Nalini Singh talks to Nalini Haynes of Dark Matter
Nalini Singh paranormal romance author of Archangel’s Storm, talks to Nalini Haynes of Dark Matter. This interview was conducted via email so it’s only available in text format.
Hi Nalini, thanks for talking to Dark Matter
Thank you for the invitation.
When did you get the writing bug?
I’ve been writing in one form or another most of my life. It was when I was about sixteen that I started to attempt to write longer pieces, and eighteen when I completed my first manuscript. It wasn’t published, but it taught me so much – and it showed me I had the capability to write a whole book. And then I just kept going.
Who supported and encouraged you along the way?
My mum has always been a very strong supporter of my writing.
What authors and books have influenced you?
I always have difficulty answering this question because I’ve been a voracious reader from childhood, so what I’ll say instead is that every book I’ve read has had an impact. Some taught me about story structure, while others swept me away, showing me the power of the written word, while still others had me daydreaming, sparking my imagination.
You’ve had a varied work career as well as having lived and worked in a few different countries. How has this influenced your writing?
I think it’s had an impact in different ways. Setting-wise, I’ve been able to personally see a number of interesting places (such as the Forbidden City in Beijing). More generally, it’s widened my view of the world, exposed me to different cultures and ways of thinking, and I think that comes through in my books.
Have you felt that this has been a distraction at any time?
The travel? No. It feeds my imagination.
You’ve won a number of awards: has this put more pressure on you?
No – at the start of my writing career, when I was an unpublished writer, I didn’t win many awards at all, so I think that gave me a solid grounding! It’s lovely when I do win, but I see it as a gift, not an expectation. I think that point of view helps keep me on an even keel.
Action, world building, characters: do you have a favourite part of the storytelling process?
I love so much about it, but the first draft, when I’m writing my way into the story and discovering the characters and their world, is always amazing.
What do you see as the major mythological and/or legendary influences on your writing—and what drew you to these influences?
I’ve never really thought about my influences in these terms, but I think it may go back to the old dark fairy tales, the ones where the monsters were real. They were some of the first stories to make me think “What if…” – and that question has sparked so many of my stories.
You’ve written two major series and several other books. What is the attraction for writing both series and stand-alone novels?
I’ve realized I’m truly a series writer at heart – I love following my characters and the world from book to book, seeing how they both develop and grow. So while I enjoy writing the occasional stand-alone, I always have to fight the urge to keep going with the story!
What would you like to share about your books?
The Psy/Changeling series is set in a world with three races on the verge of war.
The Psy have phenomenal mental abilities, such as telepathy and telekinesis, but have conditioned emotion out of themselves in an effort to fight the insanity so prevalent in their population.
The changelings are true shapeshifters, and can change form at will – the main packs in the books are the wolves and the leopards. They are very emotional and tactile, attached to their families and blood loyal to one another.
The humans are caught in between the other two powerful races, but have an important role to play, one that will become more apparent as the series continues.
There’s a lot of action in these books, but there is also a warm heart that comes from the sense of pack so important to the changelings.
The Guild Hunter series is much darker, edgier, bloodier. It’s set in a world ruled by archangels, with vampires as their servants. The Guild hunters are specially trained humans who are sent out to retrieve those vampires when they break their contracts of service (signed in exchange for near-immortality).
This series skirts the line into urban fantasy – it follows the same couple for three books, and will be returning to them again in the sixth.
If anyone would like to “taste” the two different series, you can find excerpts on my website: www.nalinisingh.com
You write erotic romances. Some authors have made incredible (funny) errors in writing sex scenes: how do you develop your sex scenes?
While sensuality is an important part of any romance (after all, it is a primal human need), for me, these scenes are one element of a much wider storyline. As such, I write them like any other scene – ie. each love scene must have a purpose storywise, and must be true to the characters involved.
In Caressed By Ice, for example, the first love scene doesn’t happen until two thirds of the way into the book, because there, the heroine begins the story barely hanging onto her sanity after a horrific abduction, while the hero is one of the ice-cold Psy. It would’ve made no sense to have them be together any earlier. They had to be emotionally ready for the intense intimacy of that connection.
You’ll notice I used “love” scene rather than “sex” scene. For me, a sex scene implies something very mechanical, and that’s not what I write. Emotions are always entangled, whether those emotions are of joy or of pain.
Do you think that coming from the culture that brought us the Karma Sutra gives you an advantage in writing sex scenes?
I’ve never actually read the Karma Sutra, and as I mentioned above, it’s not about unique positions or athleticism. A powerful love scene is driven by emotion, by character.
Your latest book, Tangle of Need was released this month, Congratulations! How does it feel to launch another book?
Wonderful! I love sharing my stories with readers, and I have the same excited reaction with each new book.
What does the future hold for you?
I have a Guild Hunter book out in September, titled Archangel’s Storm. The Psy/Changeling series will continue with an anthology and a full-length book next year.