Monday’s Friend: Susan A Royal
Today I’m doing a blog swap with fellow MuseItUp author Susan A Royal. So she’s chatting to me here on my blog, and I’m reciprocating over on hers (do go there when you’re finished here!). Welcome, Susan!
SJT: When did you first know you were destined to be a writer?
SAR: It’s really funny. I don’t think I ever really spent much time thinking about it. I’ve just had this compulsion to put my thoughts down on paper ever since I was a child. I even have my first attempt at writing. It’s and written on notebook paper and bound with a red ribbon. I even illustrated it. I think I was about five or six at the time.
I have this long-time love affair with words and how they can be woven into stories that spark the imagination.
SJT: Who would you cite as your influences?
SAR: Ray Bradbury painted pictures with words. I yearned to live in his fictitious Greentown, Illinois. Mary Stewart’s Merlin series created ‘real’ characters living in the middle ages, Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series made time travel very believable, Susanna Kearsley has the ability to engulf the reader in a love story, and Maggie Stiefvater has a unique talent for reminding the reader what it’s like to be young. They are all my inspirations.
SJT: What advice would you pass on to beginner writers that you wish someone had told you when you were first starting out?
SAR: Write, edit, submit, learn about the craft, join a critique group, rewrite, edit, learn some more and never EVER give up.
SJT: When it comes to your writing projects, would you describe yourself as a meticulous planner, or a ‘seat-of-the-pantser’?
SAR: Most of the time I’m a fairly organized person. I have lists and goals. I have schedules. You would think I’d be the same way about writing, wouldn’t you? Nope. I try. I start out doing research to get the setting. I gather ideas. I even write an outline. But somewhere along the line, the story will veer off the tracks when one of my characters decides she/he doesn’t like what I planned and goes off in an entirely different direction. What can I say?
SJT: Tell us about your new release.
SAR: FROM NOW ON is a time travel adventure with romance and is the stand alone companion to Not Long Ago, the story of how Erin’s travel to a medieval world where she meets Sir Griffin, her ‘knight in shining armor’
Griffin has traveled across centuries to reunite with the woman he loves, but he and Erin may not get their ‘happy ever after’. Not if Lady Isobeil has anything to do with it. She forces Griffin to leave Erin behind and travel to eerie Manx Island. When he goes missing, Erin and his friends set out to find him. Followed by his strong-willed sister, Kateryn, they ride to Swansea and secure passage with the notorious Captain Akin.
Erin sees firsthand how the island earned its dark reputation when she battles freakish weather, encounters a race of little people known as “Prowlies”, and experiences ghosts of the long departed. She discovers “ley lines” crossing the island’s mountain peak and making time travel possible.
Yet these obstacles pale in comparison to the secrets Erin uncovers while determined to rescue the man she loves.
I am a stranger in this world, even though I’ve traveled this way before.
Fate and not design brought me the first time. It hurled me into a distant future, with no idea how or why, taking me from an existence dependent upon modern technology to a place where people fear such things and those who use them. While searching for my way home from this harsh and sometimes violent world, my admiration for its inhabitants who valued honor and duty above all else grew into admiration and respect. I found myself drawn to one in particular, a man who saved me more than once. Only I never expected to fall in love with him.
Torn between my feelings and a longing for home, I returned to my time with only vague memories of my experience. My life went back to normal, but part of me sensed the loss of something more precious than anything I’d regained. Until one day, I saw him again.
This time I’ve come by choice, and it is where I’m going to stay.
SJT: Your bio says you live in a house with a ghost. Has this inspired you to put ghosts in your stories?
SAR: I love ghost stories, don’t you? The unexplained always gives me goose bumps and the circumstances that make them come about are sometimes even creepier. I do have a ghost in FROM NOW ON. It takes place in an abandoned church on Manx Island and is the story of Moirrey and why she haunts the graveyard there.
SJT: Yes, I love a good creepy ghost story too! Your time travel romance series must have required a great deal of research. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve done in the name of research?
SAR: Nothing weird, not that I can remember. But I do a lot of research because I don’t want my reader to find something that takes them out of the story because it’s inaccurate or misleading. I’ve researched details about medieval fashion, wedding customs, the food and how it’s prepared, what a squire is required to do, what a seneschal does, common phrases and religion. In From Now On, I did research on ley lines, legends, the Isle of Man, radar and hand-held explosives. Above all, I want my story to be believable and in order to do that, I have to do my research.
SJT: You were born and raised in Texas, but your latest novel takes your characters to the British Isles. Is it the location, the history or the mythology that attracts you to this part of the world?
SAR: How about all of the above? I love reading about medieval times. There’s something about imagining what it was like, living then. It boggles the mind. I love history. Reading about the people, their customs and how they lived. It’s fascinating.
SJT: What’s next for you writing-wise?
SAR: I’m in the final stages of a young adult fantasy titled XANDER AND THE MISSING PRINCESS. Xander is a little person and former constable of Battington, who comes out of retirement to investigate the disappearance of Princess Mena. Rumors of romantic entanglements lead him in circles, trying to discover what happened. For one thing, there’s the love potion she bought from the apothecary. Who was it for? As if all that isn’t bad enough, Xander has to deal with secrets, half-truths and outright lies.
SJT: Thank you for stopping by, Susan!