Interview with Stephen Perkins, author of Grand Masquerade

29 May 2020

What can you tell us about your new release, Grand Masquerade?

About my latest book release – Grand Masquerade – I would advise everyone to read while the lights are still on! The setting of the book is Rupert, a small and remote farming town, which happens to be haunted by supernatural entities, called the “Others”. Then, there is Richard Madden, a high-tech executive whose company, Morningstar, has developed Minerva, a surgically implantable mind-control application. Standing in the way of mass marketing this device, is presidential candidate Graham Barkley, who, at least publicly, stands opposed to Madden’s project, on the grounds that the device encroaches on constitutional privacy issues. Ostensibly, to settle their public dispute, Madden invites Barkley, along with his playboy young son, Caufield, on a hunting trip to the mountainous woodlands surrounding Rupert. Needless to say, while coming face to face with the “Others”, things don’t turn out exactly according to plan. Though Grand Masquerade is somewhat of a departure from my previous releases, loyal readers will be delighted to discover, the book still retains the familiar elements of both corporate and political intrigue as well as complex and treacherous conspiracies. Grand Masquerade even offers the element of romance. Madden’s son, Caufield, while involved in an investigation with the town sheriff into the mysteries of the “Others”, falls in love with Marigold, a local farm girl. Turns out though, unfortunately for young Caufield, Marigold is not what she appears to be! Undoubtedly, too, newer readers will become surprised and delighted to learn that Grand Masquerade will seem reminiscent of Steven King’s most vintage work. But, once again, I must caution them: Please, read Grand Masquerade while the lights are still on!

Your hosting a dinner party, which three writers are invited?

That is an intriguing question. Out of sheer curiosity, I would like, first, to invite Suzanne Collins, to ask her, why, she felt the need to write another sequel to the Hunger Games and, to ask her, about her reactions to the tens of thousands appearing to have reviewed the book, even though, the book has yet to be officially released to the public and, presumably, no one has yet read it? Does she consider this to be a rather curious phenomenon? Also, out of sheer curiosity, I would invite Stephanie Meyer, to not only enquire of her impressions of the cultural impact of “Twilight”, but, to ask, how she found the time, as a single mother of three children, to even write the book and the series of books which followed? And lastly, I would want to invite Thomas Harris. From that writer, I would hope to learn of his impressions: who is the greater villainous and evil psychopath – would it be Hannibal Lecter or Richard Madden, from Grand Masquerade? I would also wish to know, why , he may think the general public’s utter fascination with such depraved villains persists. I would also hope each of these writers brings over copious amounts of the most flavorful after-dinner coffee, to not only facilitate interesting and lively conversation, but, It seems, I have consumed so much of it this morning, my own personal supply has dwindled!

Which book from your childhood or teenage years has stuck with you as an adult?

‘A Christmas Carol’, from Charles Dickens. I can still recall becoming enchanted with the vividly drawn characters, the intrigue of the gothic setting and, of course, the story’s miracle redemption of Ebenezer Scrooge. To-this-day, the story seems both timeless and immortal.

Where is your happy place – what brings you joy?

I react with joy while imaging and looking towards the future. Despite everything, this is truly an exciting time to be alive!

What advice would you give to your teenage self?

Don’t take Wendy McManus, the varsity cheerleader from Bishop Fenwick to the senior prom, Steve. Though she’s blonde, with ravishing ice blue eyes, tall, beautiful and, though she may be irresistible in her long blue taffeta gown, she’s got issues, and you’ll regret it!

What scene in Grand Masquerade was your favorite to write?

You’ve posed a challenging question; one that is difficult to answer, especially considering, I had such fun while writing every exciting scene the readers can expect to encounter in Grand Masquerade. If, however, I had to choose but one, I would cite the scene which occurs half-way through Chapter 9. In this scene, Madden’s son, Caufield, journeys deep into Rupert’s mountainous and mysterious forests with Marigold. There, not only do they run into the “Others”, but, they end up facing a pulse-pounding ‘life or death’ scenario. After reading that, I can guarantee, ever reader of Grand Masquerade will want to switch on the lights, and leave them on for the remainder of the book?


Stephen Perkins is the author of the new book Grand Masquerade.

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