Josef Bastian Throws Down Nain Rouge

Honi soit qui mal y pense: Evil be to those who Evil thinks.

When bad things happen to you or those around you, what do you do? We all make choice and have to face consequences of some sort. What happens when good advice is ignored and greed puts an entire city in danger? Josef Bastian details how Elly and Tom, two brave and feisty teens, take on the Nain Rouge, a nasty red little devil, to save who and what matters.

Nain Rouge: The Red Legend. What happens when two middle schooler‘s, Tom and Elly, come face-to-face with a legendary red and nasty looking dwarf, that appears as a harbinger of doom during the greatest crisis the city and other parts of the world has ever faced. Is this the end is near or is their story only beginning?

The Nain Rouge is not only a brilliant series of books by Royal Oak Michigan author Josef Bastian, it’s also a Detroit Michigan legend that most have never heard of. The Nain Rouge is the urban red devil legend that is said to appear in advance of bad events and feeds off of the negative energy of the city. Nain wasn’t a bad, he kept the balance of good and evil in the city; he was the keeper of the area. If you respected him enough to ask him about dwelling there, he would be fine with it. But when Cadillac and his men were mean to him and didn’t do as Nain asked, they began the wrath of the city and places around the world. Hell hath no fury like a Nain scorned!

This inspiration to do this first series of teen fiction came at a time when he was unemployed and needed to focus his attention on something. Like many artists, great work comes from dark and un-puzzled times in life. He lost his previous job and had him questioning why.

“A friend told me about it (Nain Rouge) and I was fascinated that I had never heard of the legend before,” he said and sat up straighter in his chair, “the legend is so old, but so little has been written about it. I was also very cathartic thing for me.”

This helped to push him to keep his head above emotional waters. With his family and friends having his back, he had more at stake than himself to take care of. It’s this theme that takes you through the book. Often writers will put themselves, in some way, into what they write.

“It’s against my nature to quit,” he said and sat even taller in his chair while we caffeinated at a cool place in Royal Oak. A long time friend of his stopped by the table to chat, “hey nice to see you again,” Bastian said to the gentlemen that walked off.

The smell of fresh ground coffee was a gritty aroma that paired with the hissing steam coming from the espresso machine like the smells and sounds coming from the downtown dirty area of Detroit where the story takes place.

“Brilliant and exciting, multi-layered plot and stories to challenge the younger,” he added, “it’s kind of cool to be part of the generation that just keeps growing and growing. I wanted to be accessible to adults and kids. That was my challenge. How to get and keep the attention of non-readers.”

The Nain Rouge is such a smooth and enjoyable read, that I think he’s accomplished that.

Nain Rouge II: The Red Tide. Evil is like a nasty red rash; it always comes back. Even when you think you’ve conquered it, it can somehow find a way back.

Tom and Elly are little older and a little wiser with a new school, new friends and all of the challenges teenagers face. But their greatest challenge lies ahead. The Nain Rouge has returned and………..

Now the teens of today and the future have a new culture idiosyncratic. Bastian tells me that he created a new genre of literature; Cryptofolk=lost or ignored origin.

“If you search the definition, the only one that comes up is the one I wrote,” he said with pride, “I have never seen this term used anywhere else to describe what we’re doing.”

According to “Cryptofolk is a new style of storytelling within the existing Folklore/Mythology literary genre. Regional folk tales are often lost and obscured through time or remain localized within their specific community. These stories contain themes and archetypes that resonate across cultures and borders, providing an opportunity for others to learn and grow through the discovery of these powerful legends.”

Bastian said he went through hundreds of illustrators before coming across the perfect one for the series. He was looking for an Edward Gorey style and found it in a woman all the way from England, Bronwyn Coveney.

“Josef sent me the first copy of the Nain Rouge manuscript whilst I was working on another of his books,” Coveney said, “as a lover of fantasy I was instantly in love with the concept! A modern fiction based on such rich, local folklore was absolutely irresistible!”

She has been an illustrator in England for a while now and she studied animation at university there. Her approach is very filmic, giving a more dynamic flow. Actually, in some classes, Detroit landmarks are talked about and why not? The city is beautiful when looked at from under the debris. To help her get into the beautiful frame of mind, she’d listen to horror movie soundtracks while she worked.

“I live in England, and hadn’t heard of the Nain Rouge, and the more I researched for the project, the more the dwarf came to life in my mind,” she said, “I could clearly see how he would look for the initial series. Tom and Elly, two of the heroes for the series, also popped straight into my mind and all three characters came to life as naturally as breathing.”

“Did I mention it was a trilogy?” Bastian mentioned to her.

Art imitating and coming to life as if it’s doing it itself.

What helps one might not help the next artist. So what’s Josef’s creative process some beginning author might want to know.

“My writing process,” he started and he had a dreamy like look on his face, “visualize, write down ideas, draft a manuscript in sections, edit, revise, and build story as I go within a loosely defined narrative framework.”

Nain Rouge III: The Red Truth. Eventually, we all have to confront what we fear most, whether we like it or not. The teens are committed to defeating nasty Nain once and for all. The curtain rises for the final act, the ultimate conflict with evil. And the one left standing is…………………….

Talk about the next act in the Nain Rouge full shot, a graphic novel is in the works as well. Patrick McEvoy from Northern California is illustrating it and will be a highly visual version of Book I in the Nain Rouge Trilogy.

“I currently have nine books in print, so I have been writing for a while, he said, “genres include a German Cookbook, poetry, short stories and a humorous novel about the crazy bosses I have had over the years. If you search “Josef Bastian” on Amazon, you can find a full list. My past four books have all been children’s stories, built around quirky bits of historical facts.”

His next writing adventure with be The Great Fairy Hoax. I love fairies so I can’t want to read that one as well. He kept tight lipped about anything more on that besides the title.

“Although my part in the Nain Rouge series has come to an end for now, I’m still excited to see the graphic novel and film emerge,” Coveney said, “and would love to one day visit some of the landmarks I’ve illustrated, especially the DIA.

His first book is also currently in development for a movie to be shot in Detroit. “The Red Tide” can be downloaded for free with a donation to the DIA at

To see more of the wonderus works of Bronwyn,

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