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Susan Mac Nicol: Using Own Experiences in Your Stories

By Kat @ ARe on April 26th, 2014

Please welcome Susan Mac Nicol to AReCafe! Please enter her drawing below.

Writers are always told to draw on their own personal experiences in order to write a good book. I don’t really subscribe to this way of thinking. I’m sure Ursula Le Guin didn’t draw on her experience of meeting any sorcerers or dragons when she wrote Earthsea. It’s imagination that makes a good story -imagination, creativity, research and a good story teller. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use something if we think it can make an impact or it gives passion to our work.

In some of my books I have drawn on past experiences and personal beliefs to give some really personal insight. My Starlight series, featuring Bennett Saville and Cassie Wallace, was one of the stories where a lot of me came through. Cassie was modelled to some extent on my views and character (not looks though, she’s much prettier) and her steadfast views and common sense nature echoes my own. She dabbled in Wicca as I do, has firm views on expensive weddings and there were other more personal elements of her that mirrored events in my own life as a young girl. Bennett was the digital manifestation of my huge fan girl crush on Benedict Cumberbatch, so all my fantasies and ‘tongue hanging out’ crushes were played out in this book.

In Worth Keeping, my passion for trying to champion the cause of children who have suffered sexual abuse and neglect was mirrored in the creation of Nick Mather’s character, and his life as a childhood prostitute, forced into this by his own mother.

In Waiting for Rain, I drew on the experiences of a very close friend and their time in foster care, as they had a rough time, similar to what Toby experienced. Rain hailed from a country I lived in for thirty years, South Africa, and hailed from Natal where my folks had a hotel. The weekend I spent in Stamford visiting a friend inspired the setting for the book.

I can’t really say that I had the relevant S and M experience that Alex Montgomery had in Saving Alexander but I can reveal that as a writer hoping to meet his all time favourite crush in Christopher Sage, I have the same intense desire to do the same thing with Benedict Cumberbatch i.e. have a film or TV series made into a book so he can play the character of Bennett Saville. After all, Bennett was inspired by him. One interesting snippet on this – I actually approached Benedict’s agent with my one hour episode screen play of Cassandra by Starlight and they came back and told me if I ever got the film deal together, they’d look at casting Benedict as Bennett! He’s looking for a great romantic lead at the moment. I thought that was a great result. So now I just need someone to make the film or TV series – anyone interested? Call me. We’ll do lunch.

So there you have it. Some of my personal experiences translated into fiction, some little bit of myself forever immortalised in a story. That’s the writer ego for you. 🙂



DoubleAlchemy_FINALAbout Double Alchemy

Powerful yet tormented modern warlock Quinn Fairmont must initiate the silver-eyed Cade Mairston into the world of witchfinders, Withinners, and what can happen when two men fall truly, madly, deeply in love.


In modern London there lurks a warlock, Quinn Fairmont. Dangerous, powerful, tortured, sharing his body with the soul of an ancient Welsh sorcerer, Quinn is never alone—and never wholly himself. He fights against all those who would exploit his kind. He takes pleasure where he can find it.

In the forest of Hampstead Heath, Quinn’s hometown, Cade Mairston appears to him like a waking dream. Lithe, lean and silver-eyed, he evokes feelings in Quinn unlike any other: lust with true affection, immediate and shocking. Cade is clearly more than he seems. And yet, if a man of the world, Cade is innocent. He knows nothing of warlocks, witchfinders or Withinners. He knows nothing of what he is, what he might be, or what he might feel. For him, the story is just beginning. Magyck, peril and passion await.

Praise for Double Alchemy

“I love Paranormal stories & I’m a huge fan of Susan Mac Nicol’s M/M books. In this book, she brings both genres together & gives us this amazing story. With her master storytelling, she takes us into the mystical & magical world of Witches, Warlocks, Withinners & Feys. A world where danger lurks in the shadows.” – Maria Recchia

“I stayed up all night reading this story. Susan has a way of writing that is different than anyone else. She’s uniquely brilliant at weaving a tale that brings out my emotions. I have laughed in every one of her stories. That’s incredible for me. Not just a smile, but a laugh. I love that. This book needs to be read. You won’t be disappointed.” – Author Kindle Alexander

Praise for Susan Mac Nicol

“We have to re-iterate that this Author will always be an automatic one-click for us. Her writing is flawless and her flawed characters are completely lovable. There’s always something quirky and fun in her stories as well as drama, angst and heaps of passion! We can highly recommend!!” – Gitte & Jenny – Totally Booked Blog

“Susan has been hailed as a genius writer of male/male literature. Her Saving Alexander has been nominated for several awards and has been reviewed widely. Congrats on all your success, Susan. You have earned it.” – Gay Lit Authors

About Susan Mac Nicol

Susan Mac Nicol was born in Leeds, UK, and left for South Africa when she was eight. She returned to the UK thirty years later and now lives in Essex. Her debut novel Cassandra by Starlight, the first in a trilogy, was published last year by Boroughs Publishing Group in the US. Sue’s latest story, Double Alchemy is her fifth m/m romance.

Sue has written since she was very young, and never thought she would see herself becoming a Romance writer, being a horror/psychological thriller reader all her life. But the Romance genre is now something very close to her heart and she intends continuing the trend.

Sue is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Romantic Novelists Association here in the UK.

Susan Mac Nicol is also author of The Magick of Christmas, Confounding Cupid, Cassandra by Starlight, Together in Starlight, Stripped Bare, Saving Alexander, Worth Keeping and Waiting for Rain.

Social Links: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest

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4 Responses to Susan Mac Nicol: Using Own Experiences in Your Stories

  1. Enjoy M/M stories… it was wonderful to learn about Susan Mac Nicol and her books!

  2. Thanks so much once again Kat and ARe Cafe for showcasing me and my book here on your beautiful site. It’s always such a pleasure being here 🙂

  3. Thanks for the kind words Colleen! I hope you enjoy reading them if they take your fancy 🙂

  4. Profile photo of Paula Ford Paula Ford says:

    I would like to read this book because it sounds like it is a really good book! I like the m/m books because they usually have good romance without being really mushy!

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