Spicing things up for the ultimate glamour-soaked read – Nigel May

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By Nigel May

I write blockbusters. Books like the late, great Jackie Collins. Action-packed sagas like those by Shirley Conran, Tasmina Perry, Victoria Fox. They are called poolside reads, they are called spicy crime reads, they are called bonkbusters. They are hard to categorize but I believe that there are certain ingredients that a good page-turning romp of a blockbuster has to have. I should be able to recognise then, I have been reading them all of my life and writing them for the last six years. I am currently working on my sixth novel, and my fifth, Lovers And Liars, has just been released. ♥

To me, a book should be a perfect balance of glamorous and aspirational action played out by characters who are totally believable in their actions even if sometimes the decadence and the opulence of their surroundings is somewhere that most mere mortals, myself included, can only dream of. How many times have I been writing about Russian oligarchs, designer-draped socialites or the interiors of a six-star hotel and then I have to stop to let the cat in or put the bins out. Such is the majesty of working from home as an author. But for me as an author and certainly in my experience as a reader, I like to be taken on a magical journey of excitement, danger and jaw-dropping moments that leave you short of breath and gagging for more. Does anyone really enjoy a book where you treat turning onto the next page with total indifference, not really caring if a character is victorious in love or tragically about to meet their maker? I think not.

Characters are all. All of my five books so far – Trinity, Addicted, Scandalous Lies, Deadly Obsession and Lovers And Liars – have been layered with decedent characters that as a reader you will either love or hate. That is the aim. I have had lots of people say to me that they ‘hated the acidic Portia in Addicted’ or thought ‘Amy was a touch stupid and vulnerable in Deadly Obsession’ but yet these are the characters that are talked about. The characters where maybe we see a little bit of ourselves. A touch of real life in the escapist world between the covers. If every character had the correct answers to everything that crossed their path then life would be very dull and my novels wouldn’t be either page-turning or indeed blockbusting. Blockbusters need vulnerabilities, weaknesses, short tempers, kneejerk reactions and characters who make mistakes. Major ones. Whether that be in love, in life, in work or sometimes in the murky underbelly of a world of crime. Characters must always provoke a strong reaction.

My novels are always crime novels. Yes, they are soaked in riches and excess but at the heart of them all are murders, mysteries and a killer who wants to escape the consequences of their deadly actions. People have wrongly said that books like mine or the ultimate lady herself, Jackie Collins, are nothing more than mere froth. I totally disagree and would argue the point with anyone 24/7. They are dark, twisted, depraved and smothered in subject matters like betrayal, greed, lust, deception, villainy and heartache before the killing even kicks off. They are filled with people who want to shine when some of those around them will do anything to make sure that they don’t.

Bonkbusters (to use that phrase) feature sex. But not in a gratuitous sex-for-sex’s-sake kind of way. All of my books have bedroom scenes (or indeed sexual encounters beyond those four walls) but they are not there just to titillate. Erotica this is not. The sex will be there for a reason. To explain a connection between two people, be that lust, revenge, brutality or the most-wanted of any emotion, love. If I wanted to just write about sex then I would write full-blown erotica or short-stories for some extreme website. But I don’t. I want to write about life. And sex is part of that. As is every shade of the emotional rainbow from heartache to jubilation. My novels have to include it all.

I love writing. I love reading. I will do both until the day that I am no longer here. Spicy crime-romps like mine are an escape to the rigours of normality and everyday life. They may not be Shakespeare, but then I don’t want them to be (although didn’t he specialise in romance, tragedy, thrills, spills and OTT drama in abundance come to think about it). They are fast-paced, action-packed, page-turning and leave you with a feeling of ‘OMG’ that will hopefully stay with you for a long time. And of course nearly all of the action will nine times out of ten have to be based in the most fabulous of exotic locations. I’ll see you in paradise.

Nigel May is an author and TV personality. His latest book, Lovers And Liars, was released by Bookouture on June 16.


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