This week we're lucky enough to have an interview with author Nalini Singh to share. Ms. Singh is the author of a whole slew of books including a bunch of Silhouette Desire romances and not one but two hit series. The first, the Psy-Changeling series, deals with a futuristic world where mundane humans living along side shapeshifters are lorded over by those with psychic abilities and essentially chronicles the events surrounding the fall of its world order. The second series, the Guild Hunter series, is rather new, the first book having come out just last year, and tells of the Hunters who track down renegade vampires trying to escape their angel master's service (I know, I know - that doesn't make much sense, but trust me - you have to read the to understand fully.) Oh, and did I mention book two in this series is due for release TOMORROW? And Archangel's Kiss looks to be one hell of a ride, so don't miss out! And now enough of my jabber! That's not why you're here, is it? No? Didn't think so.
(1) So, I guess I may as well start with the basics: how exactly did Nalini Singh break into the publishing world?
There's both a long version and a short version of this story. I'll go with the short version today. The summer I turned 18, I decided I wanted to write a romance novel, and since I'd been voraciously reading Mills & Book novels at the time, I decided it would be a M&B. I completed the manuscript over that summer. I'm so proud of that - though it was smartly rejected (and in hindsight, I can definitely understand why), the fact that I had written an entire book gave me such huge confidence.
After that, I knew this was what I wanted to do. I kept on writing and submitting and writing and submitting...until I caught the interest of an editorial assistant at Silhouette Desire. A couple more submissions and a revision letter later, she bought my first book!
In case you think this all happened very quickly - nope. Took years of persistence, but it was so worth it.
(2) You currently have two series on the go: Psy-Changeling and Guild Hunters. The Psy-Changeling series deals with a futuristic world where shapeshifters oppose the emotionless humans with psychic abilities who essentially rule the world. At this point, there are seven books released with an eighth due out in July. Do you have a definite idea of where this series is going? Tied to this, “it depends on my publisher” aside, have you an idea how long the series will be?
The Psy/Changeling series has a very definite story arc and has had from the start. I tend not to think in terms of number of books, but more in terms of the storyline. I think we're coming very close to the end of the first arc and this will start to become apparent in BONDS OF JUSTICE.
Once that arc is complete, the second will start. And the second one is much more open-ended. I would like to do some "tangent" books in that arc - i.e. books that might not necessarily have fit the first arc, that perhaps explore different parts of the world.
(3) The first book of this series, Slave to Sensation, introduce Sascha, a Cardinal (naturally powerful) psy with apparently defunct abilities, and Lucas, the alpha of the local leopard-shifter clan. Since then these characters have continued to appear with more frequency than any other coupling. Why?
I think this is because they are the "anchor" couple for the pack, being the alpha pair. Not only that, Sascha is intimately connected to the Council through her mother, so she and Lucas just naturally end up being in more scenes.
I love seeing previous couples appear, but I'm very conscious that they must be integral to the plot of the current book and with each book, this balance is different.
(4) Where did you get the idea for the Psy-Changeling series, in particular the Psy?
I've always been fascinated by psychic abilities and one day, I had the thought, "What if it wasn't a gift to have such abilities? What if it caused the most vicious insanity, the kind that led to murder? What then?" And that's how the Psy race first took shape.
(5) And how about the inspiration for your second series, Guild Hunter? It is completely different and deals with the relationship between angels, the vampires they create and the humans that hunt down runaway vampires; what sort of influences affected this series? In particular, where did you get the idea for the interdependent relationship going on? For the Cadre of Ten and its members?
I get asked this question a lot and it's a difficult one to answer. I just saw an image in my mind one day of an archangel in a Tower. Who was he? Why was he there? And that's how it began. After that, I sat down and started writing and the story just poured out of me.
(6) The second book in this series, Archangel’s Kiss, is due out tomorrow. What can you tell us about this book? About how Elena and Raphael, the primary coupling, develop?
This book explores the next step in their relationship. Yes, they're together, but there is a huge power imbalance between them. AK explores what that means, and we get to see how an archangel and a hunter might just be able to navigate eternity...together.
(7) One of the great things about this series is that it begins having several of its characters already in committed relationships, or at least with the base-work already in place: Sarah and Deacon, Ashwini and Janvier, Ransom and his librarian. What made you decide to do it this way?
It just worked out that way, and I think it's very natural. Most single women Elena's age have some friends who are as single, while others are in short-term relationships, and still others who are in stable long-term relationships.
(8) The series so far has dealt with the relationship between Elena, the Hunter, and Raphael, the angel, but the series isn’t called the Elena and Raphael series, so what are your plans for the series in terms of narrative/POV?
When I started, I intended to write one book. Just one. The end. Yes, what was I thinking?! LOL. So this series is a work in progress. Right now, I'm working on book 3, and it looks like Elena and Raphael will be in the starring roles again.
However, I have a feeling that book 4 may shift the narrative focus to another one of the characters - it depends on how the story develops, but that's what's shaping up at present.
This series is flexible in that sense - there is room for another character (or characters) to become the focus, while remaining in the same world.
(9) Last year you released a short story in e-book format – any chance of that ever being made available in print?
That's up to the publisher, and I'd certainly hope it will one day come out in print. This will likely depend on the overall level of interest in the series.
(10) And speaking of short stories, you have contributions coming up in Burning Up, a mass-market anthology with Angela Knight, Meljean Brook, and Virginia Kantra in August and a yet unnamed anthology to be released in 2011 with Ilona Andrews, Meljean Brook and Sharon Shinn – anything you can say about these works?
The novella in BURNING UP is "Whisper of Sin," a Psy/Changeling story featuring Ria, Lucas's administrative assistant, and her wicked, wicked leopard hero. It's set slightly back into the past, so you get to see some of the characters when they were younger.
The 2011 anthology will have an angel theme, so I'll be writing a Guild Hunter novella for that.
(11) Is it more difficult to write short stories compared to novels?
I think it depends on the writer. For me personally, I love writing novellas. I enjoy the shorter, tighter focus. It gives me a chance to exercise different writing muscles from my full-length works. I think it probably helps that I got my start writing category romances - it really taught me to write tight and make every word count.
(12) Finally, some random questions about you:
a. What are your hobbies aside from writing? I love to read, and I travel a lot. I want to see every inch of the world!
b. Could you please describe your dream day? Me on a tropical island with a really good book, delicious food, and a gorgeous man-servant? *grin*
c. If you found a genie, what would be your three wishes? Now this one, I'll have to spend time pondering. Because you know, with a genie, you have to make exactly the right wish, or else...*
Ok, now hold on to your hats, boils and ghouls because this week's interview comes with an extra special treat: guest Nalini Singh has graciously offered a prize to one lucky commenter to be chosen at random next Monday! And what is this prize you might ask? A copy of the anthology Must Love Hellhounds which also features stories from authors Ilona Andrews, Meljean Brook, and Charlaine Harris. I know, totally squeel-of-joy worthy, yes? So, head to the comments, make with the gushing and check back next Monday to see if you've won!
Oh, and you can check out Ms. Singh online at her site here.