One of my favorite Welsh legends provided the inspiration for my GRIM SERIES. The Grim is a legendary canine with many names: The Black Dog, the Gwyllgi, the Dog of Darkness, the Barghest, Dog of the Twilight, and the Black Hound of Destiny. It’s said to resemble a giant mastiff, larger than any living dog, and its eyes are often glowing red or fiery yellow.
The tale is an old one, dating all the way back to Celtic times, long before the Romans arrived in Britain. And the Grim doesn’t belong to Wales alone. There are local variations on the story all over the UK. In general, the enormous dog is the herald of Death itself, and those who see the animal are usually destined to die very soon. The dog appears without warning, follows or even chases people – yet vanishes without a trace! Electrical storms are often associated with the dog’s appearance.
In its defense, however, the Grim hasn’t always been threatening – at least, not to the innocent. Sometimes the animal is an instrument of justice, hunting down escaped murderers. A few stories recount incidents where the great beast protected children or guarded lone travelers.
This made me wonder – what if the ghostly creature had a conscience, a sense of right and wrong? What if the black dog didn’t mindlessly follow its mission? In fact, why did he get stuck with a task like this in the first place – and what if he didn’t want it?
Thoughts like these led to the first book, Storm Warrior. After that, the characters and the stories just kept on growing! And they were helped along by an “Honorary Grim”, Grand Champion Vincent de BluHouse. He’s a handsome blue-gray Neapolitan Mastiff who lives with his family, Gay Bamburg McDonald and Mike McDonald, in sultry Louisiana.
Vincent has been invaluable in helping me visualize the massive faery dogs, how they might look and move and sound. And he was undeniably the inspiration for the Grim character, Braith, in my new release, Storm Crossed.
Thank you Vincent, and thank you Gay and Mike! I’m so lucky that we connected! Both my life and my stories are richer for it.