Casting The Players: The Women

After my post on the Men of MOG,  I wanted to come back and really let you dig into the woman power that is the crux of the novel. Their lives and motivations are why I even wanted to write it in the first place.

See, the reality is that the legend of The Beast of Gevaudan is steeped in masculine lore. The rampage of the murderous beast and its final defeat by men hunting the devil in the name of France is sacred, and I didn’t want to take anything away from the stories of France and its glory.

However, I found myself needing to retell this story from a feminine perspective. Not to mention, the 1760’s were such a remarkable period in the history of the world which often goes overlooked as in the lead up to the American and French revolutions. Taking a Moldavian aristocrat torn apart by the execution of her family by Russians and placing her in the midst of a haunted French barony with the brash, stoic gamekeeper Ana Saut gave me a perfect segue into that perspective.

The Women.jpg

Accompanied by femme de chambre Pem Gray and her sisters, Kat discovers a sliver of France severed from the rest of the world where death is the only way out.

If you’ve been following this project (and my writing in general), you know I love to cast characters for the novel as if casting a film.

Romanian-born actress Ana Caterina Moraiu embodies Kat in so many ways.  Matched up with Australian actress Elizabeth Debecki as Ana, they are a study in contrasts but mesh so well together.

Finally, the gentle, freckled face of Russian actress Sveltlana Ivonova rounds out the trio as Pem Gray. The youngest Gray, her soft eyes and warm spirit embody the devotion she showers on the women of the Gevaudan

I should do a fantastical creatures post now. Will get cracking on that, because the Gevaudan’s monsters are what bring it alive.



Casting The Players – The Men

One of my favorite pieces of plotting out a novel is the process of “casting” all of the parts. A dear friend of mine, BC film writer and YVR Screen Scene maven Sabrina Furminger and I once even cast an entire novel full of Canadian actors. Some may call it procrastination, we called it character study!


I’m a visual writer, using maps, story boards and an unholy amount of photo reference for building out my worlds. So, it’s no surprise that I prefer to spend the year or so I invest in writing a book with a clear picture of what my characters look like.

The Maiden of Gevaudan is no exception. It’s men are brooding and broken, flawed yet furiously determined to prove themselves. There are six in the primary cast whom I have fallen madly for over the course of writing the novel. Even the nefarious Bishop Jean-Arnaud de Castellane and the beautiful yet languid Marquis d’Apcher have won me over.

The Villians (1)

When it comes to finding the right look for a new character I don’t usually go for the current A list actors, preferring those who have unique, defining characteristics that make them worth investing in. Twelve months later and I am still blushing a bit every time the duplicitous Bishop de Castellane enters a scene and my mind races to actor Peter Eggers.


As for the men whose hearts rule amidst the bloody chaos of the Gevaudan, I’m entirely smitten with Berlin-based actor Karim Cherif whose level of brood matches Michel Antoine’s with an eerie perfection. Could he have been an 18th century gamekeeper who preferred wolves to warmongering? It only needs to work for me. 😉

Copy of The Villans

Of course there is always Croatian actor Stipe Erceg, who I imagine to be hanging out right this very minute at a posh club sipping Lagavulin with fellow Berliner Karim Cherif, which is ideal since their characters have long walked the forests of the Gevaudan together, clearing out the dead and caring for what remained of the living.


Finally, I could not have spent the last year writing anything at all if I hadn’t known the face of Count Sergei Saltykov, the broken Russian soldier who lost his daughter and his soul in the Gevaudan. Big props to Ukranian actor/dancer Sergei Polunin for executing on that task with true grace and ease even if he didn’t realize he’d been pressed into service.

So, there you have them, the men who helped shape The Maiden of Gevaudan. Next up, the women (of course). I”m saving the creatures for last. 🙂