky, and a must for werewolf fans everywhere. 

If you could describe Scarlette in three words, what would they be?

Dark, gritty, creeptastic!

Since Nawanda Files highlights books into movies, what is your favorite movie that was adapted from a book? 
I have two answers here. First, my favorite movie adaption would have to be The Princess Bride. William Goldman's novel is extremely witty and comedic. And those tones aren't lost in the film one bit.

I think it's such a successful adaptation because not only did Goldman write the novel, but also the screenplay too. And I would consider it one of the best told modern fairy tales along with Peter S. Beagle's The Last Unicorn and Neil Gaiman's Stardust.

But my favorite adaptation that I've seen on the small screen is Masterpiece Theatre's 2006 adaptation of the Gothic romance Jane Eyre. This was a miniseries. And the wonderful thing about adapting novels for a miniseries is there's a huge chunk of time to play with and work more of a story's plot into.

The end result is that miniseries usually stays uber close to a book. And the Jane Eyre adaptation hits the nail right on the head. Even better is that Toby Stephens (Downton Abbey actress Maggie Smith's son) plays the best Mr. Rochester I've seen yet. Hawt Gothic romance!

Thanks so much for your time, Davonna! Scarlette sounds like an imaginative and original story! 
Thanks for having me, Krista! It's been a pleasure and a big thanks to all your fab blog readers. Stay creepy! *waves* 


About the Author
Davonna Juroe stays up way too late, has a severe garlic food allergy, and loves all things 80’s. She wonders if all this could actually mean she's a vampire.

In high school, she wore way too much glitter eye make-up. And in between many Disneyland visits and reading R.L. Stine’s Fear Street Series, she joined the high school drama department and may have developed crushes of the serious kind on many a theater boy. After many a broken heart, (*sigh*) Davonna moved to the quaint, wooded village of Kalispell, Montana.

Davonna Juroe has some sound advice about ninja chopping ;) Plus, some very cool favorite books into movies adaptations. Who doesn't love Jane Eyre?!

Scarlette sounds like the perfect combination of paranormal and historical. If you're looking for an original werewolf book, you've found your next read! Head over to goodreads to add it to your TBR pile! 

3 comments:

  1. Hey, Krista, just wanted to say thanks again for hosting me! I loved your questions, and the interview looks fabtabulous! ;)

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  2. Great set of questions! I love Little Red Riding Hood renditions that feature a werewolf *Once Upon A Time, Red Riding Hood w/Seyfried*. It makes the story so much more menacing!

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  3. Wow, I didn't knew LRRH was such a dark story and that there were so many different ones! I'm intrigued now ^^ I'll definitely go look up some different versions!

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