Hello Everyone! Today we have the fabulous Susan Royal! Who is kindly giving away a copy of her book Not Long Ago to one lucky commentor!
Marion: Hello Susan, tell us about yourself!
I was born in west Texas, raised in south Texas and make my home in northeast Texas. My husband and I live in a 100 year old farmhouse that boasts a ghost who likes to harmonize with my son when he plays guitar. Our house has been in a constant state of remodel/restore for almost 30 years, but it’s our home. We have three children, a son-in-law and daughter-in-law and four grandchildren. I grew up listening to my grandmother’s stories about Indian Territory in Oklahoma and working as a telephone operator in the early twentieth century, my dad’s stories about his childhood in the thirties and my mother’s stories about growing up during WWII.
Marion: What was the first book you ever read that really blew your mind, that you couldn’t stop thinking about after you’d finished?
The first book I remember crying over was Black Beauty. I was 7 or 8. The first book I read I couldn’t stop thinking about was Three Hearts and Three Lions, a fantasy by Poul Anderson.
Marion: How do you start thinking about a book? Is it the characters that first pop to mind, or the setting, or the plot? Where do you usually start?
Not Long Ago began with a chance encounter between a man and a woman. Their eyes meet and her heart lurches. Somehow, she knows things about the man, things she should never know. And when he looks away, she feels as though a door has been slammed in her face.
Marion: If you could invite five writers, living or dead, to dinner, who would they be?
Mark Twain, Robert McCammon, Ray Bradbury, Jim Butcher, Maggie Stiefvater
Marion: When was the last time you just had to write, and what inspired that feeling?
Happens all the time. Characters from the scene that pops into my head tap me on my shoulder until I pay attention.
Marion: When you’re writing, what game do you most often play during “breaks”?
Marion: Have you ever tried to shake up your writing routine? Writing at a different time?
I write at all times, but my best writing time is early evening when I have enough time to ‘get into’ the scene.
Marion: Writing in new places?
I can write anywhere, even on scraps of paper if necessary (so I won’t forget an idea)
Marion: Writing nude? *waggles eyebrows*
How about in my pajamas?
Marion: What one scene do you think you spent the most time editing? What was it about it that you couldn’t seem to get right?
Action scenes. I have to consult my husband, son or research to make sure I have all the correct moves, the right weapons, the proper posture. I have to make sure of the timing and build the tension. When I was just a reader, I used to skim those parts. Can’t do that any more.
Marion: What’s your worst writing habit? Something you know you shouldn’t do, but just can’t seem to stop?
I make a point and later in the story I make it again as though I’m trying to make sure the reader gets what I mean. Another thing I do is get hooked on a new word or phrase and overuse it.
Marion: There are a lot of concepts about what writer are like, what’s the one you hate the most? Like the most?
That becoming a published author is something easy. If you want to succeed, you have to work at it. Some parts are fun, some aren’t, just like anything else.
Marion: If you could choose one writing related question you never, ever wanted to hear spoken again, what would it be?
Are you an author?
Marion: What project are you currently working on?
I’m working on a sequel to Not Long Ago. According to my daughter, the story wasn’t finished. And she was right.
Marion: About how long does it take you to get from first draft to polished manuscript? What does that process look like?
I’m getting faster. At first it took years. I started my latest book in July or August, 2012, and it’s coming together. If all goes well, it will be ready to submit by July 2013
Marion: What did your “favorite” rejection letter say?
I received a letter from Melissa Frain, editor at Tor. She was kind enough to read Not Long Ago when it was still rough and went so far as to tell me its strengths and weaknesses and encourage me to keep writing. I will keep that letter forever.
Marion: Name a book that, if you find out someone likes it, you know you will get along with that person.
Any Harry Dresden books. Anyone who likes him is bound to be quirky.
Marion: Is there a writer whose style or talent you envy? What is it about their writing that draws you in?
Maggie Stiefvater She has the knack of making the reader experience the same emotions her characters experience, using fresh, unconventional words and phrases that sound like music to the ear.
Marion: Thanks so much for joining us today, Susan! And readers, remember to comment for a chance to win a copy of Susan's book, Not Long Ago!