Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Author Interview: Susan A. Royal

I'm excited to welcome to the blog new author and my writer pal Susan A. Royal. Her novel, Not Long Ago, is a time-travel romance due out this month. It's a wonderful tale of romance, friendship, strength, and honor. Let's get to know a little more about Susan and her novel.

1. How long have you been writing? 
I’ve been making up stories since I was a little girl.  In fact, I still have my first “book”, complete with illustrations, written in pencil on lined notebook paper, folded and bound with a red ribbon.  I believe I was six years old.

2. What is your favorite genre to read and/or write?   
I love urban fantasy, time travel, science fiction, paranormal and that’s pretty much what I write.  Remember Spielberg’s series “Amazing Stories”?  Twisty, quirky little plots.  Someone ordinary, like you or me, and how they deal with something that goes beyond. 

3. What sparked the idea for Not Long Ago and what made you see it through to publishing? 
I had the first scene written for at least a year before I went any further.  It could have gone in a thousand different directions, but the romantic in me knew I had to explore the connection between the man and the woman who saw each other by accident through the coffee shop window.   I was lucky enough to submit my work to an editor and an agent who took the time to encourage me.  They told me my strong points and what I needed to develop further.  After I got over feeling rejected, I took what they said to heart and learned.  I entered and won short story contests.  I kept reading, writing, learning, editing and I never gave up.

4. Who’s your favorite character in the story and why? 
I get attached to my supporting characters, sometimes more so than my main characters.  In Not Long Ago, Arvo, the tailor’s gangly, red-headed son is a charmer with an eye for the ladies, who loves to listen to gossip.  He keeps Erin, a young woman who time travels from modern times to a medieval society, informed of castle goings-on.  He knows she’s masquerading as a boy but keeps her secret.  He even helps her sneak into the Masked Ball so she could dance with the handsome knight, Sir Griffin.  In the end, Arvo turns out to be a fast friend Erin can never forget.

5. Favorite comfort food, music, or distraction when writing? 
Food:  something I can snack on that isn’t greasy or sticky (makes it difficult to type-LOL)  a cup of coffee or Earl Grey in the winter, Pepsi or iced tea with lime in the summer  Music:  Something that sets the mood I’m writing.  I like to listen to acoustic guitar (my son’s recordings) Enya, movie soundtracks like Cold Mountain, The Village, Outlander, Braveheart.  I like Moby, Coldplay, Loreena McKinnett, Crowded House and the list goes on…  

6. Who’s been your biggest supporter on your writerly journey? 
My family.  They listen to my ideas, help me past my blocks, listen to me whine, or listen to me period!! (I do get carried away sometimes)  And I can’t forget my writer friends like you who brainstorm with me when I’m stuck.

7. What’s the most important thing you learned in the process from first draft to published? 
Never give up.  Someone once told me “There is nothing about your story that can’t be fixed.  You are the author, after all.  You can fill the plot holes, flesh it out, expand, or condense, learn to say things better and improve. 

8. Least favorite thing about the process? 
The waiting.  I’m an impatient person

9. Are you a plotter, pantser, or a combination? 
A little of both, I think.  I have a general idea of where I want to story to go.  It comes to me in scenes.  It works better for me to write, write, write, and get my ideas down, then go back and whip them into shape.

10. What are your current writing goals?
I’ve just finished a fantasy romance, In My Own Shadow and I’ve submitted it.  I’ve begun writing the sequel to Not Long Ago.  (My daughter insisted the story wasn’t done so I had to continue)

Not Long Ago

Erin has met the man of her dreams, but as usual there are complications. It’s one of those long distance relationships, and Griffin is a little behind the times-- somewhere around 600 years.

Erin and her employer, March, are transported to a time where chivalry and religion exist alongside brutality and superstition. Something’s not quite right at the castle, and Erin and March feel sure mysterious Lady Isobeil is involved. But Erin must cope with crop circles, ghosts, a kidnapping and death before the truth of her journey is revealed.

Forced to pose as March’s nephew, Erin finds employment as handsome Sir Griffin’s squire. She’s immediately attracted to him and grows to admire his courage, quiet nobility and devotion to duty. Yet, she must deny her feelings. Her world is centuries away, and she wants to go home. But, Erin can’t stop thinking about her knight in shining armor.    

Not Long Ago will be available in June, 2012 through MuseItUp and Amazon 

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. 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 and I froze in the middle of a busy sidewalk crowded with impatient people. Annoyed, they parted, sweeping past 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 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. 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.

It wasn’t just recognition—I knew things about him too. Things I had no reason to know. An image flashed in my mind: the curl of hair at the nape of his neck; a scar snaking down his arm. I’d put it there, after all.

I knew the man before me was an excellent horseman, accomplished swordsman, and an honorable man. Beyond the shadow of a doubt. How could I be so certain?

There was something else. A chilling realization crept up my spine. 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.


Be sure to visit Susan A. Royal at her website or blog, where you can find more fascinating tidbits about Not Long Ago:

Thanks for stopping by, Susan! Congratulations on your success and best of luck on your writerly journey.


  1. I can tell you, this is an awesome story. I don't normally even touch romance as a genre, but I was caught up in this one, and sometimes forgot I was supposed to be Susan's critique partner on the project.

    Good job, Susan!

  2. Hey, Gina--Thanks so much for having me on your blog. What fun to be asked to talk about something I love--writing. Especially with a fellow writer like yourself. I'm honored to be here.

  3. Mm! Sounds like a great read^^ I will def have to check it out!

  4. This sounds like a solid story. I love the tension and intrigue in the excerpt, and medieval time travel is my own genre, so I must put Not Long Ago on my rtl. I love the cover and have a sense there is more to this story than lovers separated by time.

  5. Congrats on your upcoming release, Susan! I enjoyed reading your novel, and I know others will too.

  6. Thanks so much for all the good wishes. I appreciate your comments and again, appreciate Gina so much for hosting me and being such a great friend.

  7. Thanks all for cheering on a fellow writer. And thanks to Susan for stopping by. :)


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