Monday, October 10, 2011

Hello, Susan A. Royal

1: Thank you so much for being here, Susan A. Royal
First up is the obligatory question. When did you first begin writing?
The first ‘book’ I remember writing was something written in pencil on notebook paper folded in half and bound with a red ribbon. It was more picture book than anything else, because at the time, words were still an unfolding mystery to me.  I think I was all of five.

2: What inspired you to write?
I wanted to be able to help other people share the same emotion I felt whenever I escaped into that boundless world called imagination.  

3: What do you like the most and least about writing?
I love when passages come to me like scenes in a movie.  I ‘see’ how the light plays across my characters’ faces.  I ‘feel’ their emotions. I ‘experience’ their surroundings.  My job is to put it on paper so my reader can do the same.
I hate when a word is on the tip of my tongue and I can’t grasp it.  Some days the words seem to flow off the tip of my tongue, but on the days they don’t—  

4: What do you for fun and relaxation when not writing?
Relax?  What’s that?  I’m one of those people who like to stay busy.  I still work full-time.  I sew.  I make jewelry.  I paint in acrylics.  We’ve always got a diy project going.  We like to take our travel trailer out and camp.  I like to go antiquing.  I don’t watch television a lot, but I do veg out in front of it a few times a week, watching favorite shows with my husband.  We also like going to the movies.

5: Which authors do you like to read?
 Too many to list, but here are a few of my favorites.  In middle school: Ray Bradbury, Andre Norton, Madeline L’Engle In high school:  Poul Anderson, Robert Heinlen Since then:  Barbara Michaels, Mary Stewart, Robert McCammon, Diana Gabaldon, Jim Butcher, Ilona Andrews, Susannah Kearsley, Dean Koontz  and probably others I can’t remember at the moment

6: What’s the one thing you’d most like people to know about you? 
Humor gets me through life.  I love to laugh.  And I do things my own way. 

7: Tell me about your current novel, where I can find it and your website/blog.
Not Long Ago is a time travel romance.  When I wrote the first page, I had no idea where I’d go from there.  It sat around for a while, until the scenes popped into my head.

Not Long Ago is due out in June, 2012.
My website:


8: Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
 Join an online critiquing group.  Join local writing groups.  Enter short story contests.  Write-write-write.  Learn-learn-learn.  Edit-edit-edit.  And, never, ever give up.

9: Do you base your characters on real-life people?  My daughter and I had that conversation recently. She’s doing a trailer for me, and she wanted to know how I ‘saw’ my characters.  I had no trouble at all with my supporting cast.  In Not Long Ago, March and Kathleen were modeled after a lovely couple, fellow writer and friends of ours from the Isle of Man.  Physically, the rotund priest could be my brother-in-law’s twin.  Arvo reminds me of a dear friend from high school, whose shoulder I cried on often.  But Erin and Griffin, my main characters, are more of a combination of people I’ve known.  I like to think Erin gets her snappy wit and independence from me.  And, Griffin?  He’s the kind of guy we all like.  Good-looking, but not vain, brave, loyal to a fault, kind and above all, he’s in touch with his feelings—what more could a girl want?    

10: Where do you get your ideas and what inspired you to write this book? 
I love history, and I love the idea of traveling to another time in history.  Of course, I had to throw in the romance, the crop circles, the ghost and the kidnapping just to keep it interesting.

11: What are you currently working on?
 I’m working on a fantasy, In My Own Shadow.  Lara, the main character is struggling to cope with her father’s death.  She lets her best friend, Nicole, set her up on a blind date with her cousin, because she realizes she needs to begin moving on with her life.  Lara meets Rhys in the lobby after work, and on their way to the parking lot, they’re attacked by strange, tattooed men. They escape to Lara’s apartment, where another man appears on her doorstep and in her mind.  Lara and Rhys flee to another dimension, where Lara learns Lyra, her double in this world, has disappeared with an important find everyone wants to get their hands on. Like it or not, Lara finds herself involved with finding out what happened to Lyra, because only then can she return home safely.

12. Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?
 I’ve lived in Texas all my life.  I can tell you a little about West Texas (born in El Paso), growing up in the sixties in San Antonio and raising my kids in a small town in northeast Texas.  If you’re writing about Texas and need to know trivia, I’ll do what I can to find out for you.

This is an unedited excerpt to Not Long Ago:

I saw him the other day.  It happened when I cut across Market Street and passed in front of the fancy, new coffee shop.  On the other side of spotless glass, waitresses in crisp black uniforms served expensive coffee in fancy cups and saucers, and one man sat alone at a table by the window.  No one I knew, just a nice-looking stranger, who looked up as I passed.  We exchanged glances. I froze in the middle of a busy sidewalk crowded with impatient people in a hurry. Annoyed, they parted, sweeping by me like water rushing downstream.
What I saw left me reeling, as though someone had knocked the wind out of me. My glimpse deep inside the man’s essence had unnerved me, but I couldn’t look away.  Who was he? The waitress stopped at his table. He turned, lowering his cup into its saucer and shook his head, his mouth curving into a familiar smile that made my heart lurch. After she left, his eyes returned to mine.  A moment before, I thought they’d held a spark of recognition.  Now, I saw nothing.  And I felt cold, as though he’d slammed a door in my face and left me standing outside in the rain. 
I had no other choice but to move on.
I hadn’t just recognized him.  I remembered how his hair curled at the nape of his neck. And I knew a scar snaked down his arm, because I was the one who’d put it there.  I knew other things, too.  He was an excellent horseman, accomplished swordsman, an honorable man. And he didn’t belong in my world.  Not in the coffee shop, not in the city.  Not anywhere.  None of this should have happened.  We should have been no more than casual observers sharing a moment before going our separate ways.  But something went wrong.


Cyrus Keith said...

Way to go, Susan. I'm proud to know you, and grats on your first contract! It couldn't have happened to a more deserving person.

Pat Dale said...

Wow, that excerpt is chilling. But intriguing. I'm ready to read that book--now!
Cheers, Susan and Roseanne.

Cyrus Keith said...

Pat, I was blessed to be in on the ground floor of this project, and I can honestly say it doesn't read like Chick-lit. It's a good, tense, honest character piece with some very tasty wrinkles along the way.

gail roughton branan said...

Susan, perfect description. The best writing happens when you're watching a movie and writing it down!

Susan Royal said...

Thanks, you guys and thanks for having me Roseanne. I appreciate it so much. This is my first author interview and you've made the whole experience memorable for me.

Roseanne Dowell said...

Thanks to everyone for stopping by and leaving a comment. Thank you, Susan for guesting on my blog. Your book does sound intriguing.

Marva Dasef said...

It's good to "meet" you and find out about your upcoming books.

Charlie said...

Great interview, Susan. You're a girl after my own heart with all your extra activities. It's hard to fit it all in, isn't it.

lionmother said...

Susan, I love the idea of time traveling and your book does intrigue me too. Imagine looking at someone you know and not being able to acknowledge him. When I'm writing and the flow is happening I feel the same way. It's like the characters are talking and you're just putting it down.:) Congratulations on your contract.

Susan Royal said...

Thanks again for the kind welcome, Roseanne. I enjoyed meeting everyone. It was great.

Judy Winn said...

Compelling excerpt. Can't wait to find out what this is all about.
Enjoyed the interview.
Judy Winn

J Q Rose said...

Intriguing story. Glad to get to know you and more about your book. Best wishes..

Fairchild said...

Great interview, Susan. I concur with Cyrus. Not Long Ago is rich with characters you care about (now I know why ;) ) and page-turning suspense. It's a genuinely good read, and Susan manages to take the time-travel romance and make it uniquely her own.