Author Spotlight: Susan Mac Nicol

Today my Author Spotlight guest is the wonderful Susan Mac Nicol who joined me to talk about her favourite tropes of soul mates and emotional trauma, what she’s working on right now and getting started in novels by writing a screenplay.

Over to you Susan…

First things first, please introduce yourself!
My name is Susan Mac Nicol, I live in the UK (where most of my books are set) and I write M/M romance novels. It’s a genre I adore (I’ve written M/F too) and the gay romance genre is where I see myself spending most of my time.

Tell us a little bit about your writing style.
I guess every writer has their own ‘voice’ and mine tends to be relaxed, with lots of dialogue, which I love writing. I hope to always inject realism into every tale I tell, and make sure my characters are people you could meet on the street, and be comfortable with.

Describe your books in only three words.
Humorous. Edgy. Sensuous.

What’s your next book about and when is it coming out?
I’m currently writing a snarky tale of a zoologist/zookeeper and a supernatural being – a Djinn. It’s a funny, romantic story of how Daliel (the Djinn) manages to complicate and enrich Sullivan’s life at the same time. It’s called ‘Rubbing One Out.’ 

Out of all your books, which one are you most proud of?
I think Living on Air. It took the longest to write, and the research was a lot of fun. I stayed with a circus for 3 days, in an old circus caravan, and had back scene access to all the performers and the ins and outs of circus life. This book also won the Bronze Award from Readers Favorite Book Awards, chosen from thousands of submissions.

What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer?
I read loads of Mills and Boons when I was a kid, and seemed to get the bug for soppy romances. I also read James Hadley Chase and Charles Dickens. Now I read other MM authors, urban fantasy, horror and thrillers. I don’t think any one writer has influenced me. I tend to take bits away from all the authors I read. Stephen King is my favourite ever author, though.

What inspired you to start writing?
Oooh there’s a leading question lol. Ok. Here goes. I watched Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch. I fell in love with the Batch and wanted to write a screenplay (a romance) for him to play the main character in. I figured that would be the only way I’d ever get to meet or see him in person. So I began writing a romantic script about an older woman and younger man (modelled on BC as an actor) It was hard to write a screenplay off the bat so then I decided I’d write a novel first, and then convert to a screenplay. (Are you all still with me?)

So I wrote the novel, didn’t think it was too bad, thought I’d have more kudos if I had a book published first before tackling the screenplay, so sent the MS to one publisher (Boroughs)  just starting out. I figured I’d take a chance on them and they might take a chance on me. They did and I’ve not looked back since.

What’s your writing process like? Do you have a typical “writing day”?
There’s no typical writing day for me. I find the time to write in between other things and try and put a certain amount of hours aside for full on writing. I don’t plot anything, I simply sit down and start creating my story.

What comes first for you – the plot or the characters?
The plot.  I’ll think of something and decide, Ooh that sounds as if it could be a great story, then develop everything else around that.

What’s a book that you wish you’d written?
I’m a HUGE fan of the Val McDermid series, Wire in the Blood. I wish I’d got the talent to write books like these.

If you could only write one trope for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Probably soul mates and past emotional trauma. It’s one I enjoy writing about, having two people meet up and realise as the relationship progresses that they complement each other. I love the whole redemption idea in tortured souls finally being to love someone.

What would be your three desert island books?
The Stand by Stephen King, any one of Phil Rickman’s books, and Dracula by Bram Stoker.

If one of your books could be made into a movie/TV series, which would you choose and who would you cast?
Oh, this one’s easy. As I’ve already got the screenplay written for Sight Unseen, with my co writer Nicholas Downs, actor and producer, it would be this one. Nicholas would play the part of Nate and Eric Christian Olsen would be Cody.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Do you have a secret passion or hobby that we don’t know about?
I have a two day full time job in the Financial Services industry, as well as a few compliance consultancy projects as well where I work from home. So when I’m not writing, I’m busy working on these. My passion has always been writing 🙂

Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur?
Triceratops. They look awesome!!

SUSAN MAC NICOL writes steamy, sexy and fun contemporary romance stories, some suspenseful, some gritty and dark and hopefully always entertaining. She lives in her dream home, a cute thatched cottage in the Essex UK countryside.

She’s also Editor in Chief at Divine Magazine, an online LGBTQ e-zine, and a member of The Society of Authors, the Writers Guild of Great Britain, and the Authors Guild in the US. Susan is also an award-winning script writer, with scripts based on two of her own published works. Sight Unseen has garnered no less than seven awards to date and her TV pilot, Reel Life, based on her debut novel, Cassandra by Starlight, was also a winner at the Oaxaca Film Fest. 

She loves going to the theatre, live music concerts (especially if it’s her man crush Adam Lambert or the divine Cumberbatch) walks in the countryside, a good G and T, lazing away afternoons reading a good book, and watching re-runs of Silent Witness.

You can find Susan on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Bookbub and her website, plus you can sign up for her newsletter. You can also join Susan’s Facebook Group, which she shares with some other fabulous British authors, Talking RoMMance… with a British Accent.

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Susan Mac Nicol joins me to talk about her favourite tropes of soul mates and emotional trauma, what she's working on right now and getting started in novels by writing a screenplay.