Today I’m joined by Emily Royal who is sharing a really varied and interesting set of facts about herself. Her debut novel, The Sins of the Sire, will be published by Tirgearr on 13th March. Read on to find out about pet snakes, Gollum and a very large head!
Hello! Thank you so much for letting me share my #TenThings on your blog
1) Emily Royal is a pen name.
Not that I’m ashamed of writing naughty books (in fact, I embrace the naughtiness) but it just happened that way. The name is derived from my grandmother so there’s a bit of me in there. I still occasionally do a double-take on social media wondering who this Emily person is that people are responding to on my pages.
2) I was once on a TV gameshow.
Despite being a committed introvert (I’m INFJ) I once placed myself at risk of being made a total fool of on a 45-minute long TV show. Anyone remember the Crystal Maze with Richard O’Brien, him of Rocky Horror fame? I managed to get a crystal, didn’t get locked in and Richard O’Brien is as witty and intriguing in real life as he is in public. Of course, being young and star struck at the time I didn’t say much to him.
3) I was once on the British shooting team.
Targets, I might add, I could never aim at anything fluffy. It’s how I met my husband as we were on opposing teams – a bit of an England v Scotland rivalry going on there. My brief sporting career ended with a whiplash injury in a car accident. Nothing debilitating but it affected my performance enough to knock me off the squad. It was an interesting experience and taught me that with a little bit of effort you can get to a level that’s pretty close to the top standard but to improve by the tiny fraction needed to get to the top the effort you have to put in is astronomical. Everything else in your life has to take second place. On reflection, the injury was a blessing in disguise – and I had the pleasure of suing the hide off the driver who caused the accident.
4) By profession I’m an actuary.
Try telling people that at parties and they either arch an eyebrow in wonderment at how someone with my physique could make a living as an actress, or start asking me what it’s like to work in a factory. Occasionally someone will cough awkwardly then go and talk to someone else, thereby indicating that they know what one is. To put it into perspective, when I was younger I used to mess about with algebra and calculus outside of the day job. Now I write naughty books outside the day job.
My career ambition when younger was to be an airline pilot and I managed to get a gliding licence at university. But my eyesight wasn’t good enough to get on the airline training programmes. It was just on the cusp of what the airline accepted and I failed the assessment process at the last hurdle.
5) I have 12 pet snakes.
None of them are venomous, they’re all of the constricting (squeezy) kind. My husband had a phobia before we got our first snake but he’s almost “cured” of it now. They range in size and shape from Conan, a baby Royal Python who fits onto one hand and Amira an eight-foot boa constrictor who’s puppy-dog tame and loves a cuddle. If I were a witch one of the boas, (called Twinkle) would be my Familiar because he’s round my neck pretty much all of the time. I often forget he’s there and if the postman comes knocking he gets a fright when I open the door. Twinkle is very curious so will always slither over to check out any new person in the room. We took him out trick-or-treating a couple of years ago. In Scotland it’s called “guising” where the ghouls earn their treats by reciting a joke or poem or doing something entertaining. However, with Tinkle accompanying us, people parted with their treats astonishingly quickly.
When my eldest daughter took part in a French exchange she exchanged letters early on sharing hobbies and information. The school received a letter from a very worried Maman asking whether her child was at risk of being subjected to serpents slithering all over the house. Fortunately my husband is more sensible than I and he responded with a straightforward “Don’t worry, they’re kept in locked tanks.” I wanted to go for the slight variation “Don’t worry, we keep anti-venom and adrenaline in the fridge at all times.”
6) My road to publication was both tortuous and lightning fast!
My first book contract came after three years of submissions which included looking for an agent, editing, editing and more editing, obscenely long delays, submitting and getting rejection after rejection including an “almost-there” which nearly finished me off then submitting on my own once my agent had exhausted her list. The second book contract, which has ended up being my debut book, was accepted by the first publisher I sent the manuscript to following a twitter pitch. I joined in the pitch as an afterthought, after stumbling across the hashtag #PitDark on twitter. I treated it as an academic exercise, unaware that this particular publisher was watching the feed. I was delighted when they picked up the tweet and ecstatic when they offered the contract!
7) I love dark romance.
Though I enjoy most genres including crime and thriller, my heart is in romance. One of my favourite books is a little known romance called “The Silver Devil” by Teresa Denys. It’s definitely an “old-skool” bodice-ripper and wouldn’t make it past the front desk in any publishing house now, but it’s beautifully written. The imagery is so vivid!
8) My favourite literary character is Gollum.
Instead of explaining why, I’m going to keep my reasonses to myselveses, precious!
9) I have a record-breaking sized head.
When my mother was expecting me, the doctors, after an examination, sent her straight into theatre for a c-section because of the size of my head. Apparently it was the largest baby’s head recorded in the hospital to date. Since the hospital is no longer there my record will stand for all eternity.
10) My family was on jam-swapping terms with an Oscar-winning actor.
Not as glamorous as it sounds. I grew up in a tiny village in Sussex and the actor Paul Scofield (won best actor in 1966 for A Man for All Seasons) lived over the other side of our fence and his apple trees dangled over our garden.
My social media links are:
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07N974NW5/
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07N974NW5/
Two years ago, English noblewoman, Elyssia De Montford, risked her life to free the Highlander held prisoner by her sadistic fiancé. She cannot forget the man who first stirred her heart–a memory that burns anew when she finds herself once more on the road to Scotland.
Tavish MacLean has sworn vengeance. It’s been six years since his beloved sister was raped and murdered by an English lord, a tragedy which almost destroyed his family. On his deathbed, his father demanded retribution and Tavish pledged before his clan to enslave the lord’s daughter then send her back to her father, pregnant with a Scottish bastard. When he learns that she is travelling north, he seizes his opportunity and orders her abduction.
But when his men fling the prisoner before him, Tavish recognises Elyssia, the woman who once saved his life. Loyalty to his clan trumps the debt he owes her and he claims Elyssia as his captive. Though she’s one of the hated English, her willing body ignites passion in him at night, though she fights him at every turn during the day. As time passes, he questions his loyalty, finding himself increasingly enthralled by his fiery captive.
Treachery surrounds Clan MacLean. When long-buried secrets come to light, Tavish must risk his life and his clan, or all that he holds dear will be destroyed.