Today I'm pleased to bring you author Cathy Perkins. Sit back, even put up your feet and enjoy Cathy's answers to 5 questions, the blurb on her book and her bio. A great way to find a new author to read and enjoy.
Welcome to An Indie Adventure, Cathy.
Thanks for visiting me to visit!
Tell us, what inspired you to write your book CYPHER?
Most of my stories start with a “what if?” Without giving away the plot and all the twists, my most recent release, CYPHER, starts with, What if a hitman killed the wrong person?
The “whys” line 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 grow and become three-dimensional as I think through the implications and how that character will react to events unfolding around him or her. In CYPHER, both Cara and David have to fight for what they really want, and each has to trust the other, something that doesn’t come easily for them.
Because I love tightly plotted stories that twist and turn, I generally outline the major story lines. I’m always surprised when I finish the first draft and find small setups and details that my subconscious added. During edits, I weave these bits into the story to build out a suspect or enhance a theme.
How do you use setting to further your story?
To me, the setting needs to be more than a description of an item or place. It needs to reflect the characters – choices they’ve made, where they live and how they dress, what they notice about other people—and what is also says about the Point of View character.
Here’s a pair of short excerpts:
First, from the hitman’s perspective after breaking into Cara’s condo:
He closed the door behind him and stood still, absorbing the nuances of the quiet. Hum of a refrigerator. Citrus polish. Fabric surfaces to deaden sound.
Softness that expected safety.
Now, here’s another short description of Cara’s condo when Detective David Morris enters after being called to the crime scene:
Morris gave the living room a quick assessment. “Nice” was his initial impression. Everything matched, like it was supposed to go together, unlike the futon and recliner in his small house. Wainwright’s furniture was the kind of stuff his wife—his ex-wife—wanted while they were married—and got from the guy she married last month.
Can you see both the living room—and know a little more about these characters?
How do you construct your characters?
I guess the short answer is the characters grow and develop as I write the story. The more I throw at them, the more their “character” shows.
Okay, trying to answer the question ;)
As I mentioned above, I “knew” Cara fairly well before I started writing. She’s a mashup of so many women in their thirties who’re building a career, ready to start putting down some roots and maybe starting to wonder if Mr. Right is even out there. Then this competent person is thrown into circumstances completely outside her experience and way beyond her control. She’s drawing on her core strengths to survive and pushing to learn the truth behind a lot of lies.
I didn’t want David to be a cliché with a badge but I also didn’t want him to have so much baggage that he couldn’t carry his end of the investigation—and be a worthy hero for Cara.
This novel is a little different, though, because Cypher, the Wainwright family business is almost a character in the story. While there are family businesses everywhere, I wanted to layer in the family dynamics that are particular to the South—the expectations and obligations of family ties.
Cypher is at the center of the mystery, but its connections and secrets are as hidden as the buildings in the excerpt. The company provides a tangible symbol of the family relationships and dynamics, which are a key component in the story. Convinced her father knows more than he’s telling, Cara pushes from the inside—both within the family and the business—for answers. Stonewalled by both Cara’s father and other Cypher executives, Detective David Morris pulls on the external forensic evidence. Unsure whether they can trust each other, Cara and David have to join forces to get to the truth and stop the murders.
How is your main character completely different than you?
Cara and I are both Southern women, but over the course of the story, Cara becomes much more outspoken in confronting her father and determined to find the truth. I love seeing this resolute determination in today’s young women!
Tell us something about yourself we might not expect!
My husband and I are in the process of moving to our place in the mountains. I shared our latest challenge--moving and rebuilding a 100-year old barn—last week on our group blog, Not Your Usual Suspects; http://notyourusualsuspects.blogspot.com/2014/08/moving-house-and-moving-new-release.html
Head over to Facebook or my website – I’ve had fun sharing the crazy stories that go with moving that barn!
Give us a brief summary of CYPHER :
“A twisty mystery mixed with a compelling romance. An engrossing read I didn’t want to put down.” Rachel Grant, bestselling author of the Evidence Series
Cara Wainwright thinks life can’t get tougher when her mother's cancer becomes terminal—until she returns home from the hospital and finds a courtyard full of police officers and her houseguests dead.
Greenville, SC Detective David Morris, is unsure if Cara is the suspect or the intended murder victim. Searching for insight into her family, their mounting secrets, and the conflicting evidence from multiple crimes, his attraction to Cara complicates his investigation. Is the lure need, manipulation—or real?
While David pursues forensic evidence, Cara pushes for answers about her father's possible involvement, for at the center of the mystery stands Cypher—the company her father built and will take any measures to defend.
When the assassin strikes again, Cara and David have to trust each other and work together to stop the killer before he eliminates the entire Wainwright family.
Thanks for letting me play 5 Questions with you today!
It was my pleasure Cathy, thanks again for being my guest!
An 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 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.