We welcome Susan Royal to our blog today. She was born in south Texas, raised in west Texas, and lives now in East Texas–so it’s safe to say she is a Texan!
We have read Susan’s novel, In My Own Shadow, for which we gave a five star review on Amazon that can be read here. In My Own Shadow is a fantasy/adventure/romance and we are sure you will like it. In fact, we are sure you would like all of her stories. She writes time travel adventures and fantasy adventures along with the forays into romance.
Susan has supplied us with some great answers to our questions, so let’s get started.
- Please share with us a memory of visiting the library or of reading, preferably as a young child.
I’ll never forget my childhood visits to the Bookmobile. An unassuming trailer dispatched every other week from the large central library in downtown San Antonio, Texas, it rested in the parking lot of the shopping center near our home for the entire day. Its presence beckoned me with as much anticipation as a picnic or day at the pool, because it represented adventure, escape and fantasy.
While my mother did her weekly grocery shopping, my sisters and I spent the morning hanging out there, prowling the shelves and deciding which books we’d take home. They lined the walls from floor to ceiling on either side of the trailers with open doors at each end. Once we made our decisions, we checked out at a miniscule table at the front where an attendant sat. And you guessed it, they were reading a book.
In early summer, I stood before the shelves, the breeze from the open doors stirring the hair on the back of my neck. I picked up volume after volume, poring over illustrations, reading dust jackets, author notes and sometimes a chapter or two. By the time July rolled around, it was a good idea to visit as early in the morning as possible or be forced to endure the humidity and the sweat trickling down the small of my back. Those days, I grabbed books with the most interesting looking covers and left as quickly as possible, in search of a cooler spot.
(I can see this so clearly! Wonderful!)
- Which book have you inherited from the generation above; that is, which book have you read and has stayed with you and made you reread it in whole or in part? What about the book created this attraction?
I was twelve or thirteen when I discovered Poul Anderson’s fantasy, Three Hearts and Three Lions. Along with that I remember The Glory Road by Robert Heinlein and Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes.
(Looks like we have some reading to do. Sigh…)
- Which book would you like to leave to future generations with the hope that they will read it? Why? (NOT one of the books you’ve written).
Anything written by Ray Bradbury, because of the way he was able to paint a picture with words.
- Take a photograph of one of your bookshelves. If a stranger were to enter your room and see it, what would it tell that person about you.
A stranger might think it’s cluttered, but to me it signifies controlled chaos.
(That desk does not look messy to me at all. You should see mine).
- Please tell us about your next book.
I have two that are close to being finished. I call it the big reveal stage. Where everything in the story comes together. Questions are answered and things resolved. One of them is a coming of age book about a young boy growing up in the sixties whose life is turned upside down when he goes to live with his grandparents in a small town in the hill country and encounters a ghost. The other book is the third in my time travel series about two people who fall in love despite being from very different worlds.
(They sound great, Susan).
- Are there any genres that you have never written in that you would like to try? Why or why not?
Eventually I want to write urban fantasy…and post- apocalyptic…if and when the stories reveal themselves to me.
- Attach a photo of you (preferably one that we have not seen before!) It is always nice to have a photo of you doing something you enjoy like hiking or travelling. A short description of what you are doing would be great.
Sorry I don’t have a picture like that…I’m usually the photographer…let’s just pretend I’m birdwatching here.
(Ken is a birder as well. It is easy for him to imagine you watching a few Texan birds that don’t fly this far north).
We also asked Susan if there were something she would like to say that is not covered by one of our questions and she responded with this short piece that will prepare you the excerpt that will follow:
I had a lot of fun writing about Xander and Suse and all the inhabitants of the mythical town of Battington. It’s a mix of humour and romance with a little mystery, something I think people will enjoy. However, I didn’t start out with the intentions of writing a fairy tale, especially not one about a little person who is good as solving puzzles. It all happened like this.
A few years ago the company my son, Hunter, worked for sent him to Arkansas for training. The plant was located in a sleepy little town in the middle of nowhere. One so small they rolled up the sidewalks come sundown every night. No movie theatre, no restaurants to speak of, no entertainment at all.
Basically, he was sitting in his motel room, bored out of his mind. He didn’t even think to bring a book to read. He called me, complaining. Now Hunter has a great imagination. So I told him to use it. “Start my next story for me.” Over the next few nights we collaborated on a story about Xander, Quep and the town of Battington. It was so charming I took it and ran with it. And that’s how Xander and the Tangled Web came to be.
Here is the cover:
And now the excerpt from Xander’s Tangled Web!
“Out of my face, you mangy beastie!”
The rumbling bass voice came out of nowhere. Xander jumped like he’d been scalded. Up at first light and on the road soon after, he’d dozed off and allowed Quep’s reins to go slack. The shaggy little pony wandered over to the side of the road for tender shoots of grass growing there.
“Look at you, riding along with your nose stuck up in the air like royalty.”
Xander squinted in the direction of the voice and spied a man dressed in raggedy brown homespun who blended with the landscape like a toad on moss. Arms crossed and lips pinched together tightly together, the man stared back at him.
“Sorry, Frawl.” Xander yanked on Quep’s reins. “You’re out bright and early. Are you on your way to Battington?”
“Aye, I have pressing business.”
“Is that so?” Xander couldn’t begin to imagine what kind. It was a well-known fact that his second cousin once removed avoided anything remotely connected with work.
The other man fished in his pocket and brought out copper coins. “Where d’ye think? I’m on me way to Battington to spend an afternoon at Ardley’s tavern. What about you?”
“I’m going to town as well, to pick up supplies and catch up on all the latest.”
Frawl flashed a grin. “Since we’re both headed in the same direction, how about you let me ride along? I can fill you in on all the tittle-tattle.”
Xander ground his teeth. So much for a nice, quiet trip. “Sure. Come on.”
As big around as he was tall, Frawl grunted and strained a bit before he managed to climb astride the pony. “You heard the latest?”
Xander shook his head. “Reckon not. I haven’t been to market in a fortnight. Suse and I live so far out we never get any news, unless a bird happens to fly by and share.”
“Unless a bird…?” It took a moment or two, but Frawl finally realized Xander was joking. After he stopped laughing, he pulled out a checkered rag, wiped his eyes and blew his nose. “You do have a quick wit.”
“Well, are you going to tell me or not?” Xander was less inclined to believe hearsay than most, but he did have a weakness for listening.
“Aye, I’ll begin at the beginning.” Frawl chuckled and rubbed his hands together. “Of late, some of the royalty has been frequenting the market more often than normal. Not, as you might believe, for fresh blue milk or a rare piece of fairy silk, though I have been told the merchant in the big corner stall with all the fancy notions has some in his possession so fine he swears the cloth will float…”
“Get to the point, will you?”
“Pardon, I digress.” Frawl cleared his throat. “Now, where was I? Oh yes. It turns out it wasn’t just any royalty, but one of old King Leander’s daughters. Princess Mena herself. Anyways, word went round she was after a good apothecary. Reason being, she wanted to purchase a spell.”
“But why come to Battington market? Why wouldn’t she ask her father’s sorcerer instead?”
“Turns out, she didn’t want just any old spell, she wanted a love potion. When she showed up at Mercury’s shop, he was nervous enough. After he found out what she fancied, it near did him in. Everyone knows love potions are dicey at best. Sometimes they work and sometimes not. There’s always the chance some poor unfortunate soul could end up turning into a tree toad.”
And here are all the places where you can find out more about Susan and buy her books!
Xander’s Tangled Web (fantasy, mystery)
In My Own Shadow (fantasy, adventure, romance)
Not Long Ago (time travel, adventure, romance)
Not Long Ago book trailer
All books available at MuseItUp, Amazon, B&N, Goodreads