I'm super-thrilled to host today's guest and her new release. In fact, I'm so thrilled that at the time you read this, I'm probably hiding in a quiet corner to read that book. But before you get to peek at it, here's the interview with the author, the wonderful Susan MacNicol!
The business ones
Please give us a short introduction about yourself
An obsessive, driven, stubborn, pain in the arse, creative, loyal, quirky, humorous individual. The key word being ‘individual’. I don’t like labels. I think everyone should be exactly who they want to be in life -no hiding, no shame and no pressure to be something they’re not. And stuff anyone who thinks otherwise. I think that sums me up admirably.
What genre(s) do you write in and why?
I write contemporary romance /suspense. Most of my books have an element of intrigue, danger and violence. I started out writing M/F romance with gay characters in them and now find myself totally drawn to writing solely M/M. It’s become a bit of an addiction, caused in no small part by your books, Sage. (I think I own most of them now.) I started reading M/M when I did some research for an erotic crime thriller I’ve written called Born Human. I have a bisexual serial killer in this one and needed to see ‘eh-hem’ how things worked. So what started out as ‘research’ (stop rolling those eyes, everyone, it really did) turned into a real desire to continue reading these books and finally to write my own. (I’ve since been told by a fellow author that if I continue with more of my ‘research ‘online, I might go blind. I’ll chance it.) Ah, research... *nods* No worries, you won't go blind... ~Sage
Tell us about Stripped Bare, which has just released today
Stripped Bare is my first M/M romance. It tells the story of the irrepressible Shane Templar, escort and master hacker, who meets the sexy but brooding and reserved solicitor, Matthew Langer. They’re bought together by a shared event and there is a definite spark. Or flare rather…
It’s what I call ‘techno sexy’, contemporary, set in London, with elements of passion, romance and violence that brings heart break and an awareness that love is not something to be thrown away because sometimes you could lose it forever. It is pretty sexy, someone in the M/M writing game even called it ‘dirty’ and I like that description….
Do you need a special setting to write in or do you have a ceremony to get you in the mood? What does it look like?
I’d like to say I have a bevy of half-naked men parading around bringing me everything my heart desires, from chocolate to wine to a comfy, elasticated pair of jeans to wear when I over indulge. But that would be a lie. Instead I sit on my couch, in the lounge, with my laptop. I have a study but I prefer to work amongst the chaos and frenetic activity of my family – husband, two grown kids, one kid’s boyfriend, and a hyper active dog. If I retired to the study each night when I got home to write, my family would never see me. At least this way I can interact a little, even thought my daughter has a saying ‘don’t poke the bear’ when I’m writing. But I do try and be a little sociable.
Describe your feelings when you learnt that your first book was accepted for publication
I was gob smacked. I honestly submitted Cassandra by Starlight in April last year not really thinking it would get anywhere. I’ve never written a full novel before and have only dabbled at writing until coming up with the inspiration for this one. So when Chris Keeslar, Editor in Chief at Boroughs Publishing Group, emailed me back on my hopeful query as to whether they were considering it, and said ‘Yes’ I was truly astounded. My editor, Jill Limber, then sent me a very politely worded email saying they would take it on, but it needed a lot of ‘work’ on my formatting and I just said ‘I’ll do anything you want.’ Family and I broke out the champagne. I couldn’t announce it on any social networking sites because I didn’t have any then. And just over a year later, here I am.
Has the release of your first book changed anything in your personal life? If so, what?
It’s changed the way I feel about social networking. Before I had something to promote, I pooh-poohed the whole thing, thinking it was a crock of nonsense. Now I think very differently. It’s a gem if used wisely. I’ve come into contact and met some incredible people and done things I would never have dreamed of. Some online buddies have become actual real friends. I’ve been interviewed by local newspapers. I’ve been on a radio show. I’ve done book plate signing at libraries. I sometimes get a free beer in the local pub because the lady owner loves my books. Life is truly good.
Where do you find inspiration?
For my first book it was a random event in my home town that sparked off the idea of a suicide flinging himself off a motorway bridge and injuring a woman in the car travelling underneath. For the rest, I don’t really know. The ideas just come to me. I gnaw at it like a bone then come up with the story and the characters. I’m very random. A book I’ve just submitted to a publisher, called ‘Waiting for Rain’ features pole dancing, farms, haystacks and sheep and my next one will have penguins and Genies in it. I don’t have a bloody clue where it all comes from.
Who is your favourite character and why?
My favourite character has to be Bennett Saville from my debut novel Cassandra by Starlight. He was my first. He was inspired by my personal fan crush, Benedict Cumberbatch, a fact for which I show no shame. Everyone knows I’m crazy about the guy. I wanted a Cumberbatch but he wouldn’t have me, so instead I created my own version so I could do what I like with him. Sorry, I meant to him…Bennett is sarcastic, sexy, intelligent, witty, sophisticated and pretty tough. I just love his wicked sense of humour.
A favourite line from one of your books.
This is from Cassandra by Starlight, the story of Bennett and Cassie.
“Ah. A Chihuahua. Is it true that Chihuahuas love sunbathing?” asked Bennett with genuine interest. “I read about one once that was so fond of the sun it used to have regular sessions booked at a tanning salon.”
Your favourite drink and food when writing – tea, coffee, Coke.
I’m a fan of savoury so a pork pie, sausage roll or packet of crisps is my kind of writing comfort food.
The nosy ones
How much of the real “you” is in your stories?
There is a lot of me in Cassie. She’s modelled on me and some of the experiences that she had, I’ve had. The car accident, the shattered femur, the Wicca, the views she has. There are a couple of others too but I’m not telling. You’ll have to guess.
Who is your least favourite of the characters you’ve written? Why?
It would have to be Bennett’s stalker, Laura Mancini. She was a real crazy bitch, a nasty bit of work and I was glad when she got her come-uppance.
The steamiest scene from your books
The first time Bennett and Cassie make love after their date was fairly hot and then there was the one scene in the theatre when Bennett tricks Cassie into wearing a certain dress he had his eye on. Stripped Bare has some fairly scorching ones too which made me hot writing them.
Favourite comfort food?
Sausage rolls, pies, crisps, pizza. I’ll do anything for them.
A person you admire
They’re all men and they’ve all been victims of sexual abuse. They’ve been courageous in coming forward and telling their stories. So James Landrith, Stephen Hill and Joe Leistman are all good choices. I’m involved with certain groups and causes and fighting for male sexual abuse victims to be heard is one of them. I’m currently co-writing an auto biography with Joe based on his life story. He dictates the material, I transcribe and try and form into a cohesive whole. He was abused for three years by a Scoutmaster when he was thirteen. If you know anything about the Boy Scout Perversion Files scandal in the US, then you’ll have an idea of just how wide spread this was.
If you could ask any person in the world one question of your choice, who would it be and what would you ask them?
I could be all predictable here and say I’d ask Benedict Cumberbatch to come home with me, but perhaps I should choose someone else. Eminem perhaps on how he got where was, as he’s a source of fascination to me, both his music and his life.
I never would've expected you to ask Benedict to... Anyway, let's look at
The fast ones
Favourite colour? Purple
Favourite pet? Polar bear. I want one.
So does my daughter. Maybe you can have shared custody of one... ~S
Dog or cat? Dog
Coffee or tea? Coffee
Quickie or candles? Candles
Hunky or chunky? Hunky. Chunky is for chocolate.
Suit & tie or jeans & boots? Suit and tie, but if it’s just the jeans and boots, and he has a really good torso, I might have difficulty deciding…
Walk in the park or chat over cocktails? Chat over cocktails
Thanks for the interview, Sue. Let's look at your book now! (Well, I have been looking already, but it's time to introduce it to the visitors)
Buy link: http://www.boroughspublishinggroup.com/books/stripped-bare
More books by Susan: http://www.boroughspublishinggroup.com/authors/susan-mac-nicol
About the author:
Born in England, then parents left to go and live in Johannesburg, SA when I was eight. I lived there for close on thirty years, got married, had kids then in Dec 2000 we relocated back to England. I live in a county called Essex, just outside London, in a rural area. There's a really beautiful old Norman church across the road, which has very loud bells which chime every hour every night every day of the year....
I work in the beautiful city of Cambridge doing boring 'compliance' stuff, and spend all my time at home writing and networking. I'm a member of Romance Writers of America and Romance Novelists Association in the UK.
Susan's website: www.susanmacnicol.com Blog http://susanmacnicol.wordpress.com