What if you wished that everything you touched turned to gold?
In Annie Sullivan’s A Touch of Gold, King Midas once wished for the ability to turn all that he touched into gold. Ten years later, Princess Kora still bears the consequences: her skin shines golden and she harbors secret powers that are getting harder to hide. When a thief steals from the kingdom, Kora finds out that not everything is as it seems, and that gold is more dangerous than she’d ever believed.
“I actually got the idea [for the book]after watching the first movie,” said Sullivan. “Seeing the pirates having to collect all that gold got me thinking about cursed gold and ways to track it, which led me to thinking about King Midas since he dealt with gold.”
A Touch of Gold is based on the myth of King Midas. In the myth, Midas is offered a reward from Dionysus for being kind and hospitable to the satyr Silenus. His wish? That everything he touches be turned to gold.
There are many legends about King Midas. In some legends, he had a son. In others, he had a daughter. And because Sullivan loves to write about strong females, she switched her focus to Midas’s daughter.
“She’s such a throwaway character in the original myth, and I wanted to explore her story—her curse—after her father turns her to gold,” said Sullivan.
In some versions of the legend, the daughter’s name is Zoë. In this novel, her name is Kora.
“Names are very important to me. I take a lot of time selecting names, and whenever I add a new character, I can’t write about them until they have a name,” said Sullivan. “Several characters, like Kora, have names inspired by Greek culture. The name Kora has Greek origins and means maiden, which I love.
“There’s a scene where Kora and her cousin face off against some characters inspired by Greek mythology, and it’s these two strong females battling it out against these creatures to save the day. I love that scene and how these women don’t need saving. It’s a really powerful moment in the book, and it always makes me smile.”
And while Kora and Hettie argue and disagree sometimes, they are great female characters that support each other and help each other conquer challenges.
“[Kora] has to learn to love herself as she is, flaws and all, because sometimes the things we thought were flaws turn out to be our biggest strength and the thing that makes us most unique,” said Sullivan “We should celebrate what makes us unique.”