Saturday, July 9, 2016

Kelly Oliver's "Wolf"

Kelly Oliver is the author of Wolf, the first novel in the Jessica James, Cowgirl Philosopher, Mysteries. The second in the series, Coyote, will be out in August.

Oliver grew up in the Northwest, Montana, Idaho, and Washington states. Her maternal grandfather was a forest ranger committed to saving the trees, and her paternal grandfather was a logger hell bent on cutting them down. On both sides, her ancestors were some of the first settlers in Northern Idaho. In her own unlikely story, Oliver went from eating a steady diet of wild game shot by her dad to becoming a vegetarian while studying philosophy and pondering animal minds. Competing with peers who’d come from private schools and posh families “back East,” her working class backwoods grit has served her well. And much to her parent’s surprise, she’s managed to feed and clothe herself as a professional philosopher. When she’s not writing Jessica James mystery novels, Oliver is a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University. She earned her B.A. from Gonzaga University and her Ph.D. from Northwestern University. She is the author of thirteen scholarly books, ten anthologies, and over 100 articles.

Here Oliver dreamcasts an adaptation of Wolf:
I’m a big fan of Hollywood blockbusters. And, I’ve written several nonfiction books about film. When I wrote my first novel, Wolf, I thought a lot about its cinematic quality. It’s a dialogue and action driven novel with strong characters. The titular character of the mystery series is Jessica James, the cowgirl philosopher who with more wit than grace finds herself in the middle of art scams, murder plots, mafia revenge, rape conspiracies, and high-stakes poker games. Tripping over her own feet, but not over her sharp tongue, she stumbles upon the murderer in the nick of time. I could imagine Jessica being played by Jennifer Lawrence, who is known in real life for her smart-mouth and falling on the stairs.

Jessica James has a kickass best friend, Lolita Durchenko, who is a black-belt in karate and known around Chicago as the “poker Tsarina” for her high-stakes games. Because I loved the debates in the blogosphere about who was tougher, Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games or Kristen Stewart in Twilight, it would be fun to case Kristen Stewart as Lolita and get J-Law and K-Stew fighting together on the same side.

For their rescue-remedy pushing buxom redheaded friend, Amber Bush, I’d go with a younger Christina Hendricks (Mad Men), or Scarlett Johansson. You just can’t go wrong with Scarlett Johansson. She’s great in everything!

Lolita’s father, Dmity Durchenko, escaped Russia twenty years ago with his life, his wife, and part of a mafia fortune, including two priceless painting. I see Christian Bale fighting the Russian mafia with understated courage and grace. He’s an amazingly versatile actor and very easy on the eyes.

As long as we’re going for the YA blockbuster heroines, we might as well cast Theo James in the role of Vanya Ivanov, the tattooed, chain-smoking young thug with a soft spot for a certain Siberian Husky. Of course, Theo is hot in Divergent, but I thought he was even hotter in Downton Abbey as the Turk who deflowered Lady Mary (gasp!).

To round out the cast, I’d go with American Horror Story’s Evan Peters as the brilliant, foul-mouthed, pothead, medical student, Jack, and the handsome Matt Bomer as Jessica’s mysterious love interest, Nick.
To learn more about Oliver or The Jessica James Mysteries, visit Kelly Oliver's website.

--Marshal Zeringue