Author Q+A: Nicole Russin-McFarland of “The Big Bad Wolf Strikes It Rich!”

What inspired you on this book?

Knowing I wanted one day to turn this story into an animated feature length film. You have the most legal protection against intellectual theft when you have a pre-existed, well branded book and audiobook available for years before you ever do a screenplay. Bonus points to you if your branded story is popular.

audiobook cover of The Big Bad Wolf Strikes It Rich!

audiobook cover of The Big Bad Wolf Strikes It Rich!

Why did you want to become a writer?

I really didn’t! Journalism for me is fine, as is screenwriting. Creative writing doesn’t come easily to me. The responsibility is all on you, the author. I didn’t use a ghostwriter at all. No way. My story had to be told in the voice of an actual stock broker who happens to be a goofy wolf everyone wrongly thinks is a bad guy. Mentally, I imagined how real people born and raised in the NYC area might speak – if they were telling their stories from the perspective of a giant, hair, money crazy wolf.

What was the hardest part of creating this book?

Probably all the writing involved. Writing a novel couldn’t be farther from the writing I am trained in. Journalism is about getting to the point at the start of the article. The rest of it fills you in on the details. With a children’s novel, you have to unveil the story as it folds.

I didn’t know anything I wanted to have happen in the story. Everything was writing without any direction. I wrote it blending all these real life things happening to myself, people I know and people I’ve run into in daily experiences, mixed into a very fictional story. Aladdin Todd Jackson the wolf needed to come across like he could be a real human being with thoughts and desires, only he happens to be a wolf.

He’s slick, business oriented, funny, angry, moody, happy, lonesome, and all a human being can be. He is a normal guy who knows what it’s like to be poor and rich, popular and unpopular. He’s had his reputation smeared in the media in the connection to the three little pigs homicide but proven himself not guilty, as he doesn’t eat pork – and people continue gossiping about the guy. So much of this happens to all of us at any age.

The whole book has relatable themes. The novel isn’t all, “Let’s make money and learn how to save.”

What do you hope people gain from reading it?

That adults can bring up all of these themes with kids, like why do you think it is wrong to judge someone by their appearance? Aladdin faces discrimination in life all the time because people look at his teeth, read about him in yellow journalism publications and say, “The Big Bad Wolf!” He can’t make a pig joke without getting in trouble at the beginning.

So much happens in his life that is bad and good. Aladdin has career ups and downs. Friends and no friends.

Or, parents can discuss the business themes and at one point, communism, in the story. Aladdin goes to an outer space planet run by an evil dictator: The Muffin Man!

When you were a kid, what were your favorite books?

The Very Hungry Caterpillar and anything by Dr. Seuss. Roald Dahl. I loved anything with his name on it automatically. Mr. Dahl really knew how to write for children.

As an adult, I brag about watching specific movies and never chick flicks. However, my little secret guilty pleasure is watching all the chick lit for the teen age group get turned into TV shows. Hello, Pretty Little Liars or anything on The CW!

What is your advice to people who are not excited about reading?

This is an absolutely normal reaction! I myself dislike reading so much of what’s out there. My big thing is reading magazines. When I was a kid to teenager, I’d go on weekends someplace and stay in a hotel with my parents or one parent. Life at a hotel feels so normal to me, more like home than my actual home.

At times, we might go to a conference for my dad for a week or week and a half. Inside the hotel, I’d sit around with my Diet Coke, salty chips, music going, and my magazine stack. Everything from GQ to Cosmo, the stack was filled. Sometimes, foreign editions of the same magazines if I could get ahold of them, which is now easy to do on Zinio.com.

Whenever I have a stack of magazines, virtually or otherwise, and a good Diet Coke or earl grey tea, I know life is normal.

My other big thing is newspapers. My brain loves reading about people in the film and music industries, particularly anything with music news.

Why should we buy your book?

The Big Bad Wolf Strikes It Rich! Fairy Tale Wall Street Memoirs is the only chapter book available for a young audience that presents a real story you might watch as a PG-13 or R rated movie, but the tale has all the adult content removed and a lot of silly fun added. The plot has so much going on. You’ll find so many complex characters. By the time I get this made into a movie, I hope to have fully developed some of the supporting characters because they are ridiculous fun.

The story has a lot of local flair from real Manhattan life and, I’d add from my experiences, a hint of big city Midwestern life in Chicago. You get to see how life moves and works in the Big Bad Wolf’s New York. Fictional, but not so much.

The audiobook is excellent and not only because it uses my material. Kevin Rineer, an up and coming young voiceover actor, stars in it. Why young and not an elder, seasoned actor? Youth has huge advantages. We needed a young guy, the perfect youthful voice for my young wolf finding himself in business. An older person wouldn’t have that positivity to his tone and optimism. Aladdin the Big Bad Wolf always has hope in spite of the bad things that come his way.

Kevin does all the local New York accents flawlessly. You wouldn’t know it, because he’s actually in Florida.

We worked on nailing down the right accent for the lead star of Aladdin the wolf, basing it on a real life family friend, impressions I had of people I bumped into who are actual stockbrokers, and several male celebrities with the local accent. Kevin learned how to do a Queens accent for Little Red Riding Hood and a few other East Coast style manners of speaking.

Meanwhile, I, the music queen, edited the audio to sound slick. All the audiobooks I heard on iTunes sounded fuzzy and like phone calls. Who might ever think they came from professional studios? Our version sounds like the same quality you might hear on Sirius XM Radio – and an extraordinary feat at that, when you know it was recorded at Kevin’s private home.

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Buy the book:

Nicole’s book is available on Amazon in the USA, UK, and worldwide. Besides Amazon, the audiobook is available on Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s Tidal, Google Play in the USA and internationally, iTunes, and Audible.

Learn more about Nicole by visiting her website, NicoleRussinMcFarland.com. Follow her on Twitter @nicrussin and Facebook @nicrussin.

Did you know? Nicole is a stellar composer. Check out her film score work as it keeps coming on iTunes, Apple Music and Tidal. Let’s not forget classical music film score style on Top 40 either: buy her take on Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me A River” today!

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