Robbi Perna - Author and Lecturer

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Stories That Sweep You Away

Interview with fellow Muse author, Susan Royal

I have a special treat for you all today and ask you to welcome fellow author, Susan Royal, to our Sunday Afternoons blog.  Susan writes time travel stories and they are spectacular.  Welcome to Sunday Afternoons.

Describe what you consider your ideal writing conditions.
I really envy people who can use a laptop or a tablet. They can take it anywhere and write. I learned to type in high school on a manual typewriter, so there’s a lot of force behind my keystrokes. (I have to replace my keyboard once a year because I wear the letters off) When I got my first pc, I LOVED it because I could type something like 90 words a minute. I said all that to say this. I do all my writing at my desk, with some good music in the background (Moby, Wooden Ships, Ludovico Enaudi and a host of others) coffee, Earl Grey tea or something on ice (depending on the weather) at my elbow. My ideal conditions are any time when I won’t be interrupted every five minutes, during the day or any time before 10:00 pm (Any later than that and the words tend to run together.)

What song or artist always makes you want to cry?
Just Breathe, by Eddie Vedder It’s a beautiful song about life and what we should be making of it. It makes me think of my husband and children and chokes me up every time I think of the ending. “Meet me on the other side.”

Name an author or authors who never fail to inspire you.     Susanna Kearsley – when I get to the aha moment in her stories it always gives me chills. Maggie Stiefvater—she makes me remember being a teenager—the incredible highs and lows and how it feels to experience love for the first time, and Jim Butcher—he can spin a tale that never fails to draw me in.

What is the one thing you never seem to have enough time for? Housework—not that I want to, mind you. It’s a necessary evil. I live in an old house that produces dust at an alarming rate. Somehow I can never find the time (or want to) give it a thorough cleaning.
* * * *

Susanna Kearsley is also one of my favorites, which is why your work appeals to me so much.  So, that said, let's take a look at the first two books in your "It's About Time" series.

Erin has met the man of her dreams, but as usual there are complications. It’s one of those long distance relationships, and Griffin is a little behind the times-- somewhere around 600 years.    Erin and her employer, March, are transported to a time where chivalry and religion exist alongside brutality and superstition. Something is not quite right at the castle, and Erin and March feel sure mysterious Lady Isobeil is involved. But Erin must cope with crop circles, ghosts, a kidnapping and death before the truth of her journey is revealed.   Forced to pose as March’s nephew, Erin finds employment as handsome Sir Griffin’s squire.  She’s immediately attracted to him and grows to admire his courage, quiet nobility and devotion to duty.  Yet, she must deny her feelings.  Her world is centuries away, and she wants to go home.  But Erin can’t stop thinking about her knight in shining armor. 
* * * *
I reviewed the book on Amazon last week.  It is a fascinating story that engages the reader from the outset. What made you decide to write turn it into a series?
Sleep danced just out of my reach last night. After working on Chapter One of my WIP for most of the evening, I couldn’t get it out of my head. Ideas kept swirling round and round. I tossed and turned for over an hour before I got up to play FreeCell in the hopes it might make me drowsy. I checked my email and was thrilled to find a contract from MuseItUp for From Now On, sequel to my time travel adventure/romance, Not Long Ago. When Not Long Ago was finished, I began submitting it for publication, with no plans to make it into a series. A total newbie, I figured one step at a time. Tiny baby steps. Fast forward a couple of years, a lot of rejections and a lot of revisions. After I signed with MuseItUp, my daughter, Carrie, read the manuscript to get a feel for the book trailer she was creating.She read the last page and called me immediately. “That’s not the end, is it?”I felt as though I’d resolved all the major questions and ended the story in a good place. “Didn’t you like it?”“Yeah, but…you can’t stop there.”“What do you mean?”“Erin and Griffin’s story isn’t finished. I want to know what happens next!”And that’s how it became a series. In Not Long Ago, I pictured a young woman in her twenties hurrying down a busy city sidewalk. One her way past a coffee shop, she notices a handsome stranger through the window. Their eyes meet and what she sees leaves her reeling. Not only does she recognize him, she knows things about the man…but how? Who is he?  From there, the story could have gone anywhere. Turns out it did. The idea of time travel has always fascinated me. Imagine getting up close and personal with history. Experiencing what life is really like in another time. My main characters, Erin and Griffin, meet and fall in love in a medieval world.        From Now On takes up where it leaves off. Some of my favorite characters from the first book are back. Arvo: the tall gangly young man with a disreputable shock of red hair who becomes Erin’s good friend and confidant. Sir Edevane: Griffin’s fellow knight and friend. Kat: Griffin’s fiesty little sister.  Sir Griffin travels across centuries to find Erin, the woman he loves. Before they can begin their new life together, he’s sent on a mission to a strange island. When he doesn’t return as planned, Erin assembles a group of his friends to search for him. Followed by his strong-willed sister, Kateryn, they travel to Swansea and secure passage with the notorious Captain Akin.    Erin discovers firsthand how the island has earned its dark reputation when she battles freakish weather, encounters a race of little people known as “Prowlies” and experiences ghosts of the long departed.  Even worse, she discovers there are “ley lines” crossing the island’s mountain peak, creating all sorts of strange phenomena, such as time travel.

Mini-Excerpt:        I am a stranger in this world, even though I’ve traveled this way before.      Fate and not design brought me the first time. It hurled me into a distant future, with no idea how or why, taking me from an existence dependent upon modern technology to a place where people fear such things and those who use them. While searching for my way home from this harsh and sometimes violent world, my admiration for its inhabitants who valued honor and duty above all else grew into admiration and respect. I found myself drawn to one in particular, a man who saved me more than once. Only I never expected to fall in love with him.       Torn between my feelings and a longing for home, I returned to my time with only vague memories of my experience. My life went back to normal, but part of me sensed the loss of something more precious than anything I’d regained. Until one day, I saw him again.      This time I’ve come by choice, and it is where I’m going to stay.      Fate willing.
* * * *
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 20 century.  Her father told her about growing up in San Antonio in the depression, and she experienced being a teenager during WWII through her mother’s eyes.

When she isn’t writing, she still has a day job, working in the public schools in east Texas as a secretary. She does her best to keep up with her grandchildren. Music and painting are two of her passions. Susan is a firm believer in getting what you want without breaking the bank. She loves to bargain shop anywhere there’s a sale and began repurposing long before it was popular. She paints, crafts and sews. Her office/craft/sewing room is littered with her latest projects.

Susan loves to take her readers through all kinds of adventures with liberal doses of romance. So far, she’s written two books in her It’s About Time series, Not Long Ago and From Now On. They are time travel adventures with romance about two people who fall in love despite the fact they come from very different worlds.In My Own Shadow is a Fantasy adventure/romance.

Look for her books at MuseItUp/Amazon/B&N. You can also find Odin’s Spear, one of her short stories featured in a Quests, Curses, and Vengeance anthology, Martinus Publishing, available on Amazon.

Want to know more?  Visit Susan and find out what new world she's going to visit next.


13 Comments to Interview with fellow Muse author, Susan Royal:

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Susan Royal on Sunday, December 14, 2014 1:11 PM
Thanks so much for having me visit your blog today. One of the perks of being a writer is meeting so many fascinating people like yourself and hearing the stories they have to tell. Head on over to my blog for a peek at Robbi's writing. You'll be glad you did.
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Robbi Perna on Sunday, December 14, 2014 1:25 PM
Thanks so much for our blog interview exchange today. I've enjoyed it so much. I headed over to your blog first thing this morning and loved the way you introduced me. This is a fun way to start the week.

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