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!
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: anniesullivanauthor.wordpress.com.
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 www.EditorSays.com.