Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Christine Brant's RED AND GREY Excerpt & Author Interview

Christine, please tell us about yourself and your writing.

My name is Christine Brant, I’ve been writing for about seven years. The first short story I wrote won the Surrey International Storytellers Award in 2007. Red and Grey is my first published novel. 

My husband and I have been married for 18 years and we have three children, two cats, and a pet snake named Bob.

What does your writing space look like?

How long have you been writing? I have been telling stories since I was a little girl, as a child I used to tell my older sister stories at night when we were falling asleep. I would record stories on tapes – if anyone remembers what those things are. Recently, I found a note from my fourth grade teacher telling me she was sure I would be published one day. However, as I got older and “real life” took over I lost that dream to pursue real life things. I started to pursue writing again eight years ago after being inspired by Kelley Armstrong’s web site, bio, and book Bitten.

What inspired your current book?

 I was in a workshop at a Writers conference and the writer leading the workshop asked us to consider the story of Little Red Riding Hood from the Wolf’s POV. Everyone wrote a few lines and the more I listened the more I felt like everyone was off. The wolf didn’t want to steal the food because he was evil or greedy – he needed that food. And he needed it desperately for a reason not even he understood, but I wanted to know why. I went home that night and started writing Red and Grey thinking it would be a short story. 100,000 words later I was looking at a novel.

How do you come up with your book titles?

The titles mean something to me and they relate to the book in some way, they fit. I’ve already come up with the title for the sequel to Red and Grey. On the other hand, I wrote one manuscript years ago that I still dislike the title of and often think I would like to re-title. But nothing seems to fit. Perhaps if I ever sell it an editor will have some clever ideas. J

How do you name your characters?

I have lots of methods for naming my characters. Some of the names I took from baby name web sites or baby books. Others I name based on how they behave and who they are internally. A few I have named because of the fairytales that they are part of. I have even let my fans name some characters on Facebook. I have used the name of a friend’s child (with her permission) and I may use my daughter’s name at some point because they are unique and different names.

I guess, I am trying to say, I do not have a standard naming system. I go with what feels right for the character and story, and if I really can’t decide I put it to my fans and let them decide for me. J

Do you write with music going in the background? What are some of your favorite types/bands?

Yes, when I can. I have very eclectic taste in music. I don’t mind listening to a varied playlist on Pandora. On my iPhone I have a variety of songs from bands such as: Fun. (not the Swedish death metal band the one with the period), U2, The Killers, Imagine Dragons, Muse, Mumford and Sons, Jennifer Knapp, Cake, Goo Goo Dolls, Florence and the Machine, and Alanis Morissette.

In fact several of my characters have “songs”, these are songs that when I hear them immediately make me think of this particular character and put me in the mood to tell that character’s story. Grey’s song is “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls.

Do you have a favorite character from your books? Who is it and why?

No, I can honestly say I like all my characters, even my bad guys. I guess I have a handful of favorites, all of the POV characters in Red and Grey, even my villain, who I hope my readers come to feel as deeply for as I do in the next two books in the series when his story will be explored more in depth.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three modern conveniences would you take with you?

Indoor plumbing – I am not sure I could survive without a toilet. My migraine meds – I can be out for days without those blessed little pills.  The Internet – cause you know I need Facebook, oh and then I would not be stranded anymore J

Is there anything else you'd really like our readers to know?

As a child my parents owned a bookstore. Now as an adult I work at a bookstore and I’m a writer.  I truly love books, I love stories, I think there is power in storytelling and the written word. It’s funny, even now I have a hard time thinking of myself as an “author” I see myself as a storyteller. I feel grateful to have this incredible gift and be able to share it with my readers.

Quick quiz:
Favorite food? Chocolate
Favorite color? Green or Purple depending on the day.
Favorite animal? Cats
Biggest pet peeve? Characters who are “practically perfect in every way”. Please, give your character some flaws, make them human.
Dream car? A Prius – I know – a really practical dream car, but I had one once and it was totaled by a drunk driver I still miss it. 

Connor believed he lived a relatively easy life until a sorceress transforms him into a wolf. Refusing to do her bidding, Connor escapes. He follows his intuition to travel far away, all the while fighting to keep his humanity from the wolf’s all-pervading instincts. Lost and alone, Connor’s dreams of a beautiful young woman who brings color back to his monochromatic existence.

Ever since her mother passed away, Melody Saltman has been plagued by nightmares. No night occurs without her fighting for her sanity, until one evening a beautiful grey wolf breaks into her dream to save her from the inky darkness. In this dreamtime, Melody and Connor discover that each is more than what they appear to one another.

Trevor has been watching Melody ever since she was a little girl, manipulating and manoeuvring to have her as his own. When she agrees to him courting her, Trevor knows that he is close to realizing his return to full power as one of the Brotherhood. One way or another, he will have Melody.

When Melody discovers Connor is real, new questions about her past and her sanity come to the fore. How can it be possible to love a wolf, let alone spend the rest of her life with one, when Trevor is there for her? Can Connor become the man Melody needs in her life? More importantly, does he want to?

I am going to include a brief exert from the ARC of Red and Grey. This is one of my favorite scenes. I hope you enjoy.

            Connor crouched in the brush. The sky boiled with dark clouds that shifted and changed constantly in the winds. Dust swirled down the bare road. At any moment the storm would tear open the sky and rain would drench the forest.
            He snarled. It should have been an easy meal.
For three days he had watched the nanny goat before he selected his prey. No one came in search of her or the kids. Moments ago, he tried to separate the smaller of the two kids from its mother in a meadow north of here, but the nanny goat surprised him with her ferocity. A bruise ached on his shoulder from the nanny goat’s horns. Her maneuver gave the kid a chance to run.
Frustration swelled inside him.
The kid ran out onto the open track and across into the thick forest on the opposite side of the wheel-rutted road. He did not realize how close they were to the road. His primary goal, to obtain the kid, distracted him.  From his position he could see the bridge that spanned the river. Scents from the village carried across on the wind.
            He hunched in the bushes and felt the grass rub his stomach. Shifting slightly, he scanned the road in both directions and considered. He did not want to run out in front of anyone and bring hunters down on himself. He had been so careful to stay north of here, away from the road and the village. He almost whined as he moved from paw to paw, glaring at the path.
            He smelled the food before he saw her.
Fresh bread, roast beef, and strawberry pie.
His nose identified each scent in turn. They hit him like a physical force. He forgot the kid.
His body yearned toward these smells. He wanted that food with something more than hunger; he needed it with a persistent, deep, ache.
            Then he saw her. She wore a simple dress. Even to his limited vision it stood out dark against her pale skin. Over this, she wore a cape.
It was red. The color of blood. The one color he could still see in all its brilliance.
Scarlett stained the ground or colored the water every time he ate. The hood of the cape hung down; dark hair fell free along her back. The wind whipped several strands out behind her and the edges of the cape swirled around her legs.
Her head tilted back and a bit to one side, a smile curved her lips, it gave the impression she enjoyed the feel of the wind on her skin.
The smells that enticed and drew him came from the basket on her arm. He wanted that basket, needed the food with an intensity that left him burning.
How long had it been since he ate real food?
He evaluated the girl again. The wolf saw her neck arched, unprotected, and vulnerable. She carried no weapon and the angle of her throat beckoned like an invitation. Her skin would tear so easily. She posed no more threat to him than the kid.
She appeared to be light, he could easily overpower her.
An image flashed through his mind. The girl, lay on the ground, throat opened, blood, the same rich color of her cape covered her pale skin, and mixed with the dust of the road. It would be fast, so easy. He could have the basket and the food he had not even realized he needed until this moment.
Available for purchase:
Barnes & Noble

Author Bio:
Christine Brant is a Seattle author who lives with her husband, three children, two cats, and Bob, the Ball Python. She won the Surrey International Storytellers Award in 2007 with her short story "A Decade of Scottsdale". In her spare time, when not herding cats and kids, she loves to read and gaze out her window at the Puget Sound. Visit her online at

Where can you find Christine Brant on the Internet?


  1. That is a great cover. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you so much Zoe,I love my cover too. The cover artist is Paula Stirland and this is her page on Deviant Art.


    2. Thank you so much Zoe,I love my cover too. The cover artist is Paula Stirland and this is her page on Deviant Art.


  2. Christine,
    Thank you for being my guest today. I love stories about wolves and it was a pleasure reading your book. Did you do extensive research into wolves for the story?

    1. Hello Melissa,
      Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share about my book and my writing.

      I did do a bit of research about wolves while writing. I went to several zoos, read up about them on the internet, and went to a wildlife preserve to research wolves.

      I am not sure I would call it extensive but it was a lot of fun.

    2. I need to get to a wolf sanctuary for a tour. I've only ever seen wolves once at the San Diego Zoo.

      I had no idea wolves can't see in full color vision. I learned something new from reading your book. :)

    3. LOL, I'm so sorry. I never intended it to be educational I swear. ;-)

      No, the truth is I discovered some truly amazing things.

      For example - wolves really do fish - yup, learned that little tidbit along the way, I never knew that. But Alaskan wolves have been seen and documented to fish for, kill, and eat Salmon. Pretty wild.

  3. I love this cover! Great interview! Loved the line about Facebook and wouldn't be stranded anymore. Ha.

    1. Hi Lisa,
      I think the cover rocks too. It is rather awesome. :-)

      I really think if I had indoor plumbing and Facebook I could live just about anywhere. ;-)