Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name.
Susan Mac Nicol
Fiona: Where are you from?
I was born in Yorkshire, in the UK
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
When I was eight, my family left the UK to go live in South Africa. I was brought up there, educated to University degree equivalent and started working when I was sixteen. I would have loved to go to university but alas, there was no money to do that and SA doesn’t have funding like the UK has. I met the man who’d become my husband, got married, had two kids- a boy and a girl – then left in 2000 to come back to the UK. Hubby and I have married 35 years. We now live in Essex, in a beautiful thatched country cottage with our dog, Blu. The kids have grown up and moved into their own homes.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
In terms of writing, I’m currently finishing the next book, book 3, in my Fetish Alley series. This is a spin off series from the Men of London featuring the characters in Feat of Clay, which was book 4 in the MOL series. Fetish Alley is a detective series, set in the rather unusual London alley which caters to the bizarre and the erotic.
I’m submitting a screen play called Sight Unseen, which I co-wrote with actor Nicholas Downs in LA, to festivals and so far this script has won six awards. We’d love to get the film made but it’s a long, laborious task.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve been writing since I was a child, got my first typewriter when I was eleven and haven’t stopped. I still have all the material I wrote stuffed in a folder in the cupboard. I started writing commercially in 2012 when I published my first book with Boroughs Publishing, an M/F story called Cassandra by Starlight. I now write MM, but am looking at mixing this up soon and writing a cozy mystery story.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve always been a writer since I could read and write, and in my childhood I wrote poems and short stories. All that happens now is I get paid for writing these stories 😊
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Benedict Cumberbatch!! No word of a lie. I fell in love with him watching Sherlock, the TV series. I wanted one. The only way to get one was to write a character like him, so I did 😊 My debut novel Cassandra by Starlight is about a young, up and coming actor called Bennett Saville living in London and working in film and theatre
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The heroine’s name is Cassandra, starlight could be stars in the eyes, a star in the making, and the word play made sense.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I LOVE writing dialogue and it’s probably a strength of mine. I like realism in my books so I try to make my characters and backgrounds as close to real life as I can.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I think every writer puts a little bit of themselves into each story they write, whether it be a physical trait, a mental one or something they believe. I do tend to do this but youll have to guess what’s true and what’s not 😊
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I travel a lot for research purposes. I’ve been to Norfolk to visit a lighthouse (Worth Keeping), Hampstead Heath to check out the ponds (Double Alchemy), lived in a circus in Romford (Living on Air) and been all over London to various locales for other books. I’ve travelled to Stamford and stayed in a quaint pub (Doubting Hearts). And I’ve been to LA (Sight Unseen) So I do tend to get around a bit.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My publisher Boroughs Publishing Group design all my covers but I have a huge say in what they look like and they are very accommodating.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
My own personal message that runs through all my books is live and let live. I believe in people being themselves, not having to hide who they are and simply enjoying life how they choose.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
I love a lot of genres, MM, urban fantasy, horror, paranormal, thrillers, detective works etc. The one writer I’ve discovered in the MM genre is the talented Gregory Ashe, whose books I devour. I’m a huge fan of Phil Rickman and his Merrily Watkins supernatural books, and Stephen King.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one person that supported your commitment to become a published author.
The biggest supporter of my work is my publisher and in particular, the CEO, Michelle Klayman. She’s not only my editor, and my publisher, she’s my friend and she has stood by me when I’m having a crisis and slapped my arse when I’m being all diva like. She’s dug me out of many a crisis of faith event LOL.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Writing for me is a career and a business. For some it’s a hobby, others, an outlet for creative leanings.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Not really, I don’t think it was too bad 😊
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
That I have a dark and wicked sense of humour and love sass and snark in my characters.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Sight Unseen is the book I’d love to see made into a film and there’s no question who would play the part of Nathan. It would be Nicholas Downs as the part was written for him.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Oh hell, so much. Don’t drink coffee while you’re re-reading the funny bit of your book. It makes a mess all over the keyboard. Always make sure on having refreshments on hand because writing is a thirsty business. Never write without chocolate at least in arm’s reach. Oh and actual writing advice? It’s simply, write what you want to, and keep writing. Those books don’t write themselves.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I love them! Love, love them. They’ve made this whole writing journey possible and it’s their support that I appreciate the most. It sounds cheesy but it’s a real truth for me.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Currently I’m reading The Making of Gabriel Davenport by British author Beverley Lee. It’s a horror and dark fantasy story and I’m loving it.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I do. It was Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens. My dad was a huge Dickens fan and he had this ratty old copy of the book he carried everywhere with him. He’d read it to me and I’d read along.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I have a weird sense of humour and I love the dark, sarcastic version. I can’t abide toilet or slapstick humour. I’ve been known to giggle away at something my poor husband for the life of him can’t find anything funny in.
As for crying, I don’t do it a lot, call it the stubborn Capricorn streak in me that hates showing emotion. I cried though when Kerchak the gorilla died in Tarzan.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Edgar Allan Poe. He’s a fascinating character, a favourite writer of mine and I think to spend an evening with him finding out what made him tick would be incredible.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I like spending time in the garden, creating beds and watching things grow. I love going to the theatre and watching the brilliant shows we have in London. In the past, I’ve done glass painting and Fimo clay modelling. I like anything creative.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Anything involving the occult, like Poltergeist and The Exorcist. Cop shows like Chicago PD, and Blue Bloods, medical dramas like The Good Doctor and popular shows like CSI, NCIS etc. I can’t stand reality TV of any kind, even music shows like X Factor.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Hamburgers, with onions, cheese and bacon. Yum. Bacon sandwiches. Chocolate.
Colours – purple and blue shades
Music- I’m into rock and alternative so Rag and Bone Man, Foo Fighters, The Killers, Halsey, Adam Lambert of course, Queen, 80’s hits… I’m also a huge fan of classical music, Tchaikovsky being my favourite composer.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I’d read LOL. Sit out in the garden, with my books and get lost in them.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
With family, having a BBQ, enjoying them for the last time.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
My hubby has already picked this. ‘She did it her way.’
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
The official stuff
Susan writes steamy, sexy and fun contemporary romance stories, some suspenseful, some gritty and dark and hopefully always entertaining. 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 five 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.
The ‘unofficial’ stuff…
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.
Her chequered past includes stories like being mistaken for a prostitute in the city of Johannesburg, being chased by a rhino on a dusty Kenyan road, getting kicked out of a youth club for being a ‘bad influence’ (she encourages free thinking) and having an aunt who was engaged to Cliff Richard 😊
If you are in the UK Susan Mac Nicol will be at The ShiMMer MM UK Author Event on the 22 .2 20 in Birmingham for more info go to the FB Page shimmer Attendees Group