(Kait Nolan, author of Red, stops by to educate us on the Big Bad Wolf...let's give her a warm welcome!)
The Evolution of the Big Bad Wolf
It’s commonly known that most folk tales originated as a means of imparting some kind of moral or lesson. They were a way to teach people about dangers in the world. It’s no wonder, then, that a common character in many tales is the big bad wolf. Everybody’s heard of him. In most fairy tales, he’s a bad guy, which is in keeping with the idea that these stories were intended as warnings. Wolves were creatures of the wild, of the dark, of the unknown. They were dangerous. The proper thing to do was stay in your village or by the fire, don’t go out alone.
It is, of course, human nature to be fascinated by the forbidden, so it is no surprise that wolves have continued to figure in stories and tales over the centuries. The big bad wolf evolved into the werewolf. Man become beast. How’s that for upping the stakes? The psychological ramifications of this setup are vast and rich. Here the threat is not from the outside but from within. One is literally taken over by the beast within. A werewolf is the total antithesis of the proper and civilized—the perfect embodiment of one’s baser nature.
The message from such stories is clear: repress, repress, repress.
In modern days, the big bad wolf evolved yet again—this time in a way that would probably be pretty surprising to our fearful ancestors. The big bad wolf has become the hero. I admit, I’m particularly fond of this incarnation of the BBW. I’ve got a real soft spot for the alpha wolf. Strong. Sexy. Confident. The beast and the danger still exist but it’s mitigated by some other factor—pack, love, massive self control. There’s nothing like seeing all that power directed in a good fight or in defense of a mate.
My YA novel, Red, is a mix of both the earliest and most recent incarnations of the big bad wolf. I began to wonder what would have happened if Red Riding Hood fell in love with the wolf (this was before the movie that tanked). The original myth was a warning: Don’t talk to strangers. It wasn’t a stretch to make that stranger a werewolf and to create an illicit, Romeo and Juliet style relationship. But that wasn’t so much the part that interested me. No, I wanted to know what the ramifications would be for future generations if Red’s love was killed before he ever told her what he was, before he knew she was with child. And that’s how I came up with Elodie. The latest in Red’s line, she’s been raised with all kinds of false information about the family curse and what triggers it. Throw in an assassin determined to exterminate her family line and a sexy, brooding hero and you have one wild ride that explores all my favorite aspects of the big bad wolf legends.
What’s your favorite tale about the big bad wolf? Inquiring minds want to know! One lucky commenter will receive a free e-book copy of Red.
Kait Nolan is stuck in an office all day, sometimes juggling all three of her jobs at once with the skill of a trained bear—sometimes with a similar temperament. After hours, she uses her powers for good, creating escapist fiction. The work of this Mississippi native is packed with action, romance, and the kinds of imaginative paranormal creatures you’d want to sweep you off your feet…or eat your boss. When she’s not working or writing, she’s in her kitchen, heading up a revolution to Retake Homemade from her cooking blog, Pots and Plots. You can catch up with her at her blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.
Every fairy tale has a dark side…
Elodie Rose has a secret. Any day, she’ll become a wolf and succumb to the violence that’s cursed her family for centuries. For seventeen years she’s hidden who and what she is. But now someone knows the truth and is determined to exterminate her family line. Living on borrowed time in the midst of this dangerous game of hide and seek, the last thing Elodie needs to do is fall in love. But Sawyer is determined to protect her, and the brooding, angry boy is more than what he seems. Can they outsmart a madman? And if they survive, will they find a way to beat the curse for good?
Red is available in ebook from Smashwords, Amazon, Amazon UK, Amazon DE, Sony, the iBookstore, Diesel Ebooks, XinXii, and All Romance EBooks. It is available in paperback from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The Book Depository (free international shipping!) and Createspace.
Giveaway! One comment on today's post wins a copy of Red by Kait Nolan. Tell us your favorite Big Bad Wolf tale!
The ebook giveaway is international and open until 11:59 PM (Eastern) this Saturday, and the winner will be announced Sunday at the prize booth!
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