I have to say that the one part I’ve really enjoyed about writing books is the research bit.

Take my first book, an M/F story called Cassandra by Starlight. I knew this was going to be a romance novel about an older woman and younger man, but I wanted it to be more than the sum of its parts. I hummed and hawed on an idea I had (based on a story I read online) and did some research on the topic of female on male rape. When I saw how controversial it was, I decided it had to go in the book somehow.  My poor leading man was subject to some violent sexual abuse and that book topic has sparked off a path for me that I never thought I would tread. I’ll tell you more about that later. Suffice it to say that I think this debut novel led me into where I am now and what I was meant to be doing.

Overwhelmingly, the area into which I was drawn into because of researching and using something in my book is the rights of male sexual abuse survivors, and the issues they face in telling their stories.

People like the wonderful James Landrith, whose story was the inspiration behind the rape scene in my book. You can read about James and my book here.

More Than A Love Story: Cassandra By Starlight – Official Website of James Landrith

My first foray into the world of erotic M/M crime fiction was called Love and Punishment. This led me on a journey of discovery into the world of bisexual men, police procedures, the topic of retributivism and the punishment fitting the crime, and the adage ‘an eye for an eye’ when it comes to meting out justice. Some are again controversial subjects, underpinned by human rights –or, if the main male protagonist in my book, Anthony Parglietto, gets his way, the lack of them.

And now I have my niche in the world of writing gay male romance, a genre enjoyed by mainly straight women all over the world if the stats are to be believed. The fascination with this genre started when I was researching for Love and Punishment for my bisexual, psychopathic serial killer. I needed to write some sexy scenes so of course, research was needed…I knew a little bit about how it was all done but obviously not enough from what I discovered.

For Saving Alexander I had to research the world of cults, S and M practices, Stockholm Syndrome and sexual domination both emotionally and physically. It was a lot of fun and I now know 101 uses for a flogger and handcuffs along with other assorted paraphernalia that I won’t mention in a family friendly guest post.  My poor web browser didn’t know what hit it and if any of my family had seen me researching some of the material, they’d have died on the spot. Thank God I have my very own password protected laptop that no one else is allowed to use.



I found I enjoyed it so much I branched out into reading more in the male/male romance genre and I was hooked. The rest is history. To write Living On Air, I joined a circus. Yup. A real-life French circus called Santus Circus. They were kind enough to give me a small caravan to stay in (no running water, toilet didn’t flush, and it was as cold as the proverbial witch’s tit) but it all added to the realism. They were impeccable hosts, allowing me access to every performer and backstage to get the atmosphere for the book.

For Worth Keeping, I visited a light house in Cromer on the Norfolk coast (where the book was set) and joined the maintenance team as they did their yearly inspection.

When I wrote Sight Unseen, I had to learn two things. One, how it felt to be blind, and two, what it felt like to sculpt. So, a good friend of mine who is blind came to visit me, and I took lessons from her on being non-sighted. I also joined a pottery class and created some very dodgy clay pots.

Rubbing One Out is about a cranky zookeeper with a thing for penguins, and a sassy, snarky djinn. I booked a day out at Colchester Zoo and became zookeeper for the day in the penguin enclosure.

So, let that research rip if you fancy writing a book, and get the most out of it. You won’t be disappointed.

PS I did another blog post on the particular joys of said research here if you fancy a quick trawl through Tumblr 😊 http://susanmacnicol.tumblr.com/post/49946452694/oh-how-the-world-turns-research-serves-its-purpose

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