Monday, June 25, 2012

Not Long Ago, Susan A. Royal

AUTHOR:  Susan A. Royal
BOOK TITLE:  Not Long Ago
PUBLISHER:  MuseItUp Publishing

Please tell us about yourselfI was born in El Paso, Texas.  All I can remember about living there is the sand. I grew up in San Antonio, Texas and raised my family in a small town in northeast Texas – three very different places.  My husband and I live in a 100 year old farmhouse with a female ghost who likes to harmonize.

When and why did you begin writing?  I’ve been writing all my life, because I always seem to have a story to tell.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?  I won my first short story contest, I felt as though I’d begun my journey to becoming a writer.  When I signed with Muse, I took the next step.  When I finished my first book, I felt a sense of accomplishment and realized, somewhere along the line, I’d become a writer, even though I was still learning.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?  Never be afraid to take a chance.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?  (Has anyone ever realized it?)  Some of my characters are based on composites of people I know.  They don’t realize it, but others who read about them can see the resemblance.

What book are you reading now? What do you like, or not, about it?  I just read The Scorpio Races.  The author has a lovely way with words, and she makes the reader experience all the angst of being a teenager, sometimes with painful clarity.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?  Maggie Stiefvater

What are your current projects?  I just finished a fantasyadventure romance, In My Own Shadow.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?  I’m still tweaking, and I probably will until the last possible minute, but I wouldn’t change the story.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?  I had stories to tell.

Do you ever have problems with writers block?  If so how do you get through it?  The last time I had trouble moving forward with my story I skipped to the end and wrote the last two chapters. 

What do you do when you’re not writing/editing or thinking about writing/editing?  I work as a full time secretary.  I’m a wife, mother, grandmother.  I sew, paint, read, love photography. Our old house is forever in a state of remodel.  I brake for garage/yard/estate sales.

What was the hardest part of writing your book? The middle part.  The beginning and the end always come easier.

Do you have any advice for other writers?  Never give up.  Never stop learning.  Be flexible.

Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them?  MuseItUp.  A friend of mine and fellow writer recommended them to me, and I’m so glad I took his advice.

How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc. - please share your public links.                                                                        


That afternoon I hauled buckets of water to Sir Griffin’s quarters so he could bathe in the oversized barrel we had moved to the center of the room.  No plumbing and no heat made preparing bath water sweaty and exhausting. With more than a little longing, I daydreamed of relaxing in a Jacuzzi.

I had built a fire outside his quarters. It may not have been summer, but by the time I finished, I needed a bath in the worst way. Lucky for me, the well was located nearby, and just outside his door there was a large pit stacked with enough wood to build a fire for heating water.  Those fortunate enough had servants who prepared their baths.  Knights had their squires.  Everyone else either did it themselves or went without. Now I understood why common people tended to have a grungy look.  Thank God March and I hadn’t arrived during the winter, or even worse, in the heat of the summer. Just thinking about body odors mixed with ripe sewage made me want to gag.

While I alternated filling the barrel with hot and cold water, Sir Griffin had stripped.  Without success, I tried concentrating on the bucket I carried, the floor, or anything but him.  It wouldn’t do for him to see me blushing.  How would I explain turning beet red at the sight of man’s naked body when I was supposed to be one, too?  I’d already seen him shirtless, so I knew he was very fit. But, God forbid, if I didn’t stop staring, he might assume I was gay.  And, I didn’t want to go there. Focus, Erin. Keep your mind on the chore at hand and stop thinking about how he looks.
I stumbled through the door, carrying the last bucket of hot water. With his back to me and holding onto the rim of the barrel, Sir Griffin quickly climbed inside, but not before I saw his finely muscled backside.  He sank down until the water came almost to his chest and sighed with pleasure.  My heart thudded in my ears.  In my haste to empty the bucket and leave, I doused him with the contents of the bucket. He looked almost comical spewing water from his mouth.

I froze.  “Are you all right?” 

He shook his head and drops flew everywhere.  “It is no matter, since I meant to wash my hair as well.”  Without thinking, I dug out my hoarded cake of soap and handed it to him, mumbling an apology. 

He studied it with a puzzled expression.  “Why, thank ye, Aaron.” 

It’s only soap.  Granted, it was nicer than what he was accustomed to using, but didn’t knights ever use something not so manly? I darted around the room, picking up his clothes and avoiding his eyes.  I decided to leave before doing something else stupid.  And, stay away until sure he was finished bathing and had all his clothes back on. My face still flaming, I rushed out the door and past the paddock, trying to put some space between myself and all the emotion I’d just experienced in Sir Griffin’s presence.


  1. Thanks so much for having me Penny.

  2. Hi Penny and Susan, I enjoyed your interview. You live with a ghost, how wonderful - a friendly one I hope, although, a non friendly one would be more likely to add to your store of stories. How fortunate you are, Susan, to have stories in your head. Mine have to be squeezed out of me, like ringing nicotine from the lungs.
    Loved the tension and smooth revelation of detail in your excerpt. Another book to add to my list of to-be-read when I whittle down the rest. :) 'Not Long Ago' sounds like it will hold my attention and be unputdownable.

    1. Thank you for stopping by Wendy. She's friendly (and has a lovely voice, or so my son says) I do hope you enjoy the book. I'm working on the sequel as we speak.

  3. Susan, it is my pleasure. I hope you'll come back when you release your sequel. Wendy, glad you enjoyed the interview. Stop back often to learn about other new and exciting releases.

  4. Good luck, Susan! I know this one will do very well in the market, with the depth you gave those characters.

  5. Hi Susan and Penny, Great interview and extract. Love the bath scene. Hehe.
    Living with a ghost. It would make life interesting. Especially for your son, by the sounds of things.
    Not Long Ago looks like a 'MUST READ'. Congratulations.

  6. Thank you all so much. It's always a pleasure to talk about something I love to do - tell stories.