Author Spotlight: Annie Sullivan talks A Touch of Gold
I'm so happy to be welcoming Annie Sullivan blog! Annie's work has been featured in Curly Red Stories and Punchnels, and her novel, Goldilocks, won the Luminis Books Award at the 2013 Midwest Writers Workshop. She loves fairytales, everything Jane Austen, and traveling and exploring new cultures. When she’s not off on her own adventures, she’s teaching classes at the Indiana Writers Center and working as the Copy Specialist at John Wiley and Sons, Inc. publishing company, having also worked there in Editorial and Publicity roles.
Her debut novel A TOUCH OF GOLD is out now!
And now, here's my chat with Annie!
Hi, Annie! Welcome and congrats on the release of A Touch of Gold. Can you tell us a little about the story and what inspired you to write it?
A Touch of Gold is a young adult fairytale retelling about the cursed daughter of King Midas who has deadly gold powers. She has to face pirates, betrayers, and thieves on her quest to retrieve her father’s gold when it gets stolen. It’s a fun adventure story that puts a new twist on the old myth.
I came up with the idea after watching the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie. I started thinking about cursed gold, which led me to the King Midas myth. But I love to write about strong female characters, so I focused on his daughter, who gets nearly forgotten in the original myth. I wanted to explore her story—her curse.
Kora’s circumstances make for such an intriguing character! What was your favorite thing about writing her?
Kora truly is a unique character. She has golden skin and is considered an outcast even within the palace. She really struggles with finding her place—and her worth—in the world. So my favorite part about writing her was watching her get stronger and more confident as she went along.
How did you approach worldbuilding for A Touch of Gold?
Worldbuilding is so important in a fantasy novel, and I really wanted to tread carefully in A Touch of Gold. I wanted to both incorporate the original myth and Greek mythology while also giving it a new twist. With that in mind, I created a new world where these characters could flourish and experience their adventures in exciting new locales while still bringing in elements of Greek mythology.
I’m a firm believer in the idea that every story teaches the writer something new, so what did writing A Touch of Gold teach you?
A Touch of Gold was the first novel I ever tried writing, and so the first thing it taught me was that in order to write a novel you have to stop asking “how do I write a novel” and just write it. It might be hard, and you might get lost. But that’s why you revise later. First, you just have to finish it.
What’s your best tip when it comes to plotting a re-telling or re-imagining?
The first thing you need to figure out is who you’re writing about. Is it someone who’s in the tale originally? If so, what new twist can you bring to the table? If not, how will you shape this new story in regard to the old one. You have to decide how close you want to stay to the original and whether venturing too far from that will affect reader expectations.
What are you reading, watching, or otherwise currently infatuated with?
I just finished reading Legendary by Stephanie Garber, and I loved it. What I love most about her writing is that I can’t predict what’s going to happen. Even after reading her first book, I thought I knew all her tricks, but she kept me guessing…in fact, I’m still guessing as I wait for the next book in the series! I’m also on a huge Law & Order kick right now. My dad and both my brothers and all attorneys, so maybe that has something to do with it—but I just love trying to figure out who did it.
And finally, what’s the most important lesson you’ve learned so far in your publishing career?
Meet as many authors as you can. Not only do they make good critique partners, but they know so much about the industry. Go to conferences, go to readings, go to signings and start getting to know others in the industry. Support other authors, and they’ll be willing to support you right back. This can be a tough business, and you need someone in your corner who understands.
Many thanks go out to Annie for taking the time to tell us more about A TOUCH OF GOLD, plotting a retelling, and her tips for connecting with other writers. Add Annie's King Midas retelling to your Goodreads list, or (better yet!) order your copy RIGHT NOW from retail sites such as Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Or you can always request it at your library, or local independent bookstore!
And, as always,