Nalini Singh is one of the romance’s best known authors. She’s written about rockstars, animal shifters, and angels. Everything I’ve read by her has been such an enjoyable experience, and I’m absolutely delighted to interview her today.
1) Your covers are gorgeous. Who designs them?
(Answer is for the North American covers): The artwork on the majority of my covers is by artist Tony Mauro. The cover design is by George Long. Usually, my editor asks me for suggestions of what I would like on the cover, then they take those ideas and put together something amazing!
With Shards of Hope, they hit it out of the park. The fact Aden is standing on a cliff, looking out over a valley, is really meaningful in terms of the story.
2) Which do you spend more time on, the Psy-Changeling or the Guild Hunter series?
I write one book a year per series, so it’s pretty even that way. Since the Psy-Changeling series is longer, however, I do have to spend more time checking continuity facts for new books in this series.
3) How many books will be in the Psy-Changeling series? Will Shards of Hope be the last in the series, like you originally planned?
Shards of Hope wasn’t actually planned to be the last book in the series as a whole, but rather, the last one in the Silence arc. It brings to a close what has been the main overarching storyline to this point. However, it also opens up a new arc.
So there will definitely be more books in the series. As to how many, it all depends on how many are necessary to complete the second “season” of the series. And who knows, that might lead naturally into a third season! If anyone would like to know more, I did a super detailed post about the future of the series, here.
4) Tell us a little about Aden and Zaira. What do they do that makes them special?
Aden is a leader, strong and determined, and man who just gets things done without fanfare. So much so that people constantly underestimate him – which makes him even more dangerous.
Zaira is a lethal, trained Arrow and blood loyal to Aden. She will defend him against any and all threats. She sees him as a hero, a white knight, but as Zaira herself says, “every white knight needs a deadly black sword at his back.” She is that deadly blade, the person who will cross any line to protect him.
Their relationship is unlike any other in the series. It’s dangerous, beautiful, a little bit broken, but it’s beyond powerful.
5) How did you think of the title, Shards of Hope?
Usually, I come up with the titles by playing with key words that relate to the theme of the book in question. In this case, it was my German publishing team that came up with the title – they needed a title for an early catalog, and as I didn’t have an English language title yet that they could work off, I sent them notes on the themes of the book.
Those notes included the words “hope” and “fractured.” They came up with “Scherben der Hoffnung,” which they told me translated roughly as SHARDS OF HOPE. I absolutely loved it, and voila!
6) What’s your writing schedule? Do you outline a novel before writing it or do you start and see where it goes?
I know the overarching plotline(s) of the series – though it’s in my head, not written down, it’s very strongly in place. When I sit down to write each book, I go from start to finish in a fast, rough draft. This lets me get to know the characters and the plotline of that particular book. And because I know the overarching storyline, it organically shapes the specific plot in each book.
After that, I do draft after draft, layering and deepening the story, working on the language, and ensuring series continuity, until I feel the manuscript is ready to go to my editor.
7) What compels you to write romance? Where do you draw inspiration from?
I love the hope in romance, the sense that a happy ending is possible for each and every person. As for inspiration, it can come from anywhere—something I hear, or see, or read, or touch. I just have to be open to it.
8) Are you a full-time or part-time author?
Full time, and I consider it the best job in the whole world!
9) What are some of your favorite books and authors? Do you prefer e-books or physical copies?
I have no preference re print books or e-books. I’ll read either happily. When I’m traveling e-books are very convenient, but for my favorite books, I like to buy the hardcovers if available, and curl up on the sofa with a cup of tea beside me.
I have so many favorite books and authors that I could never list them all. Here are just a few: Sharon Lee & Steve Miller and their Liaden series (amazing space opera), Meljean Brook’s Iron Seas series (brilliant steampunk), Laura Florand’s Chocolate series and Rose series (delicious contemporary romance), JD Robb’s In Death series (awesome suspense).
I just realized all of the above are series! Here are some specific books: Anne Gracie’s The Perfect Rake (a historical that makes me swoon), Jude Deveraux’s Remembrance (I cry and fall in love each time I read this), Sonali Dev’s A Bollywood Affair (my favorite book of 2014), and Christine Feehan’s Dark Prince, which was one of the first paranormal romances I ever read.
10) What are you reading right now? Who do you recommend it for?
I’ve actually just finished reading Tanya Huff’s Confederation books. If I had to summarize it in three words, I’d say “Marines in Space!” but it’s so much more than that. It has a wonderful lead character, an incredible and well-built world, and a brilliant storyline. It’s become one of my new favorites.
I would recommend this for lovers of science fiction, action, and space opera books. There is a subtle romance running through the books, but the action takes center stage.
11) What is some advice you’d give to up-and-coming authors?
Believe in yourself and write. Everything else can come later. First, you have to write the story.
12) What are you writing next?
I’ll be working on the next Psy-Changeling book in the second half of the year. Until then, I’m editing a few projects, waiting for the copy edited manuscript of Archangel’s Enigma to land, and putting in time on some Psy-Changeling novellas that I’m doing as an extra (no release date info for those yet, as I’m writing them in my spare time).