We welcome author Susan Royal back to our blog today. We previously gave a five star review to her novel, In My Own Shadow, an adult fantasy/adventure/romance which we enjoyed very much. Today, we will be exploring a new book of hers, a young adult fantasy called Xander’s Tangled Web. Susan will be interviewing her main character, Xander, and has given us an excerpt as well. Based upon the interview and the excerpt, it looks like this is a very enjoyable book as well.
But before we get to the interview, lets learn a little more about Susan.
Born in west Texas and raised in south Texas, Susan shares a 100-year-old farmhouse in a small east Texas town with a ghost who likes to harmonize with her son when he plays guitar.
Mother to three children and their spouses, she enjoys 5 unique and special grandchildren. Her family is rich with characters, both past and present. Her grandmother shared stories of living on a farm in Oklahoma Territory and working as a telephone operator in the early 20th century. She learned about growing up during the depression from her father and experienced being a teenager in WWII through her mother’s eyes.
Susan loves taking her readers through all kinds of exciting adventures. So far, she’s written two books in her It’s About Time series, Not Long Ago and From Now On. They are time travel adventures about two people who fall in love despite the fact they come from very different worlds. In My Own Shadow is a Fantasy adventure/romance. Xander’s Tangled Web is a YA fantasy with romance. Look for her books at MuseItUp/Amazon/B&N.
Want to know more? Visit susanaroyal.wordpress.com or susanaroyal.moonfruit.com for a peek inside this writer’s mind and see what she’s up to. You never know what new world she’s going to visit next.
And now, on to the interview!
I am interviewing Xander, my main character from Xander’s Tangled Web. He reminds me of Peter Falk’s character in the series Columbo, because while he seems a little simple, he’s really a deep thinker.
Book: Xander’s tangled web
Genre: Fantasy, mystery
Tell us a bit about yourself, Xander. Where do you come from?
My wife, Suse, and I are both descended from a race of little people called Mipins. She’s a pretty little thing, but I’m not much to look at, that’s for sure. Honestly, I don’t know what she sees in me. I tend to squint a lot when I’m pondering over things and my eyebrows come together. She says it makes me look like there’s a woolly caterpillar crossing my forehead.
I grew up in a sleepy little township by the name of Battington. Located in Seren Valley in the Kingdom of Regal, it’s bordered on three sides by the Heliotrope Mountains and to the south by the Azure Sea. It boasts fine buildings of red or blue brick and streets paved with smooth stones and large old willow trees grace the walkways on either side.
As pretty as it is, it’s best known for its marketplace. People came from far and wide to shop for the merchandise offered. Sellers of exotic spices and exquisite cloth do business in booths next to apothecaries and goldsmiths. Food courts offer tasty delights like funnel cakes or hot sausage on a stick while actors’ troupes entertain with impromptu performances.
I’m a people person, and the people there are warm and friendly. Most of them, anyway. They tend to poke their noses into other people’s business and gossip, but that’s the way of small towns. Not much goes on here, so they have to have something to talk about.
What do you do for a living?
For the past year I’ve been trying my hand at farming. Without much success I might add. Before that I was constable for the township of Battington, a job I dearly loved. That is until Cymon, the mayor, and I had some differences which led to a parting of the ways. That’s how I got into farming…and found out it wasn’t for me.
A few days ago I rode into town for supplies, and along came Cymon with an offer I couldn’t refuse. It’s only temporary, but he wants me to investigate Princess Mena’s disappearance. At double my former wages. With any luck I should be able to locate her, collect my wages along with the reward, and be home before harvest. Easy peasy…
Favourite food and drink?
I’m fond of ale, particularly the ale at Ardley’s tavern. And it’s a good thing, because the food he offers is enough to turn even the strongest man’s stomach. Then again I’m biased. When it comes to cooking, no one can hold a candle to my Suse. She could boil shoe leather and it would taste like roast. A good thing too. She hasn’t had much to work with lately.
I gather you are currently seeking a member of royalty.
Aye, I’ve been hired to investigate Princess Mena’s disappearance. She vanished without a trace from the Marketplace a few nights ago. The whole town is in an uproar. King Leander has called for an early curfew and there is talk about postponing the Spring Festival.
Battington’s marketplace seems an unlikely place for a princess to be hanging about. What was she doing there?
My thoughts exactly. According to everyone I’ve spoken to, she went to see Mercury, the apothecary. And not just for some ordinary, run of the mill spell, either. I’ve been told she wanted a love potion. That complicates things. And if that isn’t enough, the gypsies are back in town.
Do you think they have anything to do with her disappearance?
When Emil’s bunch is in the vicinity, they tend to get the blame for any sign of trouble. While they’re no doubt responsible for things like freshly baked pies vanishing from the windowsill, a missing chicken or clothing off the line, they’re generally harmless. They are a secretive bunch, though.
When you’re not out investigating, what do you like to do to relax?
I’ve always loved making rounds, seeing Battington’s streets are safe and secure for its inhabitants. It’s especially nice on a crisp night with the moon shining down out of a clear sky, its light bright enough to cast shadows. Either that or spending time with Suse. That’s when I’m happiest.
Like I said, Battington is my home. And I love it here. Guess it’s obvious.
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
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.”
Susan Royal’s Links
Xander’s Tangled Web (fantasy, mystery)
Not Long Ago book trailer
All books available at MuseItUp, Amazon, B&N, Goodreads