Red is the Darkest Color Official Press Release
June 9, 2016
for immediate release
A few questions with author Brett Brooks about his upcoming novel.
What is your new novel?
The new book is entitled Red is the Darkest Color. Hopefully from the title you can tell that I was going for that classic pulp-noir flavor with it. It’s a snappy, quick read, with all the dames and chin music I could squeeze into it.
Where did you get the idea?
That’s where things get interesting. Everything is based off of a public domain character from the 1940’s named Pussy Katnip. She is a very, very obscure character that had a minimal existence in the comics. There isn’t much known about who created her or why, other than the name Len Short—and nobody really knows him, either. She was an anthropomorphic cat, living in a city named Mutt Town and running a place called The Kit Kat Klub, or sometimes the Kit Kat Club or even the Kit Kat Kafe, depending on the issue. There wasn’t a ton of consistency to the stories.
The only constant was her look—which was somewhat disturbing—and the fact that she would take a potion called Fizz, or sometimes Katnip Fizz (consistency again), that would grant her super strength, super speed, toughness, and either super-smarts, precognition, or even telepathy, again, depending on the issue. It is, needless to say, very bizarre.
And it drew me in instantly. I read all the stories online. It’s public domain, they’re out there. And then I actually dropped the novel I was already working on and jumped into this with both feet, and Red is the Darkest Color is the result. I would tell you more about what happens in the book and why, but I don’t want to ruin the plot.
There is a long history of anthropomorphic characters in movies and comics. It still happens, too. Take the recent Zootopia movie. It has anthropomorphic animals, living in their own world that seems just like ours. Pussy Katnip did the same thing. Anthropomorphic characters were very popular at the time of her creation—Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, and dozens of others as an example. So the creator took the idea of anthropomorphic animals and set it in a pulp-noir styled world. It’s not exactly hard-boiled, but it definitely has a bit of an edge.
At first I had actually changed the characters to be human, and just used the concepts of the character to form the world, but when I gave the first chapter to the friend of mine who first showed me the character he was disappointed. He wanted Pussy Katnip, not someone like her. He was right. I changed the book around so that it was, indeed, a true Pussy Katnip story.
I will say that I take a few liberties and change and expand both Pussy and the world around her. There wasn’t much detail to her in the comics. Her origin story is only two panels long, and her longest story overall is just four pages. Hopefully, though, anyone who has any clue who she is will still enjoy the book.
The cover art looks great. Who did it?
That was a great find. A young woman living in Russia named Valentina Barmina (who sometimes uses the online name of Omesore) did the artwork. I gave her a very rough guide to what I wanted the characters of Pussy and Foxy Kitt (the singer on cover) to look like, and she ran with it.
Where can I get a copy?
You will be able to buy it online through amazon.com, the publishing.pandahead.com website, and at select bookstores and shows that I’ll be attending. Come on out to one and see me! I’ll sketch Pussy or Foxy in the book for you. Current release date is June 28.
Will there be an audiobook version?
That’s the plan. We haven’t started it yet, but we hope to have it out before the end of the summer. A pulp-noir story translates wonderfully to an audio format, and I think it will be a fun listen. Stay tuned for more details!
Anything else you want to say?
Only that I truly hope everyone loves this book, if for no other reason than to push me to write the next one. I had so much fun writing this it was silly. I already plan to continue exploring the world of Pussy Katnip, but with any demand, that’s going to happen sooner rather than later.