Tuesday, November 5, 2013

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Jade Valour & Sharlie Pryce


1. Though you do state on the novel's website, can you please explain what inspired the novel Salomé?

Jade: My fascination with Richard Strauss' darkly evocative opera was the key to the inspiration for Salomé - actually, to the screenplay Salomé; the novel came later.
From my early childhood I've loved the world of the mythical in all its many forms.  When I encountered the opera Salomé, I became enamored of its larger-than-life, mythical, even mystical quality:  the exotic, other-worldly atmosphere created by the music and text, the inner tension that makes you feel it is about to explode in an ecstasy of destruction - which indeed it does.
It took me literally decades to realize that what I saw in Salomé was something totally cinematic.

2. What was it that attracted you the most about it?

Jade: Salomé’s innocence and unselfconscious sensuality resonated very deeply with me.
She is a kind of ‘wild child’, totally honest and totally herself, always.It is her tragedy to be surrounded by corruption and those who would project their own desires, fantasies and moral standards onto her. It destroys her in the end, and I saw this as such a monstrous injustice that I felt compelled to do something about it.

3. On the site, you have music based on the book. What made you decide to have original music accompany the story?

Sharlie:  I spent a wonderful afternoon over coffee with my close friend Paul Glaser who is a singer/songwriter, explaining the story and my own personal thoughts on the relationship between the Lovers; especially what I thought Salomé meant to Elijah.
He was so inspired that he subsequently wrote a song and had asked one of my best friends - Therese Pitt – lay down the vocal track. Jade and I were thrilled to bits and it’s been our theme song ever since.

Jade:  "Shadow of a White Rose" is based on a quote from the Oscar Wilde drama Salomé, and I wrote it for a music project called "Jade ov Arcc" that became a complete album of my original songs - as well as most people's favorite on the CD.

4. Ms. Valour, do you sing professionally or would you like to?

Jade: Yes. I sang professionally in Germany for many years - opera, musical jazz, chanson. And I still enjoy performing (as both singer and actress) when the opportunity arises, as does Sharlie who was in the original Hamburg cast of Cats.

5. You traveled quite a bit, which also had a part in the story. What, if anything, do you think would be different had you not been so well-traveled?

Jade:  I think Salomé would never have had the mythical, world-encompassing and trans-cultural quality that the story has if I hadn't traveled and lived in foreign countries for most of my life.
It has exposed me to diverse cultures/customs and broadened my perspective in so many ways - people, politics, the arts.Witnessing the fall of the Iron Curtain in Germany and the rise in Neo-nazi activity it brought; the splitting of Yugoslavia with the resulting atrocities and 'ethnic cleansing': such events have had a profound impact on my awareness, without which Salomé would not have had the scope or depth that she has. Or she might not have been written at all.

Sharlie: I wouldn’t have been able to bring depth and emotional input into our story had I not been fortunate to grow up on various continents – traveling all my life.My experiences of many cultures and insights into how people of all classes live, some of the injustices I have seen firsthand, the heart rending stories I’ve been told, and what I see happening in the world today have been fictionalized in our novel.

6. Why did you decide to set Salomé in a modern era as opposed to the past?

Jade: The story of Salomé has most often been seen in its biblical setting and, wanting to tell a very different story from this familiar one, I didn’t want to repeat this.
Originally, we had thought to set our story during the Vietnam war with Salomé as a kind of flower-child and our John the Baptist figure as a love-and-peace guru.But it soon became apparent that we would lose the mythical quality we wanted, and that the story would easily become dated and commonplace. That was when we decided to set it in a dystopian future, projecting what we saw as the possible consequences of globalization onto our fantasy world.

7. Can you tell the readers why you decided to have an artist make beautiful pieces based on the story (which you also have on the site, listed below)?

Jade: We of course needed illustrations for our book and wanted to have both a front and back cover, depicting Salomé and Elijah.  But Salomé is also a feature length screenplay – in fact, we originally saw Salomé as a film and wrote the script before we ever began the novel! We were advised that, if we wanted to get a producer interested in the screenplay, we needed to have visuals – a promo-trailer to show along with our pitch – to make it as appealing and compelling as possible. Hence, the additional five illustrations, which we are using in addition to the covers, for both the promo-trailer and for a book trailer. Matt Donnici did a truly superb job capturing the essence and atmosphere of our story and characters.

8. You said you'd like to see Salomé made into a movie. What actors do you picture playing the individual characters?

Jade: [Smile] It’s almost impossible not to picture certain actors in the roles one writes, and so we did! But as we began writing our story back in 2001, those actors have naturally changed. Our original inspiration for the figure of Elijah was – Elijah Wood!  And we owe much of what our Prophet became to that inspiration. But if we would have our choice today, then our first thought would be Jared Leto (who has just won a Hollywood Film Award for his role in Dallas Buyers Club).
Robert Sheehan and Ben Barnes would also be possibilities.
Our villain, Salomé’s uncle Archlord Dorath, was originally John Malkovich (whom I, in fact, met!).  But now…wellll…we certainly could picture Benedict Cumberbach in the role! Salomé herself is more difficult.  At this point I could see Amandla Stenberg (Rue in The Hunger Games) when she’s a bit older. She has a lovely quality of innocence that our Salomé needs.

9. Do you have any plans to write future stories featuring any of the Salome characters?

Jade: I’ve begun sketches for a second novel and also have an idea for a third one – a ‘trilogy’, if you like.They will certainly involve some of the characters from the original book – Salomé and Elijah in the first instance.

10. Do you have any other novels in the works and, if yes, can you reveal anything about them at all?

Jade:  As above, the concepts for another two novels are there.  But first on my list is a redraft of the screenplay.

Sharlie: I’ve started writing a fantasy saga that I’ve been formulating since I as 17 but didn’t have the courage to write. Now with Salomé completed I feel more confident to make it a reality.
At this point I’m not ready to reveal anything.

11. Did you never want to be a writer before, or did your passion spring itself onto you?

Jade: Although I did write a few short stories in my earlier years, I was always a performer. I never thought of actually being a writer until I became virtually obsessed with the desire to tell a different Salomé story. Sharlie is the one who has always wanted to write.

12. If you weren't doing what you do now, what would be your dream job?

Jade: I’d be working on the sets of Hollywood films – with James Cameron, Peter Jackson, Steven Spielberg, Christopher Nolan, Tarantino or Darren Aronofsky.Production assistant, director’s assistant, whatever I could get.  
I’ve always been fascinated by Hollywood, with all its glitter and shadow.

13. What authors did you read when you were younger? What authors do you enjoy today?

Jade: When I was younger:  Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Ray Bradbury was my favorite sci-fi author. Old Testament stories; Norse mythology; the Greek tragedies.
The plays of Edward Albee and Tennessee Williams, George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde.And my great literary love over the decades:  J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth works. Sharlie and I share this passion. Moving to Germany I delved into German literature and poetry:  Hermann Hesse, Thomas Mann, Goethe, Heine, Rilke.
My love of mythology led me to the works of C.G. Jung and Joseph Campbell.
Clive Barker's Weaveworld and Stephen King's The Stand are fantasy favorites, and I found Harry Potter great fun.
Riane Eisler’s books on the Feminine in society today and Margaret Starbird’s The Woman With the Alabaster Jar resonated deeply with the work on Salomé.

14. Where do you see yourself and your career in the next ten years?

Jade: This is very much tied to Salomé.The importance of Salomé to me lies in the desire to communicate to young women that they are the hope of our present and future world.
We see this in young women like Malala Yousafzai, the 16 year-old Pakistani who defied the Taliban for the sake of education for girls; or Angelina Jolie, who uses her position to speak out for the victims of rape in war zones.Salomé is the Peaceable One – a young woman who uses her ‘powers’ to protect, not destroy, and for the sake of those who cannot speak for themselves.She’s totally pro-active; she goes out there and gets her hands dirty and pits herself against the Ruling Order; but she neither takes up a weapon nor does she propagate violence.
In the next ten years I’d like to speak to young women, through and with Salomé, about how they are the ones who can truly make a difference in the world, if they are bold enough, courageous enough to take it on.
I’m not really interested in ‘making a career’ at this point in my life. If I can motivate and inspire, that’s what’s important. This is why I’d love to see Salomé become a film – because she has the potential to reach, and inspire, so many.

15. Thank you for participating in the interview! Can you please leave the reader with three things that they would be surprised to know about you?

Jade: 1)  I play the didgeridoo (Australian Aboriginal instrument)
2)  I recorded a CD of my original songs (Jade ov Arcc) including:  hip-hop, trip-hop, trance and house songs, annnnd….
3)  I was in Wellington, New Zealand for the World Premiere of The Return of the King and met Peter Jackson, Elijah Wood, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Director of Weta Workshop Richard Taylor, producer Barrie Osborne and a whole bunch of the actors and production people from the Lord of the Rings production!  It was awesome!

Salomé Site

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