Thursday, August 21, 2014

Get Lost in a Suspense and Author Cathy Perkins

The Get Lost in a Story crew is pleased to welcome back Suspense Author Cathy Perkins with a new release called Cypher. 

About Cypher:

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 at the heart of the family, Cara and David have to trust each other and work together to stop the killer before he eliminates the entire Wainwright dynasty.
 

DONNELL:  Cathy, I'm so excited to have you here.  Welcome back!
 
Now I have to share, Cathy was my roomie at Left Coast Crime, so I know she knows something about Greenville, SC. But she also lives in the Pacific Northwest. So, I’m going to put her on the spot—which place is your favorite?

 

CATHY: Oh that’s not fair Donnell – I love both places!

I grew up in the Greenville area and still have family there, so it will always hold a special place in my heart. Greenville sits in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and has thousands of trees and lush gardens that are very different from my current home. Although Seattle, aka Emerald City, is also known for its fantastic greenery, we’re in the process of building up in the Cascade Mountains, which has its own enormous evergreens and cottonwoods.

The biggest difference between the two areas is, of course, cultural. The South has managed to hang onto its outgoing charm, while Seattle-ites are more likely to wear earbuds and a hooded rain jacket and avoid eye-contact. 

 
DONNELL:  Cypher, it’s the name of a company. Tell us about it, and how it ties into the story, and why it should be the title.

 
CATHY:  Cypher is the name of the Wainwright family business, a company her father built and devoted his life to nurturing. Cara, the heroine, at times refers to it as “the la-la land of Secret Military Stuff.”

Here’s a short description from her point of view:

Frontage Road paralleled the Interstate, providing access to the businesses lining the highway. Moments later, [Cara] turned at the discreet sign marking Cypher’s entrance. Densely planted arborvitaes hid the tall fence and razor wire surrounding the grounds, but she knew what the trees concealed.

A landscaped drive curved toward the main building. Up-lighting hidden amid the birches enhanced the white bark, converting the trees to sculptural elements. This was the part of Cypher people were supposed to notice. From this perspective, the company appeared tranquil and prosperous. Very few people knew the company made guidance components for missiles and military aircraft.
 
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.
 

DONNELL: How is Cathy Perkins like Cara Wainwright, and in what way is she different?

 CATHY:  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!

DONNELL: What’s the most attractive thing about David? What’s his major character flaw?
 
CATHY:  The most attractive thing about David is his intelligence and refusal to take the easy way out, but he’s generally “gone along to get along.”

I think this short excerpt captures his character:

Morris understood pressure. His parents wanted him to live their dream and run the family business. As a detective, pressure came in all shapes and forms. But the force he felt working on him now surpassed anything he’d experienced before—massive demands grinding as inexorably as continental plates. That kind of pressure changed rocks, turned carbon into diamond.

In his mind, he saw Cara crossing the lobby of the sheriff’s department, with no idea she had the undivided attention of every male in the room, earnestly holding her list of names, trying to help. He saw the stubborn set of her jaw before she admitted talking to the investment guy. He felt her passionate response to his body during sex; heard her voice, warm and intimate, talking about her mother, confiding her fears. He remembered the expression on her face when she opened the lake house door—all lit up, excited to see him. Then the slow fade when she saw his anger. The final vision ground into him: Cara’s limp body in a pool of blood and glass.

Those images kept building up. He had to decide where to go with them—whether the pressure would crush him or turn him into a diamond.

He’d do his job for the other three victims.

For Cara, he’d push all the limits.

 DONNELL:  What would you label this story? Mystery or suspense? And what was the most interesting thing you learned while researching this story?

 CATHY: I think everyone has their own definition of the two genres, but I see CYPHER as more suspense than mystery. While both genres draw on the characters as much as the plot, in a mystery, if the hero and heroine stop pushing, then the villain gets away and the action stops. With a suspense, even if the protagonist stops, the villain(s) will still keep coming after them. In CYPHER, Cara and David have to figure out the mystery surrounding the company and the family because the assassin isn’t going to stop if they give up.

On the research side, I learned a tremendous amount about Triads and Tongs, and even read the FBI white paper that Detective Morris reads in the story. The Asian organized crime is scary because they’re very smart and decentralized, making it even harder for law enforcement to infiltrate.

DONNELL: When you’re not writing, where will we find you?

CATHY: I’m still working at a financial day job but we’re also in the process of moving to our place in the mountains. I shared our latest challenge--moving a 100-year old barn—last week on our group blog, Not Your Usual Suspects.   

 
DONNELL:  What comes next for Cathy Perkins?

CATHY:  I’m working on a lighter story right now, set in the Cascades instead of South Carolina. The starting point for it occurred while cutting up with a friend. We riffed off the opening line—there’s a body in the beaver pond. Oh, dam(n).

 Note to readers: Cathy and I brainstormed a bit of the dam(n) story; you're in for a real treat.  Cathy, now it’s your turn.  Time to ask the reader a question. 

CATHY PERKINS WANTS TO KNOW: Have you ever found yourself thinking about a character – after the story is finished? What makes you think about them? The character themselves or the situation he or she was in?

 
Thanks for letting me visit today, Donnell. This has been a lot of fun.
 
Our pleasure. Good luck with Cypher!


Bio:
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 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.
Social Media
Facebook       https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCathyPerkins
Twitter            @cperkinswrites 
website           http://cperkinswrites.com
Goodreads                 http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5367341.Cathy_Perkins
 
 
Book links
 
ISBN                1942003005
ISBN13           978-1942003007
Amazon          http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MMLX1ZQ
B&N                http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cypher-cathy-perkins/1120110911     
Kobo               http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/cypher-1
 



7 comments:

  1. Cathy, welcome! And in answer to your question, I often think about the characters after a story ends. It's like saying goodbye to old friends, and that the sign of a good book! Can't wait to read Cypher!

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    1. Thanks for inviting me to "Get Lost," Donnell!

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  2. Hi, Cathy! Wow, moving a barn must have been so interesting. And am giggling over dam(n). Congratulations on your books.

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  3. Hi Vicki - that barn... what an adventure!

    As much as I loved writing all the twists and turns in Cypher, it's fun to write a story that's light (can you call a book where someone dies "light"...).

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  4. Just have to say that picture of you looks like such a great mystery author photo. So mysterious and such a killer gleam in your eye. It's really great!

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  5. Thanks Donnell - I did have a good time at the photo shoot!

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  6. Cathy I loved your series about the lawyer set in South Carolina. Will you ever write more in that series. The book you just wrote sounds quite interesting, too.

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