Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Meet Texas YA Author Susan Royal

Carpinello's Writing Pages welcomes YA author Susan Royal and her fantasy adventure/romance In My Own Shadow. Susan is our second Texas author this month! Go Texas!!

First, a bit about Susan:

Born in west Texas and raised in south Texas, Susan makes her home in a 100-year-old farmhouse in a small east Texas town that comes complete with a female ghost who has been known to harmonize with her son when he plays guitar. 

Susan is married, with three children and four grandchildren. Her family is rich with characters, both past and present. She spent her childhood listening to her grandmother’s stories of living on a farm in Oklahoma Territory with three sisters and three brothers and working as a telephone operator in the early 20th century.  Her father shared stories of growing up in San Antonio in the depression, and through her mother’s eyes she experienced how it felt to be a teenager during WWII.

Why did you pick to write books for YA?

I’m guessing you would say my books are just on the other side of YA, in that the MC is twenty-something. Just past the angst of teenage years, but not quite settled into adulthood yet. Why did I pick it? I didn’t. It picked me. I wanted my MC to be young enough to still be in awe of her experiences, yet old enough to take it in stride—well, most of the time, anyway.

What types of books do you like to read?

I read urban fantasy (think Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, Ilona Andrew’s Kate Daniel’s series). I read time travel (Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series), historical fiction (Mary Stewart’s Merlin Series), historical romance, historical action, thrillers, some horror and mysteries. I love classics like To Kill a Mockingbird and Gone with the Wind. I also love young adult (The Hunger Games, Divergent).

When you are not writing, what do you like to do?

I live in a 100 year old frame farmhouse that is in a constant state of remodel and repair. We are about to tackle the kitchen. I paint with acrylics, create greeting cards and sew. I’ve had a long going love affair with repurposing even before it was popular. I love garage sale finds. I have four grandchildren who give me lots and lots of exercise. I love to shop, and my husband and I like to read, watch movies, and our entire family loves music. Everyone plays a musical instrument except for me—hey someone has to be the audience!

Tell us about In My Own Shadow and how the story came to be.

It has been years in coming. I started writing it long before I had a home computer, and it was the first story I ever finished. The idea swirled around in my head for a long, long time. I wanted to write an adventure that had romance, fantasy elements and involved a quest. Finally one day I decided if I was ever going to get the thing written I needed to start it and keep writing until it was finished. So I did. At least three times!

Here's a peek at In My Own Shadow:

Talk about the worst first date ever! Lara lets her friend Carrie talk her into a blind date, only it turns out the handsome stranger waiting for Lara after work isn’t Carrie’s cousin after all. And, when they’re chased through a portal to another world, Lara realizes Rhys really is out of this world.

Rhys believes Lara’s alternate in his dimension, Lyra, has left clues in her subconscious to the whereabouts of the Book of Secrets which explains the mystery of time travel. Power-hungry telepaths pursuing them will stop at nothing to get it, even if it means breaking Lara’s mind. To complicate matters, Lara gets tangled up in her feelings for Rhys while exploring her connection with Lyra.

With Rhys as her guardian, a bear of a man named Azle to guide her, and the spirit of Lyra haunting her dreams, Lara must find the Book of Secrets before it falls into the hands of those who want its power. Only then can she return to her world safely.

Enjoy this excerpt (I had to read the whole first chapter. Couldn't stop!):
Someone coughed. I jerked my head around to see a man standing near the reception area, a canvas duffel bag at his feet.  That’s got to be him.
My heart thudded with relief. “Sorry I’m late. I hope you haven’t been waiting long.” I motioned toward the rain spattering against the windows. “This weather is awful, isn’t it?”
The man watched me with a self-assured air that left me feeling like an awkward teenager.
So much for witty conversation.  At least Carrie hadn’t exaggerated when she said he was good looking. His sensitive mouth held the only trace of softness in a finely chiseled face. Broad shoulders and powerful hands. He would have been right at home on the cover of a sports magazine. Was I drooling? “Umm…” His intense stare made me squirm. “I should introduce myself. I’m—”
 “Lara. My name is Rhys.” We shook hands briefly while his eyes flickered over me. My height intimidated some men, but it didn’t seem to bother him. “I never imagined you’d be so—”
“Don’t bother with flattery. Surely Carrie told you I’m immune.” The grin across my face was so he would know it was a joke, but his stern expression remained unchanged.
Doesn’t this guy know how to smile? “Umm…My car’s across the street. We really should go before it starts pouring again.”
Without a word, he grabbed his bag and followed me through the big glass doors. The wind had picked up, and thunder rumbled in the distance. Streetlights flickered on, a halo of light crowning each pole. We crossed the street and hurried toward my car parked beneath one of the lights in the middle of the empty lot.
  I stuck my umbrella under my arm and dug in my purse for the keys. “Do you like Italian food?”
Rhys drew his eyebrows together and frowned slightly.
Doesn’t he understand plain English? Funny how Carrie never mentioned he was the silent, brooding type.  I’d get even with her for this. “Okay, what about Chinese? There’s this great little place not too far from here…”
He jerked his gaze away from mine and stared into the darkness behind me.
A finger of cold traced its way along my spine. “Did you hear something?” We were alone in an empty city parking lot after dark. Not the safest place in the world.
 He grabbed my arm. “Quiet.”
          I flinched in surprise and pulled away. Rhys was beginning to give me the creeps. “What is it? Did you hear something?”

Have you written other books?

If so, tell us a bit about them. My first book is a time travel adventure/romance, Not Long Ago, and it was released in June of 2012. Right now I’m finishing up the sequel. I hadn’t really planned on writing one, until my daughter insisted there was more to the story. And she was right.

What’s next for your writing? Are you working on a new story?

I have a coming of age WIP about a young man in the sixties. When Eli goes to live with his grandparents in a small town in the Texas hill country, he starts seeing ghosts. What’s more, they carry on conversations with him. I’ve had a lot of fun researching paranormal for this one.

What advice do you have for other authors?

Don’t ever give up. If you have a story to tell, keep working on it until you get it right.

Anything else you want readers to know?

Feel free to email me and let me know what you think of my books. I love hearing from you. I also want to offer a free ecopy of In My Own Shadow if you comment and leave an email address.

Where to find Susan and her books:



MuseItUp Publishing:

In My Own Shadow

Not Long Ago

Both books are also available on Amazon and B&N.


  1. Wow, I enjoyed the excerpt, even though this book is a bit too old for the current age of my daughter...but maybe I will read it. : )
    Thanks for hosting the Kid Lit Blog Hop, Cheryl.
    Have a wonderful rest of the week,
    Christine M/Cool Mom

    1. Hi Christine! I'm glad you enjoyed the excerpt and hope you'll give it a read.

  2. Sounds like a terrific plot! I read through the snippet and couldn't stop reading! :)
    Nicely done, I can imagine it being a quick fav among the YA audiences (too!)
    An excellent find Cheryl. Thanks for sharing on Kidlit Blog hop!
    -Reshama @ Stackingbooks

    1. Thanks Reshama. I had a wonderful time writing all Lara's adventures.

  3. Thanks for another great interview Cheryl. I absolutely love the premise of "In My Own Shadow." I love alternate dimensions. Thanks for joining us again on the Kid Lit Blog Hop

    1. Hi Jambo. I agree. I am all about alternate dimensions and time travel. But I guess it's obvious huh?

  4. This sounds like a great read for teens and young adults. I like the sound of it too. When I get some reading projects out of the way, I need to put it on my list. :)

    Mary-andering Creatively

    Mary-andering Among the Pages

  5. Hi Mary, thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoy In My Own Shadow. It's great for an afternoon escape.

  6. And the winner is Mary Hill! Mary, please email me at ssn_royal@hotmail.com, and I'll send you your eBook!!

  7. Thanks for hosting another terrific author and for linking it into the Kid Lit Blog Hop. I love how casual the author seems to be about the ghost living in her house. I'm not sure I would be so casual about it! lol The excerpt also sucked me in!