BOOK BRAG – A Touch of Gold

28 November

BOOK BRAG – A Touch of Gold

Blink readers, I’m so excited to introduce you to Annie Sullivan, a debut author with an AMAZING book. A Touch of Gold tells the story of Kora, the daughter King Midas turned to gold. Ten years have passed since her father gave up The Touch, but Kora has powers of her own she’s desperately trying to keep secret. When a thief steals precious items from the kingdom, Kora is the only one who can track the thief down, but she’ll have to face pirates, deadly sirens, and a battle or two along the way.

Annie’s here to talk to us about the inspiration behind the story, her extensive world traveling, and the insanely gorgeous cover for this book.

JM: Hello, Annie! We’re thrilled to be introducing readers to A Touch of Gold. Tell us a little bit about the book and about our main character, Kora.

AS: Hello! I’m so excited to be sharing this book with you because I love this world and these characters, and I hope you all will too. A Touch of Gold is a really unique retelling of the King Midas myth that focuses on his daughter, Kora, who thinks the only thing worse than being turned into a golden statue as a child is being turned back into a living, breathing, cursed human being. Kora isn’t your typical princess. She longs to escape the palace where she’s been locked away for her safety—and for the safety of others. And when the other objects King Midas turned to gold get stolen, Kora finally gets her wish. Only, the outside world is far more dangerous than she ever imagined. I think readers are going to love going on this adventure with Kora. It’s a little bit of Pirates of the Caribbean, Princess Bride, and Tangled all rolled into one!

JM: You draw heavily on mythology in A Touch of Gold. How much research went into this novel?

AS: A lot! I feel like I’ve been researching my whole life. My mom introduced me to fairytales and Greek mythology (like through the movie Jason and the Argonauts) when I was kid. So some of the knowledge has always been there, but I also did research on things like the Greek gods, Greek names, and ship layouts. I think the key with a retelling like this is having the mythology not only feel authentic, but also unique so the reader gets unexpected surprises along the way.

Of course, my favorite type of “research” for this was traveling. I feel like, as a writer, the more I see of the world, the more creative my landscapes can be. So having been to many countries helped me to shape these settings into something that feels real but magical.

JM: Despite being a princess of a mythological kingdom, Kora deals with a lot of the issues real-life readers face—anxiety, family problems, and low self-esteem. How do we see her address these issues as the book progresses?

AS: Kora is definitely “real” in the sense that she does face real problems, problems that many readers face in their own lives. And what I love about Kora is that she doesn’t let her fears and anxieties hold her back. She has to continually face them over and over again, and as she does, she realizes she’s stronger and more powerful than she ever imagined—that she’s more in control than she thought she could be. The same goes with her family relationships. Obviously, being turned to gold by her father puts a strain on that relationship. Communication is key there, and Kora realizes you can’t ignore problems and expect them to go away.

JM: Arrrrr, me hearty, there be pirates! (Yeah, okay, I would make a terrible pirate.) What can you tell us about pirates in the story?

AS: First of all, don’t mess with pirates—they’re scary! Kora has to go up against Captain Skulls, a pirate who’s not only ruthless and greedy, but who collects the skulls of his victims to put on display. Yuck!

JM: Let’s talk about the cover for a second—what did you think when you saw it for the first time?

AS: WOW! Right away, I loved all the gold raining down because it’s such a perfect representation of what’s inside the book. Then, you get down to that golden hand, and it sort of calls out to you to come closer, to enter the book, to find out about a girl who has golden skin! It’s mysterious and intriguing all it once, and the way the gold and black play off each other really highlights some of the themes of the book. I also love that the hand is holding a rose. The rose is something that holds a lot of significance for Kora…but to find out why, you’ll have to read the book.

JM: Last but not least, you’ve traveled all over the world. Top five places…ready, set, go!

AS: Ahh!!! This is such a hard one, but here we go…(and yes, I know I cheated and have 6 instead of 5, but asking someone who travels their 5 favorite places to visit is like asking a reader what their 5 favorite books are—they’ll always have more than 5):

  • Antarctica—there’s nothing like walking amongst penguins in the wild or taking a polar plunge in absolutely frigid water.
  • Grand Cayman—this was my grandpa’s favorite island to visit, and so it always reminds me of him. Also, the beaches are amazing.
  • The Galapagos Islands—these islands are stunning, and the variety of landscapes you can see so close together just spurs the imagination.
  • Ireland—I was lucky enough to study abroad here in college and travel all around. As you might guess from my name, I have Irish roots, and nothing compares to the green hills of Ireland.
  • Budapest—the city skyline has so many beautiful spires, and the hotel where we stayed overlooked the Fisherman’s Bastion—so it felt like there was a fairytale castle right outside my window!
  • South Africa—not only did I get to go cage diving with great white sharks, but going on animal safaris was just stunning!

Thanks so much, Annie! Readers, stay tuned for more posts on A Touch of Gold and from Annie, and be sure to preorder the book at the link below!

Preorder here:


Barnes & Noble


Twitter: @annsulliva

Instagram: @annsulliva

About the Book 

King Midas once had the ability to turn all he touched into gold. But after his gift—or curse—almost killed his daughter, Midas relinquished The Touch forever. Ten years later, Princess Kora still bears the consequences of her father’s wish: her skin shines golden, rumors follow her everywhere she goes, and she harbors secret powers that are getting harder to hide.

Kora spends her days locked in the palace, concealed behind gloves and veils, trying to ignore the stares and gossip of courtiers. It isn’t until a charming young duke arrives that Kora realizes there may be someone out there who doesn’t fear her or her curse. But their courtship is disrupted when a thief steals precious items from the kingdom, leaving the treasury depleted and King Midas vulnerable. Thanks to her unique ability to sense gold, Kora is the only one who can track the thief down. As she sails off on her quest, Kora learns that not everything is what it seems—not thieves, not pirates, and not even curses. She quickly discovers that gold—and the power it brings—is more dangerous than she’d ever believed.

About the Author

Annie Sullivan grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana. She received her Masters degree in Creative Writing from Butler University. She loves fairytales, everything Jane Austen, and traveling. Her wanderlust has taken her to every continent, where she’s walked on the Great Wall of China, found four-leaf clovers in Ireland, waddled with penguins in Antarctica, and cage dived with great white sharks in South Africa. You can follow her adventures on Twitter (@annsulliva) or on her blog:

Jillian Manning is the lead acquisitions editor with Blink YA Books. She spends her days editing manuscripts and her evenings fighting book crime as a masked vigilante known as the Blink Ninja. Follow her on Twitter at @LillianJaine or on her blog at

22 November

Blink Blog: Thanksgiving and Black Friday

It’s Thanksgiving week! We are back with a new Blink Blog highlighting some of our author’s favorite things and traditions. Keep reading below…

What are your Thanksgiving traditions?

Alison Gervais: Thanksgiving traditions include family time, an amazing dinner featuring turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, rolls, and cheeseball. Pumpkin pie is also a must. There are also certain years where my or my niece’s birthday land on Thanksgiving too, so sometimes we also have birthday cake and present opening.

Annie Sullivan: For Thanksgiving, I usually go over to my parent’s house in the morning, and my mom and I watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. Then, we spend all day cooking and baking. That night, we have all the family over and eat everything from turkey and mashed potatoes to green bean casserole and homemade rolls. It’s a wonderful day to just spend with my family and be grateful for each other.

Christina June: We alternate years at my parents’ house and my in-laws’ house.  There aren’t any specific traditions, other than the occasional whipped cream fight at the table and eating my sister-in-law’s rolls.

Lorie Langdon: I LOVE the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! I have to watch it every year, usually while I’m making Sweet Potato Casserole for our family get-together. We always have a huge Thanksgiving lunch with my husband’s family—there are 25 of us—then we have dessert at our house for my side of the family.

McCall Hoyle:  Spend time with family, do puzzles, play board games, watch the Macy’s Day Parade and a bit of football, hold hands and share what we’re thankful for, pray, and eat, eat, eat until we can’t eat any more.

Black Friday – Yes or No?

Alison Gervais: 

Annie Sullivan: I used to go with my parents as a kid, but I’ve stopped in more recent years. Although, I did go out last year to get this AMAZING Cinderella dollhouse that’s as tall as I am for my niece. Of course, then I had to build said dollhouse, but it was totally worth it because my niece loves it.

Christina June: I used to enjoy going, but it’s become too much of a circus.  My sisters-in-law usually go, so I comb through the ads and give them a list of things to look for.  I am, however, a big fan of Cyber Monday.

Jonathan Friesen: Horrors, no. I avoid stores at all cost, except for ALDI’S. I’m in love with ALDI’S

Lorie Langdon: If I go out on Black Friday, it’s with my Mom and we only go to a couple of stores, then go out to lunch and see a movie. It’s more about spending quality time together than shopping.

McCall Hoyle:  No—all caps, bold, forty-eight point font—no. I tried it. It did not make me thankful or fun to be around. I’ll gladly stay home with family and eat leftovers.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish?

Alison Gervais: My favorite Thanksgiving dish would have to be my family’s cheeseball. We only have it during the holidays, which is fortunate for my cousin, who hates it.

Annie Sullivan: I think the turkey is my favorite part. My dad always makes an amazing turkey that just makes it feel like Thanksgiving.

Christina June: Pumpkin pie, of course.

Jonathan Friesen: This is not fair. Whatever is on that plate mixes together, and I don’t really taste individual stuff. It’s all just plump goodness.

Lorie Langdon: I adore all kinds of pie! Pecan, apple, pumpkin…bring it on!!

McCall Hoyle:  My mother-in-law’s pumpkin crisp, which has caused more than one family disagreement about who gets the leftovers.

12 November

A Special Interview with McCall Hoyle

We interviewed McCall Hoyle about The Thing With Feathers and Epilepsy Awareness Month. Read below for this special Q&A!

What inspired you to write The Thing with Feathers

As a teacher and mom, I see so many teenage girls hiding their true selves from their peers. So I wanted to write a hopeful story about a girl learning that true acceptance always starts on the inside and works its way out.

A few years ago, I taught a student who struggled deeply with the stress and worry caused by her sister’s epilepsy. At about the same time in a lucky twist of fate, my family inherited a golden retriever who was bred to do therapy work. The dog was more human than many humans. I began working with this amazing dog training him for agility and obedience. I became fascinated by golden retrievers and assistant dogs and did lots and lots of research and reading on the subject. I was especially intrigued by seizure alert dogs as seizure alerting cannot truly be taught and is greatly affected by the bond between the owner and dog.

I knew I had to write a story about a girl with epilepsy learning to love herself unconditionally the way her golden retriever did.

How does The Thing with Feathers tie in to Epilepsy Awareness month? 

Sixteen-year-old, Emilie Day, the main character in The Thing with Feathers, believes that she will never truly belong anywhere because of her epilepsy. She’s good at playing it safe and flying under the radar until she’s forced from the safety of homeschool into the perils of public high school. It’s much harder to hide when she’s surrounded by people. Emilie must eventually learn that a true sense of belonging can only come from inside. Only then will she be able to love and be loved the way her assistant dog, Hitch, loves her.

The Thing with Feathers is a hopeful book meant to inspire all readers but especially teenage girls with epilepsy and the family and friends who love them.

What can our readers do to help support Epilepsy Awareness month?

For starters, visit the Epilepsy Foundation website at  for an almost endless number of ways to donate money and/or volunteer time.

One thing my students and I will be doing is participating in the #MyShotAtEpilepsy social media campaign to raise awareness for those struggling with epilepsy. Here’s a link for information on how to participate:

And of course, wear purple ribbons or anything purple for that matter in an effort to start conversations about Epilepsy Awareness Month in November.

Can you share a bit more about why this cause is so important to you? 

Because I see so many girls struggling with anxiety, depression, and a wide array of other medical issues, it’s really important to me to deliver messages of hope. Being a teenage girl was difficult for me. It was difficult for my daughter, and it’s difficult for many of the girls I teach.

I want girls to know that no matter what they’re struggling with, whether it’s visible on the outside or hidden on the inside, there is always a reason to remain hopeful about the future and to try to make the world a better place for ourselves and for others.

The epilepsy theme especially resonated with me because it is a neurological disorder that many, many people struggle with in silence. One of the greatest joys of writing the book has been the outpouring of love and gratitude from friends who either have epilepsy themselves or who have a child or other loved one with epilepsy.

What can readers expect to see from you in the next few months? 

The next year is going to be super busy—just the way I like it. I’m conducting school, bookstore, library, and Girl Scout visits all over the Southeast. I’ll be presenting at a couple of state and national teacher and reader conferences. Readers can follow me on social media or check out for more details.

Most importantly, a follow-up book to The Thing with Feathers will release this fall. The cover for Meet the Sky will be revealed any day now, and the book will be available for pre-order most everywhere books are sold.

It’s gearing up to be an amazing 2018. I look forward to sharing it with lots