Jo&isalovebooks had the absolute pleasure of interviewing our friend and great M/M writer, Author Susan Mac Nicol.
Isa Jones, Susan Mac Nicol, Joanne Swinney
It’s no secret that you are a woman with many talents. Could you tell us what you do besides writing?
Ha ha, not so sure about that. I just have this knack of looking more super woman than I am J I have a day job, one I need to pay the bills and keep a roof over my head. I’m Compliance Officer for an insurance broker based in Newmarket. I’ve always been involved in legal and regulatory matters in the financial services sector- so Compliance is something I enjoy. It’s challenging, interesting and a job where you can be autonomous. Think of it as Internal Affairs for the financial services industry. You get to boss people about and tell them what to do, so of course, it’s a job tailor made for a pushy git like me.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Since I was a little girl. (Oi you out there snorting coffee out your nose- I was little once, both in size and age!) I started writing when I was about nine years old. It was just short stories, mostly fantasy type stuff, wizards and magic, that kind of thing. I have a passion for this sort of thing. My step mum bought me my very own typewriter when I was about twelve and I loved it. It was the best present I could ever have gotten. I bashed the hell out of it, writing stories like ‘The Green Menace’ and ‘You’ – that story won an award at a local church writing competition (I was kicked out of the church shortly after this, as they felt I was a ‘bad influence’ on the others –I mean, going out in the darkness during an eclipse to kafoofle in a very innocent way with my then boyfriend, and telling people they had the right to think for themselves as regards religion- what was I thinking?) I didn’t give my award back though… I still have all the stuff I wrote on that typewriter in a plastic container in my basement. Maybe one day when I hit the NY Times best seller list, it will be worth something. *grins*
Although you have earlier books of M/F, what inspired you to write M/M?
I was writing Love and Punishment and that started out as an MF book, as did Saving Alexander and the Double Alchemy books. In L & P I have a bisexual serial killer. I needed to write some raunchy action scenes for this character, called Blair, as he used sex to control people. I had no clue how to do this. I figured the best way to do that was read from a genre that until then I didn’t even know existed. MM Romance, gay fiction, whatever you want to call it. I found it so damned hot and steamy, I decided that my next book was going to be one too. That was how Stripped Bare came to life. I’m lucky in that I had a mentor for this one –Kindle Alexander-who already wrote in this genre, and I had made friends with a gay couple, one of whom is also a writer. He read my sex scenes as my ‘cultural liaison’ as he called himself and made sure I wasn’t telling porkies. He did make a comment once during a very busy Writer’s Circle meeting, sotto voce, but so everyone could hear, saying ‘Sue, cum doesn’t travel that far, you might like to reconsider that bit’. Everyone went wide eyed and stared at me as if I’d grown a penis on my forehead. I found M/M was more fun to write than M/F and certainly sold better and have never looked back.
Would you ever consider writing another M/F?
I actually have a full 100,000 word book written as M/F. It’s the third book in my Starlight series about Bennett and Cassie. Unfortunately, my M/F books didn’t sell. At all. I think I made less than $20.00 out of the first two. So book 3 is unlikely to be published. However -this series has a gay couple in it- Dylan and Alec. They feature quite a lot in the first two books. Dylan is Bennett’s best friend; Alec is Bennett’s publicist. Great couple, I love them. I re-wrote the book, as M/M from their POV to complete Bennett and Cassie’s story. So I have the gay version as well. It didn’t work well, as I struggled to re- write a book about a hetero couple so prominently featured in two previous books and make their story supplemental to the gay one. I’ll work on it again sometime, but I doubt I’ll ever write another M/F book.
You have so many books out now, all with fabulous stories; not biased, just being honest, Joandisalovebooks are HUGE fans of your writing but could you pick just one book that means the most to you; if so why that particular book?
It is tough choosing one book, but I think it would be Saving Alexander. Firstly, it’s about a novelist who wanted to meet their screen hero so badly they wrote a book and a screen play for them in the hope it would one day bear fruit and the star would end up being cast in it. It’s what I did when I first started writing to attract Benedict Cumberbatch into my lair with the Starlight series. It worked for Alex where it didn’t work for me- it’s my fantasy deliberately brought to life in my book. Secondly Alex was a man who simply wanted peace, someone to love, and a family to be with. It echoes of my sister Carol, who died too young and tragically, and this book was dedicated to her memory.
We understand you have achieved ARe Best Seller several times. Congratulations. How do you feel knowing you have achieved such an accomplishment?
Thank you, ladies. It’s gratifying knowing people want to read my stories. It’s overwhelming that I’ve achieved some success doing something I’m passionate about. It blows me away every time someone contacts me and tells me how much they enjoyed reading about my men falling in love. Sometimes I lose focus on the reason I write. Instead of finding joy in the fact I have people reading my books, I tend to get bogged down on why I’m not selling as many as everyone else out there, and getting the rankings. Every time someone posts on my timeline, messages me and says they loved Leslie in Suit Yourself, cried with Nick and Owen in Worth Keeping- I get back on track and remember that’s the reason I write. I need that to ground me and stop me comparing myself to others. To remember I’m a writer first and a business woman second.
What advice could you give to someone who is just starting out and wanting to write an M/M book?
It’s no secret my favourite author in this genre is Josh Lanyon. Oh and Harper Fox, who just happened to have as one of her mentors, Josh Lanyon. So no surprise there I love both author’s books. Josh has bought me such pleasure, and inspired me when I started writing. I’d say read Josh’s book about how to write M/M like I did. I confess I didn’t follow all the advice given in there when I first started writing, but it opened my eyes to the genre. Research your books, make sure your sexual content is realistic. Try not to get sucked into the belief that the more sex you have, the better the book. Make the story count first, the sex secondary. I might have been accused of having too much sex in my books, but I honestly don’t believe I do after some of the best sellers I’ve read. They contain wall to wall, page after page sex with few redeeming qualities. Don’t fall into this trap. Story comes first with me and I think I do this in my books; I’ll argue that to the death with critics.
We know you quite well and often wonder how much sleep you get. LOL! For those readers who don’t know you, can you tell us all what your daily routine is and actually how many hours sleep you manage to squeeze into your day?
My typical day
Wake up at 7 am, shower, dress, off to work at 7.25 –yes I can get ready in a very short time. Gents, don’t scoff. Come to my house and I’ll prove it J Work until 5 pm, travel an hour home (50- mile journey, which allows me time to think) Unleash husband from the shackles and insist he cook me dinner. If not him, one of the kids. I don’t cook. I can, but it’s not my favourite thing to do. Get on the laptop, check mail, do social media stuff. Maybe watch an episode or two of ‘Marvel-Agents of Shield’. This ‘normal’ family activity is so my family know I exist and am a real person living with them, not a myth they see every now and then. Because I’m out and about quite a bit without them at various events- when I’m not writing. Write as much as I can, normally until about eleven pm. I try average 2500-3000 a day, every day including weekends. Simultaneously FB message chat to porn stars, circus clowns, film stars, movie producers, daughter in University, my Nicky’s Starlettes honies- Val, Kirsty Janice, Jo and Isa- random dudes sending dick pics or asking me to watch them jerk off, fellow authors, various crazy people like my buddy Warren, colleagues at Divine magazine- oh, look, that would be you and Isa!! Lol. Go to bed. Read until midnight, 1 am. Rinse and repeat the day.
Where you’re writing is concerned what would be the greatest achievement you would love to succeed in?
I’m not greedy. Really. I’d like to have a #1 best seller in category. I’ve never had this. I want a yellow ribbon. *stamps feet* I’d like to be in the Top 100 in Kindle Store sometime. Other than this, I think people still wanting me to write and read my books is all I need.
For those readers that don’t know you, could you explain to us how and why you became a huge supporter of the LGBT community?
I’ve always been involved with LGBT individuals. I mean, why would they be treated any different to anyone else? *scratches head* When I was seventeen, and left school, I had a job in Hillbrow in central Johannesburg and this necessitated me living in a *ahem* drug dealing (don’t ask, really don’t ask. I may have to kill you) commune with a few gay men, who crashed in my bed often when they got drunk and passed out. One of them, David, was so damn hot, I really didn’t mind sharing my bed. Tall, blond, ripped Adonis. Oh didn’t I mention I was in the bed as well when they crashed? I heard their stories, saw how people treated them back in SA in the early 80’s and was stunned by the different treatment they got. To me, they were just people. Growls. People who stole my food from the fridge and left me living on a jar of gherkins for a week to the extent I got pneumonia and had to get Mum to fetch me and take me home to her house to look after me…but that’s another story. They were still awesome guys. I have this huge thing about people being prejudiced and persecuting others. I even wrote an anthology of poetry about it. No one has the right to judge another person for their colour, (living in SA I went through apartheid-didn’t agree but we were in no position to change it then), religion, sexual preference, gender or beliefs. It’s wrong, period.
We believe you are well respected in the book and LGBT community. Do you think it’s because you have acceptance of everyone?
Kind of you to say, I hope people see me as an ally. I think yes, it’s because I don’t judge people, because we’re all in the same boat trying to get along on a planet going mad. We should be uniting together to build a better place as a species, not in-fighting because we’re all different. Ladies, want to fall in love with a woman? Go for it. A chap wanting to wear women’s clothes? Fine by me. Young lads wearing mascara and lipstick? If it makes you happy, go for it. Like to stand naked on your lawn, throwing confetti in the air and worshipping the Confetti God? Your business. Your life. As long as the old Wiccan rede is being followed (think of this as not being anything pagan, but a really good set of common sense guidance on how to live in this world), I have no issues with anything anyone does. The whole ‘An ye harm none, do as ye will’ thing really appeals to me. If more people followed this civilised advice, we might have less trouble in the world.
Bide the Wiccan Law ye must,
In perfect love, in perfect trust.
Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill:
An ye harm none, do as ye will.
And ever mind the Rule of Three:
What ye send out, comes back to thee.
Follow this with mind and heart,
And merry ye meet, and merry ye part.
Is there anything you like to do when you actually do have some free time?
I love walking down on the beach, taking photos with my phone and eating fish and chips from polystyrene containers, watching the seagulls. I adore going to the theatre, in the West End, or anywhere else. I thrive on going out to dinner with my family when we can all get together. And of course, doing book research in obscure places like light houses, the Salisbury Tor and circuses is always fun to do. And Author Conferences and events to meet readers and fellow writers is a huge pleasure.
LOVE AND PUNISHMENT
Someone is leaving a trail of bodies throughout London, and Detective Anthony Parglietto is determined to end the violence. Then he’ll return to the man he loves.
Tough, street-savvy, and used to dealing with lowlifes, Flynn Parker is the last person Anthony thinks he has to protect. Then the Bow-Tie Killer strikes close to home and the world turns upside down. Right is wrong, black is white, and a policeman might become a monster. But in the name of love, justice must be served. In the name of love, pain can be endured. In the name of love, a man can taste the very essence that defines him.
Boroughs Publishing Group
All Romance Books
By the time he reads this, you’ll be mine. Inside and out. The words loomed eerily off the page as Flynn Parker re-read the message on the cream-coloured notepaper. It was seven p.m. on a chilly February evening. He’d gotten back into his basement flat in Chelsea after a sweaty and energetic game of squash at the gym. All he wanted to do was have a warm shower then wait for his boyfriend, Anthony, to arrive for a drink. They’d been together six months now and Flynn already knew he was in for the long haul. He had a fervent hope for tonight: that hot, raunchy animal sex would be on the menu and Anthony wouldn’t be too tired to participate. Flynn needed to alleviate some of the tension that still racked his body from the gym and the tough day he’d had at the newspaper with deadlines and angry interviewees. He hadn’t anticipated the official-looking cream envelope lying in wait in his hallway—an envelope that had obviously been slipped under the door. He frowned. Who the hell would send me something like this slipped under the bloody door? It’s so damn cloak and dagger. As an investigative crime journalist for a mid-sized independent newspaper, he was used to the weird things that life had to offer. He felt a frisson of unease trickle down his spine as he laid the note down on the kitchen top. As he busied himself making coffee, absorbed in the task, some small shadow to his left made him turn in curiosity. Something cold and acidic was pressed against his face. He struggled as he tried to take in air, but only gulped in the noxious fumes of whatever was being pressed against his nose. It happened so quickly that he had time only for a fleeting moment of terror before everything went dark. He awoke in blackness. His head felt stuffed with cotton wool. He could see nothing, feeling only the crinkle of something silky lying across his eyes. I must be blindfolded. At least I hope to shit that’s what it is and I haven’t actually gone blind. When he tried to move, he realised he was flat on his back on a rough, yielding but scratchy surface. He was cold, his skin prickling with goose bumps as cold air lapped at his body. He didn’t even want to think about what that might mean. His arms were stretched above his head, bound to something he couldn’t see.
Reviewed by Joanne Swinney for Joandisalovebooks
My rolling pin is now in the bin. Why you ask? Well you seriously need to read to find out.
This book was a little bit on the dark side but had a great story. I’m so used to boy meets girl or boy meets boy and live happily ever after that this book shocked me but in a good way. I could not put it down.
Anthony is a police detective and very good at his job. He has a very protective nature, extremely good looking and he’s Italian. YUMMY!!
The man in Anthony’s life is called Flynn another hottie. He’s a journalist and they are both completely in love with each other.
When a huge case that Anthony is working on starts to affect his personal life things go from bad to worse.
There is a killer on the loose and Flynn is in danger. Anthony will do everything he can to protect him and his friends.
People have lots of different views on the right course of punishment to fit each crime. Many believing in the justice system like Anthony’s partner at work Rupert. He reminds me of a bible basher, people that constantly preach.
However Anthony has his own views and it’s no secret what he’d like to see happen to these monsters that commit serious, disturbing and hateful crimes and I have to say I agree with Anthony.
There are quite a few characters in this book that I’d love to hear more about like Flynn’s ex boyfriend Kieran and their new friend Marshall. Both very loveable characters.
Overall this book was outstanding because the story was gripping. The research that writers need to do in order to give the reader the best account possible did not go unnoticed in this book.
Had to be 5 rolling stars, pun intended. I highly recommend this book to readers that love the M/M Genre but also love a gripping story.
Warning does contain scenes of abusive violence.
Once again I thank you Author Susan Mac Nicol for taking me on a journey of love, life and a serious killing spree.
Susan Mac Nicol is a self confessed bookaholic, an avid watcher of videos of sexy pole dancing men, self confessed geek and nerd and in love with her Smartphone. This little treasure is called ‘the boyfriend’ by her long suffering husband, who says if it vibrated, there’d be no need for him. Susan hasn’t had the heart to tell him there’s an app for that…
She is never happier than when sitting in the confines of her living room/study/on a cold station platform scribbling down words and making two men fall in love. She is a romantic at heart and believes that everything happens (for the most part) for a reason. She likes to think of herself as a ‘half full’ kinda gal, although sometimes that philosophy is sorely tested.
Lover of walks in the forest, theatre productions, dabbling her toes in the cold North Sea and the vibrant city of London where you can experience all four seasons in a day , she is a hater of pantomime (so please don’t tar and feather her), duplicitous people, bigotry and self righteous idiots.
In an ideal world, Susan Mac Nicol would be Queen of England and banish all the bad people to the Never Never Lands of Wherever -Who Cares. As that’s never going to happen, she contents herself with writing her HEA stories and pretending, that just for a little while, good things happen to good people.
Amazon Author Page