Southern Inspiration

The Desert Muses is thrilled to announce our first July guest blogger. Please help me welcome award-winning author Cathy Perkins.

One of the questions authors hear most often is, “Where do you get the inspiration for your stories?” A snippet of conversation or a hmm, what if..? can spark an idea but sometimes the setting suggests a story possibility. Exotic locations can be inspiring but a novel based at “home” allows me to dive deeper into what makes that place special and how the setting influences the story.

Downtown Greenville (2)Although my family lives in the Pacific Northwest now, “Home” for me will always be South Carolina, the place I was born and raised. Now lots of books have been written about the South and many of them feature small towns with a hundred residents who are all related to each other. While those places exist, that isn’t “my” South. I lived in a city filled with universities, cultural opportunities and innovative companies.

Lake Bowen (2)Many of the places described in Cypher, my latest release, are real, if slightly modified to protect the innocent. The story’s action shifts between the growing metropolitan area and a small, secluded lake. I learned to ski on Lake Bowen and stayed with friends in a cottage remarkably like the one where Cara, the heroine, retreats to regroup. All those images tumbled through my head as Cypher’s story elements evolved. I knew that was the South I wanted to share with readers.

As the story grew and took shape, the companies I mentioned above took on a special significance for a story theme. Privately held companies occur all over the country but the extension of the family into the company is especially present in the South. I knew I had to feature a company—Cypher—that reflected all the family dynamics—good and bad.

I love it when the stakes are high because the hero and heroine stand to lose both personally and professionally. And Southerners have been known to add that touch of crazy.

What about you? Do you like books with a strong sense of place? What’s your favorite setting for a story?



When a hitman kills the wrong person, a Greenville, SC detective confronts hidden agendas and conflicting motives in a powerful local family, while trying to control his attraction to the intended victim—a woman who should be dead, but instead is hell-bent on saving the remnants of her family. Unwilling to stand by while her family and world are destroyed, she rips apart the secrets surrounding Cypher, the company her father built—and will take any measures to defend.



An award-winning author, Cathy Perkins writes predominantly financial-based mysteries but enjoys exploring the relationship facet of her characters’ lives. When not writing, she can be found doing battle with the beavers over the pond height or setting off on another travel adventure. She lives in Washington with her husband, children, several dogs and the resident deer herd.

Be sure to connect with Cathy at her author site or Facebook or Twitter. Cathy’s novel Cypher can be found in digital and/or paperback formats on Amazon.


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