Ac´cent on Susan MacNicol

SUSAN AVY

Hello, there, SUSAN MAC NICOL. Do you mind if I get a little up close and personal. . . . Like asking you, for instance:

…What ten words do you think best describe you personally?

Driven, obssessive, impatient, selfish, quirky, humorous, geeky, loyal, tenacious, creative.

…Give us a thumbnail of your life—where you come from, where you grew up, your schooling, a few places you’ve worked—whatever paragraph you feel best encapsulates you as an individual.

I was born in the UK, but  I grew up in South Africa when my dad took a job in Johannesburg. I learned about apartheid, the difference between black and white people, and decided there and then everyone should have the same rights as everyone else. I was schooled in a government school, got a pass to University but couldn’t afford to go there. My first job was in Hillbrow, a highly populated metropolitan area of Johannesburg.  I was once picked up there as a prostitute (there is a story behind this, I promise) and lived in a  commune with a bunch of gay guys who sold drugs for a living. I was used to saying a friendly “hi” to the cops as they sat outside watching the house…

I worked in mostly car hire companies and recruitment agencies. Finally, in a vehicle leasing organization, I found an industry I enjoyed and made a career out of it. I clawed my way to the top in a very male oriented society filled with Afrikaans men, but I managed to gain their respect. Then my husband and I decided to move to the UK to give our young children a better chance at a future. And now, I’m a published writer doing what I love even while holding down a day job.

Hahaha, Susan, I love that bit about being in an all-male environment. In Abilene, Texas, I was the only female in a Dodge dealership, selling cars to good ol’ boys.

…Give us a quick look at your homoerotica novel or novels. 

I have one gay novel published, another one written and submitted to a publisher and am 20K words into my latest one. When I started writing, I had no idea this genre even existed. Then I wrote an erotic crime thriller called Born Human (which is still looking for a home) which had a bisexual serial killer as a main character. I needed to figure exactly how man sex worked and what a relationship between two men could be like. So, being an M/M virgin,  I did research, started reading a lot of M/M romances and got completely hooked. I found it much more fulfilling and entertaining than anything else.

After reading close to 150 books, I decided that I could write one myself. So I did . . . and Stripped Bare with Shane and Matthew was born.

I’m lucky to have gay men friends, also authors, who sense-checked my bedroom, kitchen, and shower scenes and pronounced them fit for purpose. I’d like to think I might have contributed to their sex lives in some way…

…Would you describe yourself first as a writer of gay themes/characters; or first as a writer, period, without limiting yourself to any sub-genre?

I wouldn’t limit myself to any genre, I simply write what I feel like writing. I have a published trilogy  (my Starlight series) which is M/F although has gay characters in it who grow as the series develops. I have another four books sitting with Boroughs, mostly M/F. But I enjoy writing M/M and will probably stick to this genre for the forseeable future.

…What is your opinion of exploring the angst of the gay lifestyle in your writing? Or do you write about characters who happen to be gay and whose sexual preference is not their most defining characteristic or even an important part of the story? Maybe some of both?

I know people talk about “tropes” prevalent in novel writing, and I suppose in gay lit it’s the same. The homophobic parent, the gay bashing, the stereotypes of gay polygamy, the angst in “coming out”..but this is real life, isn’t it? I don’t think my characters’ being gay is what holds the story together. It’s their personalities, their inner conflicts and weaknesses and their need for each other that drive the tale.  I also love humor—I think humor endears a reader to a couple’s story more than anything else.

I treat my stories as I would any relationship. My characters are monogamous to each other, love each other like anyone else would, face the same day to day problems like not having milk in the fridge, deciding what to wear, arguing over silly things. I do tend to feature homophobia in some of my books in one way or another just because I’m realistic and I think this happens and it also gives me great conflicts to tell the story around.

wildlife 300

An example of Susan’s sense of humor. Here’s a couple of wildass hippos in the game preserve close to her old home in Africa. Her husband takes a great snapshot.

My all-time favorite author is Josh Lanyon. He writes such tender, funny, quirky and incredibly rich stories with characters that make you feel as if you honestly want to be with them and grow with them. He also uses sex as a sub plot and not the main idea. It’s the relationship aspects that matter to him. And that to me is the crux of reading something I’ll go back and re-read. I want to know these people have feelings, fears, insecurities and strengths. I want to feel the wrench in my stomach when one of them gets hurt, cry when there’s sadness and laugh or chuckle my way through droll, sarcastic humour (which is my preference and which Josh does so well). Tom Webb is another such writer. Depth, feeling and great stories all wrapped around writing that makes you wish you’d written it. I’m not sure if there’s something about male writers that perhaps endears me to them seeing as how I’ve mentioned two of them as my top ones? Who can tell..

…What excites you most as a writer . . . exposing the tender side of a tough character? Being able to create unique individuals who grow and change like real people? Exploring the sexual nature of men and women? Tell all!

Simple answer is yes to all. I think I tend to make my characters have both tough and tender sides. I mean, I look at it as if I’m growing people in a petrie dish. I have the power to actually make someone. It gives you an incredibly Svengali-like sense of satisfaction to actually create characters in an image you think suits the story. And if you don’t like it, when you’re done you can go back and kill them off, change them, or create more drama in their lives.

…By the same token, what turns you off? What are the nuts-and-bolts part of writing that you’d rather skip, but that have to be confronted and conquered?

I find repetitive sex scenes boring. Some books I’ve read it’s almost gratuitous and I find it off-putting. I love sex scenes, don’t get me wrong, but constant moans of ‘I’m coming,” “I’m nearly there’,” “Oh, oh baby” make me turn the page until the action is finished. I’m also not too fond of flashbacks. I prefer my story to run along one time line unless the story absolutely demands a backwards or forwards in time.

church 450

Susan describes this as her writing inspiration— St Mary’s Church across from her house in Bocking, Essex. That’s England to us Yanks.

I have a couple of causes I’m passionate about. One is the right for a person to love who they want regardless of gender, religion, race, beliefs. The other is support for sexual abuse victims. Both have some deeply personal roots. Suffice it to say, I hate persecution of any kind and even wrote an anthology of poetry about it. So when I started reading M/M romances and found some heart wrenching stories in there, stories of victimization and hate, and then hope and acceptance, I wanted to write something that had the same threads weaving through it. I don’t profess to be a social activist but I support causes I think are right.

…Describe your proudest moment or crowning achievement.

It has to be the stereotypical call from the publisher saying they wanted to publish my book. It was so unexpected, and it was the culmination of a childhood dream. The family broke out the champagne and we celebrated ad nauseum.

… Please ask a question you’ve always wanted someone to ask you . . . and then answer it.

If you had the ideal life what would it be like? (Regardless of anyone’s feelings now or offending anyone like a husband…)

I’d have to say I’d have a gorgeous house in the country, with lakes and forests. I’d have a professional, powerful and adorably sexy man, not necessarily a husband, perhaps just a lover, who worshipped the ground I walked on. He’d be filthy rich, dominant in the bedroom and perhaps a little kinky. He’d take me all over the world with him, showing me all the sights, introducing me to rich and famous people, who would hang on my every word. I’d write best- selling books in the same genre as I do now and appear on TV and talk shows as an icon to the youth of today. I’d be a few stone lighter, intelligent and beautiful but I’d age gracefully.

Shallow, materialistic? You betcha.

My own favorite word, beyond a doubt, is an f-word, Susan. Tell me …

eff dark bground 450…What is your favorite f-word?

I like the word ‘fractious’ although I don’t use it that often. It’s so descriptive.

…And what is your quick, gut reaction to these f-words?

forbidden…  fruit

frustration… temper

foolish… clown

fractal… pattern

fake… handbag

fetish… leather

fear… heights

…Now sell a book. Give us a reason to buy it. Present an intro, then an excerpt (hot or not, your choice).

STRIPPED BARE

STRIP 3X5

Buy link:

http://www.amazon.com/Stripped-Bare-ebook/dp/B00E2YJYSY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1376030116&sr=8-1&keywords=stripped+bare

BLURB: Though two years past, Matthew Langer is still getting over the death of a loved one. He’s steered clear of serious relationships, but when he meets the irascible, dirty mouthed and tempestuous Shane Templar that decision has never been harder.

EXCERPT:

Matthew raised an eyebrow. “Are you with him tonight as a paid escort, or a free date?”

He knew even as he said the words that he’d gone too far. To be honest, he was ashamed at the words even as they left his mouth. Shane’s face went white as he stepped forward. For a moment, Matthew thought he was about to be smacked across the jaw. Instead, he found himself being pushed against the wall, Shane’s greedy lips finding his in a kiss that made him rock hard. Matthew couldn’t help himself. His lips parted involuntarily as Shane’s hungry tongue crept into his mouth, meeting his own as his body pressed against Matthew’s in sheer carnality. Matthew tasted whisky, mint and pure sex.

The younger man knew how to kiss. His lips were demanding and warm and his tongue definitely knew what it wanted. All sense of anything rational left him as the other man’s hips pushed against his. Matthew lost all breath in his body feeling Shane’s raging erection against his own. He groaned and gripped Shane’s blonde hair as he ground his mouth against the other man’s in a frenzy of sheer need and want. Shane’s hands were on his backside, gripping him fiercely, pulling their two bodies together.

Christ, he’s a great kisser. He must be total dynamite in bed. God, I want this man.

The thoughts were fleeting. Matthew found himself being released and the incredible sensations in his body were relieved somewhat as Shane pulled away.

The other man’s face was dark, his eyes stormy. His lower face was reddened from the roughness of Matthew’s chin, from the stubble that grew around his mouth. Shane’s voice was fierce when he spoke. “Is that what you wanted, Matthew? It certainly felt like you did.” He reached down and brushed Matthew’s groin. Matthew gasped.

“I’d say you want me. Why the hell are you so uptight about it? Be honest with yourself.”

Matthew couldn’t quite find his voice. He took a deep breath trying to calm down the emotions surging in his chest.

Shane watched him and then shrugged. His voice sounded disappointed when he next spoke. “Fine, then. You’ve had your chance. Twice. So don’t bloody well think I owe you anything.” He turned to walk back into the club.

“Shane, wait.” Matthew didn’t recognise his own voice. It was husky, needy, and not in control. “I’m sorry. That last comment was a cheap shot. You didn’t deserve it.”

Shane stood, his eyes watchful.

Matthew tried to formulate his words. “I’m not good at not being able to control situations. Sam used to tell me I was a control freak too.” He realised he’d invoked Sam’s name and saw Shane’s eyes narrow. One day he’d have to explain who Sam was. “Yes, I’m attracted to you, a lot. I’ve never had that experience before, so intense. I suppose I don’t really know what to do with it. And you’re younger than I’m used to.”

~∞~

Sue_glasses

Links

Personal website – www.susanmacnicol.com

Blog  http://susanmacnicol.wordpress.com/

Publisher http://www.boroughspublishinggroup.com/authors/susan-mac-nicol

Twitter – @SusanMacnicol7

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/susiemax77

Pinterest http://pinterest.com/susiemax777/

Linked in http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/susan-mac-nicol/48/a44/602

Google + url        https://plus.google.com/u/0/102650462108284468372/about

Author Page UK           http://amzn.to/T1lNF9

Author Page US           http://amzn.to/T1lMB4

Goodsread url   http://www.goodreads.com/Susiemax777

Book trailer    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ag-OQzQKhxo

Together in Starlight  –  http://animoto.com/play/xbFwI6SAmc8lk7fARus1tA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=uUaDR6fuvPw

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4 Responses to “Ac´cent on Susan MacNicol”

  1. Damn, Susan, I got a big kick out of having you on my blog. I, too, love humor and can find it darn near anywhere. And like you, I long for the equality among men (and women too) that too many people let slide by.

    I wish for your huge success. You write well, and you deserve it.

  2. Erin, it was a real honour to be featured here and thanks for your lovely comment. I find humour makes all things bearable and it certainly makes life lighter 🙂 We should all aspire to be just that little bit funny…

  3. Woot! another sterling interview. And if that ideal life/man has an older brother? Um, just saying. and yet another book goes on the TBR list. Well done.

  4. Lovely! Another Susan, another believer in equality, another M/M writer! Brilliant. And as Diane says, another book for the TBR list. (Susan, hint: add both Erin and Diane/Nya Rawlyns to your favorite authors list.)

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