The Kiss and Thrill blog, where this was originally published, will soon be disappearing, and I am republishing my Kiss and Thrill posts here to keep a copy. This one is from August 2014.
Today I am excited to welcome Cathy Perkins back to Kiss and Thrill! Cathy and I first met when we finaled in the Golden Heart® together in 2008, and our friendship has grown over the years as she’s one of the Northwest Pixie Chicks – a group of amazing authors I go on a writing retreat with every year. The annual Pixie retreat is one of my favorite weekends of the year and Cathy is a big part of what makes the weekend so special.
Cathy has just released a new romantic suspense, CYPHER and I was among the lucky few who got to read an advance copy. I fired up my eReader as my plane took off in Anchorage, and when the plane neared Seattle I didn’t want to land. It’s that good.
I enjoyed it so much I’m giving it 5 airplanes and adding it to my list of favorite mile-high reads.
RG: Welcome back, Cathy!
CP: Thanks for having me!
RG: What published author (any genre) turns you into a total fangirl? Is there a particular book or is this based on their entire body of work?
CP: How much time do you have? So many favorite authors… Whew, narrowing it down to just one (or two ? )
Bouchercon (a huge reader conference for mystery and suspense people) was a constant fangirl moment for me. Every time I turned around, there was another favorite author! Two that especially stand out are Sophie Littlefield and Suzanne Brockmann. I’d just finished A Bad Day for Sorry and loved that Sophie’s heroine was middle aged and divorced—such a departure from the usual. Sophie was incredibly sweet. Her more recent books are women’s fiction, but she’s still on my auto-buy list.
Does anyone write romantic suspense better than Suzanne Brockmann? Well, obviously everyone here at Kiss and Thrill is fabulous, but I love the Troubleshooters!
Do you remember that Suzanne was the emcee at our 2008 Golden Heart ceremony, Rachel? Cowboy boots with her evening dress. That seems to sum up her independent streak.
RG: Thanks, from all of us at K&T! And I forgot Suzanne was the emcee—I think I was too petrified to notice.
Have you ever written fan fiction, and if so, what work was it based on? If you haven’t, is there any book or series you’d be tempted to write fan fiction about?
CP: I understand the concept of fan fiction – readers love the characters and continue with their own adventures for the characters – and can see the appeal. I have so many characters of my own I want to write about, so I don’t see writing fan fiction any time soon.
RG: Facebook or Twitter?
CP: I’m active on both. Twitter is fun for quick updates or call-outs, a chat with someone, and I still find it amusing that Alaska Air follows me.
RG: LOL! I was flying on Alaska when I read your book. Coincidence or kismet? Now that you have a 5 Airplane review, maybe other airlines will join your feed? ?
CP: Facebook gives me more time and space to interact with friends. My personal “lists” (groups such as authors writing for one of my publishers, our Golden Heart group, South Carolina friends) make it so much easier to stay in touch. The constantly changing algorithms mean I have to work a little harder to reach people, but it’s still the best way I’ve found to share.
RG: Wait, our GH group has a FB list? Next retreat I need remedial Facebook lessons…
What is the strangest weapon you’ve used to kill off a character, either on or off-scene?
CP: We had a discussion about this on the Sisters in Crime loop, and I admit, I felt like a newbie reading ways they’d managed to kill off characters! My contribution to the strangest weapon category must be a punji stick chewed to a lethal point by a beaver.
RG: Love it! Okay, tell us about CYPHER.
CP: CYPHER just released and a fabulous romantic suspense author tagged it, a twisty mystery, a compelling romance. That sums up the story nicely.
RG: [blushing] Thanks! Ahem. I mean… what an apt description!
CP: Without giving away the plot and all the twists, CYPHER started with the premise, What if a hitman killed the wrong person? The “whys” lined up from there—why was the killer sent to murder the heroine? Why wasn’t she home? Why was her friend there and mistaken for her? The characters grew and became three-dimensional as I thought through the implications and how that character would react to events unfolding around him or her.
Cypher is the name of the Wainwright family business, a company Cara’s father built and devoted his life to nurturing. Cara at times refers to it as “the la-la land of Secret Military Stuff.” The company is at the center of the mystery, but its connections and secrets are as hidden as the buildings are from the public. The company provides a tangible symbol of the family relationships and dynamics, which are key components in the story.
Originally I hadn’t planned to have Cara Wainwright and Detective David Morris romantically involved, but I quickly saw the potential for conflict and knew I had to explore that relationship. Each of them had to overcome inherent suspicion and questions about the other’s motive while dealing with this enormous crisis surrounding Cypher and Cara’s family.
RG: Thank you so much for joining us today, Cathy! I’m already counting the days until our next retreat…
A award-winning author Cathy Perkins works in the financial industry, where she’s observed the hide-in-plain-sight skills employed by her villains. She writes predominantly financial-based mysteries but enjoys exploring the relationship aspect of her characters’ lives. A member of Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America (Kiss of Death chapter) and International Thriller Writers, she is a contributing editor for The Big Thrill, handles the blog and social media for the ITW Debut Authors, and coordinated for the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense.
When not writing, she can be found doing battle with the beavers over the pond height or setting off on another travel adventure. Born and raised in South Carolina, the setting for CYPHER, HONOR CODE and THE PROFESSOR, she now lives in Washington with her husband, children, several dogs and the resident deer herd.