Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the upcoming release of your YA novel, A Curse of Gold! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the book’s premise, and what inspired you to tell this story?
Annie Sullivan: This story is about Kora, the cursed daughter of King Midas and who has magical gold powers, as she sets out to end the curse hanging over her and her father. It’s a fun fairytale retelling that brings in Greek mythology, pirates, and more!
As for the inspiration, it was actually inspired by both the original Greek myth and the movie, Pirates of the Caribbean. I got to thinking about all that cursed gold they had to track down in the movie, which led me to thinking about other cursed gold. And when King Midas popped into my mind, I knew I wanted to write about his daughter and tell her forgotten story.
BD: Your novel deftly combines the mystical and the magical into an action-packed swashbuckling tale for your readers. How would you describe your creative process in bringing this story to life, and who (or what) were some of your creative influences for this project?
AS: I’m what many writers call a “pantser,” which means I don’t plot my stories but rather “fly by the seat of my pants.” So, I usually start with just a vague idea of who my character is and what they’re going to face. Then, I just fill in the rest as I go, learning about the world and other characters as I encounter them. This approach takes more rewriting, but I love the adventure of experiencing the story more like my readers do as I create it. And I always draw inspiration from the world and people around me, especially from myself. I give characters my positive and negative traits. Outside of that, I’d say other writers are always influencing me and how I write, especially the authors whose work I grew up on, like Jane Austen and Meg Cabot.
BD: At Fanbase Press this year, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that A Curse of Gold’s story will connect with and impact readers, and why do you feel that this story was important for you to bring to life?
AS: Princess Kora is a character who I hope many young readers can relate to and learn from. She starts out as a softer character who isn’t sure of herself and who hates the golden skin she has as a leftover side effect of the curse. As a result of her skin, rumors fly about her—like that she turns back into a golden statue at night or that she’ll turn you to gold if you look her in the eye. Basically, Kora is bullied, and through the course of the novel, she has to learn to love herself and her flaws, especially the things she gets bullied for. Because it turns out her greatest strengths may just be the keys to saving the kingdom and her father. So, I want readers to see what my characters overcome in their fictional worlds and take that example and overcome the obstacles in their own lives because their favorite characters have shown them the way.
BD: What makes Blink the perfect home for A Curse of Gold?
AS: Blink is the perfect home for the book, because they publish what I would call “PG-13” young adult books. And A Curse of Gold is just a fun adventure that I think will speak to audiences looking for books without certain content.
BD: Do you foresee expanding the novel into subsequent books or even into other entertainment mediums, if given the opportunity?
AS: Oh yes! I have a couple spin-off ideas in mind for some characters, and I would love to see things expanded to a movie or TV series since I think the world is so vast and offers so many opportunities for other characters to enter the picture—because Kora and her father are only two of the individuals cursed by the gods.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
AS: I have so many irons in the fire right now. I’m working on both some picture books and some new young adult books—some that are retellings and some that are not. Nothing I can talk about for sure right now, but I will keep fans updated on social media!
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about A Curse of Gold and your other work?
AS: I love interacting with fans and readers, so please come find me on social media.
Tik Tok: @authoranniesullivan