Susan Mac Nicol Interview Published on: 06, Oct 2016

Tell us about your life and your struggles.

Like everyone else I have personal issues to deal with, and overcome. I try not to let them impact negatively and I count the good things rather than the bad. I’m a half full kind of person, preferring to see the positive in things.

How passionate are you about writing?

Very much OCD, lol and certainly it’s the one thing in my life that I own completely and can mould it the way I want it. I’m completely in love with the thought of putting words on paper, or screen, for people to read.

How long have you been writing and what inspired you to become a writer?

I’ve been writing since I was eight years old, but only started looking at writing for publication in 2012. As I said before, I’m in love with words and storytelling and to me it wasn’t a case of being inspired -it was wondering why other people weren’t doing it. It seems so natural to me, part of who I am.

How did you get the idea for your first book?

I watched the TV series Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch. I developed a crush on him, and decided the best way to get close to him and make him do my bidding (hahaha) was to write a character inspired and modelled on him. That sounds rather stalkerish and weird, but it’s how it happened.

While choosing a name for your character, what aspects do you consider that determines what you finally call them?

My characters don’t reflect their appearance or anything in their personality. I simply choose random names I like, or hear of in strange ways, like on a tube train, and that works.

Do authors in general and you in particular plan series beforehand or do they just happen?

I can’t speak for others but I write each book as it comes to me. I have no plan when I start the first book as to what the next one will be. The story develops with the characters sneaking into my mind, and based on them making their voice heard, I decide to write the next tale about them

How do you choose which stories to tell?

I tend to naturally gravitate to stories that mean something to me or have a personal connection. For Waiting for Rain for example, I won a weekend away in Stamford. When I got there and saw the quaint hotel and the beautiful town, I decided to write about two men living there, and falling in love.

Do you ever get writer’s block?

Of course. I get to a point in a story where I’m not sure what I’m doing, or decide what I need to write next. I get to a scene where I have no idea how I’m going to progress it.I don’t have writer’s block when it comes to plot bunnies or stories I want to write. I have too many of those.

Do you have a “reader” in mind while writing?

Myself. I write what I like to read. Relationship stories about two men finding their place with each other, with some hot, sensuous and steamy bits in between, all culminating in a happy ending. I write my stories for me first, then if someone else enjoys it too, that’s a bonus.

Who is the first person to read the first draft of your books?

I have a wonderful alpha squad of readers I trust to give me their honest opinions. Sometimes I may not like what I hear, and that’s fine. That’s their job, not to tell me what I want to hear from them, but what I need to hear. Then it’s my decision to make whether I listen to the advice, take it on board, adapt it or ignore it altogether.

How do you get reviews?

I guess I’m like anyone else out there. I write the book, publish it and wait for people who enjoyed it to write a review. I may have a blog tour where the bloggers taking part do one, and I stress it always needs to be honest. If it’s a one-star review, so be it. I try encourage people to leave reviews but it is tough. Readers have limited time, as do other authors and the genre is huge, so reviewers have to prioritise what they want to leave a review for. Reviews are also welcome, but we can’t demand them, only gently remind people now and then 

What does the word “story” signify for you?

To me, a story can be anything told or written. It can as long as it wants- be two sentences saying a lot, or a longer piece telling a whole relationship tale, or a short extract. For me, it needs to be fictional, well told and engage the listener or reader. A story needs to elicit emotional response of all sorts and make the person listening or reading buy into it.

Do you think an author should be bound by genre?

Certainly not. Writers should write whatever they feel makes them happy and what they’ll do justice to. It doesn’t matter whether you are a M/M author now wanting to write M/F, or someone who write detective stories wanting to write sci-fi. Of course, the marketing towards each genre you write for should be adapted accordingly, with decisions being made as to whether use different pen names or other specifics to identify the variety of your work. There are the commercial aspects to think of when trying to sell books in a different genre, under a new name.

Are you currently working on anything?

I’m currently working on a few things. I’ve just written a novel about a blind sculptor, that title is called Sight Unseen. The intention with this one and my co-collaborator, Nicholas Downs, (he’s an actor in LA) is to develop a screen play based on the full length story I’ve written (which was based on an original idea from Nicholas) and then try get the screen play to film. I’m also working on the ninth Men of London book, Survival Game. This is based on characters from my last book, Hard Climate, which introduced Eric Kirby, a paramedic and Kyle Tripper, night cub manager and ex casino operator. I also intend getting back into a story I’ve already started, called Living on Air, and which is about a rather troubled aerialist in a circus meeting a war photographer. Carey and Rhys’ story needs telling and I’m dying to get back into it.

Do you have a special time or place for writing?

I write wherever I can, whenever I can. I generally wait until I’m home from work, then write into the late night. Weekends are great to do this too, as are my Fridays off. I find I like noise around me when I write, so I’m not fond of shutting myself away in a quiet study. I write in my dining room or lounge, with the TV blaring, and people popping by.

How do you promote your work? How will QuotesRain help you in your book promotion and sales, would you like to refer this platform to your author friends?

I’ve spent the last four years getting my name out there, building my author brand and learning more about social networking than I ever wanted to know. I’ve immersed myself in projects and events that help me towards this, and befriended like-minded people who know what it’s like to be a writer. Of course, any promotional platform is welcome to help me and QuotesRain is no exception. Every tiny bit of promotion or visibility I get is worth it, no matter how small. And yes, of course I’d recommend this platform to people, I already have.

Would you like to share something with your readers and fans?

I’d simply like to say I love the way my life has changed since I started writing. The world has become a much more interesting place and I’ve done things I’d never have dreamed of doing, like living in a circus for a few days. I’m also humbled by the wonderful things my readers have to say about my books. I appreciate every positive comment that gives me faith I’m doing the right thing. The reader base is such a rich resource of support and I’d like to thank each and every one of them. To the bloggers that support authors, thank you too. You are the unsung heroes to the authors you promote. To readers and bloggers alike, without you all, we’d not enjoy the work we do as much.

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