Monday, August 27, 2012

Welcome Guest Author - Sue Perkins

STEPH: Sue, thanks for being here today. Tell us, What's the plot for “The Sixth Key?”

SUE: Riley is whisked into an alternate world where telepaths rule and mutes fight for the right to exist. The telepaths want to find out how Riley shields her mind, something she believes is automatic to the humans of Earth. She is caught between the man who brought her to Sacral and the leader of the Mutes. Riley unearths secrets from Sacral’s past and sets out to solve the Riddle of the Keys and the true identity of the King of Sacral.

STEPH: Where did you find the inspiration for the main story?

SUE: I saw an accident on the TV news and wondered what would happen if the unconscious person woke up in another world. From there my fantasy mind took over and populated Sacral with telepaths, mutes and mythical animals. The Riddle of the Keys came out of nowhere and pulled everything together making it all work.

STEPH: How do the hero and heroine meet?

SUE: Riley runs away from Jothur, the Prince who brought her to Sacral, when she realizes the telepaths will use force to discover how her mind shield works. Her horse bolts, taking her into the forest where the mutes live and she meets Tynan their leader. She’s attracted to him but is confused as she also thought she had feelings for Jothur.

STEPH: How does the cover reflect the story?

SUE: If you look carefully behind the title you will see the words of the Riddle of the Keys faintly showing in a gold color. The purplish sky is seen through the entrance to the Cavern of Discovery, one of the spots on Sacral where the magic bubbles to the surface.

STEPH: What genre is “The Sixth Key” and why do you like to write that genre?

SUE: Fantasy romance or speculative fiction. In other words a romance that can fit into futuristic, fantasy or just one of those you have to read and make up your own mind about which genre it fits into.
I love reading this genre so it’s natural for me to let my mind run free and write this style of book.

STEPH: How long have you been writing?

SUE: I’ve been writing seriously for over two decades but my first book was published in 1997. Since then I’ve had over a dozen books published. I feel I can definitely call myself an author now and hope to continue building on my good start.

STEPH: Are you a plotter or a panster?

SUE: Definitely a panster. I usually start with an idea, write the first paragraph, page or chapter and let it stew while I carry on with other projects. When I eventually go back I usually have some idea of where it’s going to end, but the middle is quite often hidden in the mists of time (or novel writing). It all works out in the end though.

STEPH: Do you prefer to read ebooks or print books?

SUE: Depends where I am. When I go to bed at night I read a print book as I find it’s easier to cuddle under the covers with one of these. On the go, I read ebooks. Why? It’s much easier to carry an ebook reader, smartphone or iPad and I can load as many books as I want. Reading is reading, no matter what format you read in. All that matters is that you enjoy what you read.

STEPH: Who is your favorite author?

SUE: Terry Pratchett, Anne McCaffrey, Trudi Canavan. I love fantasy books. Mind you I also like contemporary romance/ life books such as Rebecca Shaw’s “Turnham Malpas” series. For many years I would read anything whether I liked it or not, now I have given myself permission to not finish a book if I don’t like it.

STEPH: Fun question: What's your favorite children's book?

SUE: Apart from Harry Potter? I like Jenny Nimmo’s books about Charlie Bone and Brian Jacques “Redwall” series. These are fantasy and magic books so you can see why I like to read these books. I haven’t really got an overall favorite.


Paintings hung on each side of the gallery. Riley, having all morning to fill, slowly walked down the left-hand side, peering at the portraits as she passed.

The first paintings looked really old, but all the men had a resemblance to each other. Overall they were vaguely familiar to her. Of course, they were images of Jothur's ancestors: past kings of Sacral. Jothur had said he resembled his mother which is why she hadn't at first seen the resemblance. The likeness reminded her of King Hurat -- mostly around the eyes, but a few of them had the same mouth and nose.

Riley turned to look at the first portraits again. Head tilted on one side, she took a step backward and flicked her eyes along the row again.

Wouldn't you know it? The ones with a resemblance to Hurat are the ones who look really nasty.

Further along the gallery the portraits became more modern. Each one had a brass plaque beneath it with the name of the subject.

Prufin, Soovu, Lianto...

Halfway down the second wall, an arched alcove held a high lectern-style desk and an equally tall chair. Riley wondered what use this furniture had in a portrait gallery. The words 'Ruler of Sacral -- Sacral King, Queen of Sacral -- Sacral Ring' were carved into the top of the lectern.

I wonder what that means.

Moving around the room she arrived at the portrait before Hurat.

Thorsa. I suppose this is Hurat's father. Wonder why the plaque's a bit grubby.

Riley bent down and rubbed the brass with her sleeve. A tingle shot up her arm. She quickly moved back and stared at the plaque. It looked totally innocent and no different from the other kings' names. She bent again, but this time didn't touch anything. An irregularity in the stonework caught her attention, and Riley leaned closer. Without touching the wall, her finger followed a faint line tracing a rectangle from one side of the portrait, down under the name tag and up the other side. The plaque sat in the center of the box made by the line.

Magic I suppose. I wonder what sort of magic though.

Riley's stomach rumbled, making her aware of the time. Any investigation of Thorsa's plaque would need to wait until she had more time. A quick look at the last portrait showed King Hurat definitely had a resemblance to the previous paintings. A dark place followed this portrait. Had a painting been removed?

I wonder what happened to it.

There were no other gaps in the gallery. Riley shook her head. There weren't any paintings of the queens of Sacral either. Males dominated this world even in the present day. Did she really want to stay here? And if not, was there a way back to her own world?

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  1. Sue, it's great to have you here today. You know I enjoy your writing. The 6th Key is in my TBR pile!


  2. Thanks Steph, I always enjoy visiting your blog, it's such a fun place to be.