Thursday, March 5, 2015

Meet Texas YA Author Susan Royal

Carpinello's Writing Pages welcomes a Texas daughter, Susan Royal. Susan is a fellow MuseItUp author.

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 ghost who has been known to harmonize with her son when he plays guitar. 

She is married and the mother of six (she counts her children’s spouses as her own) and five grandchildren who are all unique and very special. Her family is rich with characters, both past and present. Her grandmother shared 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.  She heard about growing up in San Antonio in the depression from her father, and experienced being a teenager during WWII through her mother’s eyes.

Why do you pick to write books for YA?

There are several reasons. For one thing, I love reading YA, especially when an author makes me remember what it’s like to be that age. Maggie Stiefvater, Ally Condie, Marie Lu and fellow Muse author Barbara Ehrentreu come to mind. YA stories are all about the characters finding strengths they didn’t know they had. That happens in any good book, but because of their youth, it seems they’re more willing to take a step into the unknown.  The sex is there, but it’s subtle, and I like subtle.

What type of books do you like to read?

I like to escape into another world for adventures I never dreamed of having. I love reading time travel, young adult, post-apocalyptic, paranormal and urban fantasy…all with a touch of romance.

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

When I’m not writing, I’m thinking about it. I’m working out plots in my head, thinking of scenarios and/or names while I’m out antiquing with my daughter or daughters-in-law, finding things to repurpose, decorating and redecorating my 100 year old house, reading (I read in the tub every day), and sewing. I love going to the movies with my husband, photography and spending time with my 5 grandchildren. 

Tell us about Not Long Ago and how the story came to be. 

I had the opening scene of Not Long Ago written for at least six months 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. He’s a complete stranger, but she feels like she knows him, knows things about him. As if things between them aren’t complicated enough, I decided to make it a time travel. When my daughter read it, she told me the story wasn’t finished. Turns out, she was right. From Now On takes the story a step further. When Griffin disappears on mysterious Manx Island, Erin will do whatever it takes to find him. Along the way she deals with little people, ghosts and ley lines. My little time travel story has become a series called It’s About Time.

I’ve chosen the following passage to share because I wanted everyone to see Not Long Ago is not just about time travel, nor is it just a love story between two very different people. I tried to make it an adventure that will take the reader to another time and allow them to experience life there as seen through the main character’s eyes. This part was an especially emotional scene for me to write. I attempted to portray some of the emotions each of us experience when we’re faced with losing someone we care about, whether it be father, mentor or friend.

Here's a peek at Not Long Ago:

--> Late the next day, everyone gathered on the banks of the river under a clear sky. On a hill above us, archers waited. Beside them men-at-arms from the castle stood at attention. Clustered below were the castle servants and townspeople. Lady Isobeil, Lady Gwyneth and Kat positioned themselves on opposite sides of Lord John, as far away from each other as possible. He stood at one end of a long, shallow wooden boat filled with brush. Sir Maldwyn’s body had been wrapped in linen and placed inside, his belongings next to him. Water lapped against the boat, a strangely calming sound.

The pain on Sir Griffin’s face was almost more than I could bear. He clenched his jaw and gripped the hilt of his sword until I thought it would break. Faces stoic, the other knights huddled together with their squires. No doubt each of them remembered Sir Maldwyn in his own way. After all, he’d been in service at the castle long enough to train most of the knights when they were still squires. I thought of my parent’s death and the emptiness I felt knowing I’d never see them again. People everywhere stared at the ground, trying to hold back tears.

All except for Deroc. I can think of nothing more poignant than the sight of him standing over his father’s body while tears ran down his face. Over and over, the boy repeated the same words. “I am sorry Father, I am so sorry.” The overbearing bully who confronted me in the paddock had vanished. All that remained was a pitiful little boy, one who mourned a relationship with his father he’d never had, and now, one he would never experience.

Sir Maldwyn’s body lay on the funeral pyre, in the custom of the Vikings, while Father Alford conducted the service in Latin in a calm and soothing monotone, appearing completely undisturbed by all the pagan customs surrounding him. When he said his last amen, Lord John nodded at Sir Griffin. He began to ease the boat into the water. When it resisted, first Sir Edevane and then the other knights joined him. Together, they gave one last push, and the boat floated free.

Sir Sion remained on the bank, alone in his guilt. He didn’t join the rest, likely because he knew they held him responsible for Sir Maldwyn’s death. Sir Sion’s decision made in haste and in anger had ended someone’s life. No wonder he couldn’t bear to meet anyone’s eyes.

Have you written any other books?  If so, tell us a bit about them.

I’ve written a YA fantasy, In My Own Shadow. Talk about the worst day 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.

I have a fantasy coming out in the fall, titled Xander’s Tangled Web. After a late night visit to Battington’s marketplace, Princess Mena has vanished without a trace. Merchants are frantic because King Leander has called for a curfew and postponed the spring festival. Certain his former constable is the man for the job, the mayor hires Xander to investigate, hoping he can solve the mystery in a hurry so things can go back to normal. But Xander’s not so sure that’s possible because there’s romance involved, and he knows when that happens, folks who are normally very sensible seem to lose all reason. In addition to sorting out truths, half-truths and outright lies, he must deal with gypsies, love potions and an illegal moonshine operation before he gets to the bottom of things.

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

Currently I’m working on book 3 in my series. Erin and Griffin’s story is still not complete. I told the story of how they met and fell in love. Now we’ll find out how two people from different worlds learn to live together.

What advice do you have for authors?

Join a critique group. Write your story. Research. Learn. Edit. Submit your story. Last, but not least, never ever give up.

Anything else you want readers to know?

I’d love to hear from any of you. Email me at

Where can readers find you and your books?


Her Books:

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


  1. Thanks so much for having me here today, Cheryl!

  2. I was just over at Susan's site where YOU were featured Cheryl! I love the cross-promotion! Thanks for introducing us to another terrific author through the Kid Lit Blog Hop!

    1. Thanks for visiting and for stopping by Susan's blog, Renee. Have a great vacation.

  3. Lovely to read about Susan's writing - and thanks for the extract. I'm now going to KidLit-Blog-Hop over to read the other side of the interview, as it were :-)