In our continuing series of new contributing author interviews, today I'm interviewing Susan A. Royal, a talented writer who contributed the short story Odin’s Spear to "Quests, Curses, & Vengeance." Thank you for taking the time to be interviewed, Susan.
MTI: Starting off, could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
Susan A. Royal: Born in west Texas and raised in south Texas, I make my 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 my son when he plays guitar. I’m married, with three children and four grandchildren.
MTI: Getting down to business; what first compelled you to weave fiction, and what's your favorite type of story to write?
SAR: My family is rich with characters, both past and present. I spent my childhood listening to my 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. My father shared stories of growing up in San Antonio in the depression, and through my mother’s eyes I experienced how it felt to be a teenager during WWII. Since I come from a long line of storytellers, it seemed only natural to want to spin tales like they did. From the very beginning, the stories that caught my attention and held it the longest were the ghost yarns, the unexplained mysteries, the ones that made chills race up and down my spine. I grew up watching Twilight Zone and Outer Limits. I’m all about strange things happening to ordinary people, living ordinary lives and how they deal. Time travel is my favorite theme. What better way to get up close and personal with some other era than to actually go there! Quirky, creepy, off-the-wall, action-adventure and throw a little romance in there somewhere.
MTI: Tell me, if you had to pick just one author who has influenced or inspired you, who would it be?
SAR: There are many, but the first has to be Ray Bradbury.
MTI: Definitely a popular choice. Bradbury was one of my early influences, also.
Your story, Odin’s Spear, appears in Quests, Curses, & Vengeance, an eclectic collection of stories ranging from high fantasy to imaginative sci-fi adventures and even supernatural horror. You had the opportunity to read many of these stories in their original, rough draft form. If you could, point out a few of your favorites.
SAR: “Poetic Justice” by Edmund Wells was a delightful twist on the usual superhero tale. Anything by Edmund Wells is an adventure. “Be Careful What you wish for...” by Mel Obedoza had a dark and gritty feel and “Quest through the Ages” by J. L. Mo was a poignant story.
MTI: Shifting back to your own writing, can you tell us a little about what you're working on right now?
SAR: Yesterday I wrote the final chapter to my time travel sequel, “From Now On.” The first book is “Not Long Ago.” I never planned for it to have a sequel, but my daughter told me I wasn’t finished yet and she was right. Not only that, but there will be more.
MTI: Of everything you’ve written thus far, do you happen to have a “favorite” piece of fiction?
SAR: The ‘next’ thing I write is always my favorite, because it takes me to new, uncharted territory.
MTI: Other than Odin’s Spear, appearing in Quests, Curses, & Vengeance, do you have any other stories being published in the near future?
SAR: “Not Long Ago” is a time travel action/adventure with romance. “In My Own Shadow” is a fantasy/adventure with romance. Both are available on Amazon in ebook form.
MTI: On a lighter note, have you watched any good tv lately?
SAR: Just watched the first episode of The Bridge. Gritty, dark, serial killer mystery with some humor. Looks promising.
I like Falling Skies and Walking Dead. Most of my time is spent writing.
MTI: Ah, yes, everybody seems to be watching The Walking Dead (at least, most Martinus Publishing writers enjoy it). I’m also partial to Falling Skies—it’s one of the few television shows I watch these days.
Now, moving on, what sort of music do you like?
SAR: Passenger, Dave Matthews, Bernard Fanning, Bear’s Den, Ivan and Alyosha, Kodaline, Train, Cold Play, Mumford and Sons, Break of Reality, Willie Nelson, Eddie Vedder (Does that give you an idea of my varied tastes?)
MTI: And if you would, name three movies that you could watch over and over again and not be bored?
SAR: The 13th Warrior, Gladiator, Braveheart
MTI: Banderas, Crowe, and Gibson; three great actors in three great movies! Though, I must admit I found Michael Chriton’s “Eaters of the Dead” even better as a book (for those who don’t know, the 13th Warrior was the movie adaptation of Eaters).
You’ve got the attention of potential readers. Is there anything you’d like to say to them, perhaps something to pique their interest in your work?
SAR: Are you bored? Has your life been a little humdrum? Need a vacation? Escape with me to another world where you can experience adventure and see places you’ll never find advertised in a travel brochure.
MTI: Well, this has been an excellent interview. Thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions.
For those who want to read one of Susan’s latest short stories, Quests, Curses, & Vengeance awaits!