Monday, November 12, 2007

Bestselling Author Nalini Singh is in the Lair!

by Anna Campbell

Last Christmas, I had a doozy of a flu and I was feeling so VERY sorry for myself. So I picked up a book that had been lurking on the TBR pile and it was so compelling, all my woes and aches and miseries went away and I was transported into this fascinating new world. A world full of really sexy heroes and amazing sensual tension and heart-stopping danger. You guessed it, I was yet another convert to Nalini Singh's brilliant Psy/Changeling series. These books have taken the romance world by storm and I'm delighted that Nalini has stopped by to shoot the breeze with the Banditas today.

Nalini, welcome to the Banditas! We’re so excited that you could find the time to visit us today. Firstly, can you tell us about your road to publication? Was it long and hard or were you one of these people who found success without too much failure along the way?

I wrote many, many, MANY words before I sold. But while dealing with rejection over and over was very hard at the time, the tough road to publication was also very valuable to my development as a writer. I think of this period as my apprenticeship - I learned so much and honed my skills so I felt ready for publication when it came. One thing not many people know is my very first book – DESERT WARRIOR - was picked up out of the slush pile. So if you're in that spot yourself, there's hope!

What has influenced your writing? Books? Movies? TV programs? Real life? Do you read a lot of paranormal for pleasure? Who are your favorite writers?

Influences are many and varied, from which country I'm living in to what I see out the window of the bus! I think most writers are that way - we see the world through the lens of imagination. I read across the board for pleasure, paranormal included. I have so many favorite writers, including: JD Robb, Jude Deveraux, Jayne Castle/Jayne Ann Krentz, Anne Bishop, Anne McCaffrey, Mercedes Lackey and Kay Hooper. More recently, I've fallen in love with Gena Showalter's ability to make me laugh, Meljean Brook's sexy, vain vampire, Ilona Andrews's and Patricia Briggs’s urban fantasy worlds, as well as Kristine Kathryn Rusch's “Retrieval Artist” series. Um, should I go on?

You write for Harlequin and Berkley single title. Do you find there's any difference in your approach to working across genres? What do you like about the different streams within your writing?

At the moment I'm focusing on the single titles, but when I was writing both, I did find differences. Category requires a much tighter story-world, while with single titles, there's more room for sub-plots. And with my Psy/Changeling series, I have scope to develop an overarching plot through a number of books as well. However, the skill of writing tight is one I'm very, very glad I had a chance to develop. Because single title gives you so much freedom, it can be tempting to go off on tangents. I love having so much room to play, but I'm always very aware of bringing it back to the love story.

You've created an amazing, vivid world with your Psy/Changeling series. Can you talk a little bit about how you put that world together, what inspired it, how you create such a convincing environment for your characters?

The world came together very organically. If you've been to my website, you'll know that I wrote the first draft in three weeks around a full-time job. It was insane in the best way. I just had these two powerful characters in my head - Sascha and Lucas - and when I started writing about them, they bought their world with them. It's still an organic and growing world - with each book, I see more and more of it. However, continuity is something I pay a lot of attention to. I have a story bible with info about the characters, details of the world, research notes, you name it. It's crucial that the world remains coherent as the books progress - I think it makes it the books far richer, because actions have consequences, and relationships that get forged in one book don't disappear in the next.

You do amazing sensual tension in your books. The sexual awareness just crackles between your characters. Can you offer any tips as to how you achieve that effect?

I think it's important to always keep in mind that the sexual tension develops from the attraction between two people. It sounds basic, but it's critical, and you have to give time for that attraction to develop. It's tempting to get the hero and heroine into bed straight away, but waiting can pay off (no pun intended). With CARESSED BY ICE, I had an iceman of a hero. The love scene was a long time coming 'cause this guy had to thaw out! Readers wrote to me saying they were crazy with waiting by the time the love scene came...but that it was worth it. The world literally shook (you gotta read the book to get that joke *grin*). So I guess what I'm saying is - stay true to your characters, give them the time they need, but make sure you deliver. No one likes a tease!

You live in New Zealand. Has this had any impact, good or bad, on your career or writing?

I think the isolation was good in terms of the development of my voice. I had (and still do have) a good bunch of friends in the Romance Writer of NZ, which was a tiny organization back when I first joined, and I had a good source of information in the RWNZ newsletter, but I wasn't bombarded with what I "should" or shouldn't be doing. I wrote from the heart and sent submissions out.

Can you tell us about your current book?

Currently, I have a novella out in AN ENCHANTED SEASON - Tamsyn and Nate's story is a sizzling prequel to my series. And in September, I had CARESSED BY ICE, the story of an assassin and the shapeshifter he falls in love with. CBI was just voted the best print paranormal romance by the readers at NightOwl Romance, which was really exciting.

Congratulations, Nalini! It’s always nice to get that sort of validation, isn’t it? Can you tell us about what you're working on now?

I'm currently working on book 5 of my Psy/Changeling series. It's called HOSTAGE TO PLEASURE and it's about Dorian, a sentinel in a powerful leopard pack, and one of its most dangerous members. Dorian lost his sister to a serial killer and he's so angry deep inside that it threatens to consume him. He's not ready for a mate...but when it happens, there's no way he's going to let her get away.

Oh, I’ve been hanging out for Dorian’s story. He’s one sexy big cat ;-) Congratulations on your success. You really have become a shining star in the writing firmament (waxing poetic here). What has your writing career so far taught you? Were there any major surprises along the way to becoming a bestselling author? Do you have any advice for people just starting a career?

Thanks, Anna! My advice and what I've learned - Work hard, write lots and get submissions out there. Luck is what you make of it. As for surprises, I've been wonderfully surprised by how many people have fallen in love with my Psy/Changeling world. It's been an amazing ride and I'm hoping it continues for a long, looooooong time!! :)

Nalini is giving away a signed copy from her backlist (winner’s choice) to a commenter who she’ll choose at random. Good luck.

Here's my question for you all. Who are your favorite authors and why? Tell me about your keepers, the books and/or authors you can read over and over.


Trish Milburn said...

The Golden Rooster is mine!!!! Bwahahaha!

Joan said...

Ok, we gotta get this blogger thing where it says "0 comments" fixed and I eagerly clickto blog and poof...there's somebody ahead! I thought SURE if I was up at 1 am in the morning I'd get it! Grrrrr..

Nalini, thanks so much for joining us in the lair (Golden Rooster hogs that we are).

THere is such a consistent theme to all our guest authors and our own newly pubbed Banditas about perseverence, submit/submit/submit. I take courage and get a little shot of "get back on the bandwagon" eith every example.

Your books sound fabulous too and as many of our regular visitors have lamented...sounds like another trip to the bookstore for me! (Good thing I asked for BN gift cards from Santa)

Off to bed to dream. Probably dream about a Golden Rooster running away from me. (sigh) Guess Demeitrius won't mine :-)

Trish Milburn said...

Okay, I'll post something besides my Golden Rooster crowing (snort!) now. I've just been waiting to nab that elusive rooster for a long time. :)

Hey, Nalini! Seems forever since you, Trish Morey and I were standing in that big line to buy books at the Lit Signing way back in...must have been 2003 or possibly 2004. That's so cool that you were bought out of the slush pile.

Favorite authors -- goodness, there are more and more every year. I will say some of my most recent favorites are YA authors and paranormal/urban fantasy. Nalini, I have Patricia Briggs' urban fantasy books but haven't had time to read them yet.

Christine Wells said...

Hi Nalini! I love your Psy series. When I read it, your world really felt organic, as if it lived somewhere in your subconscious and you revealed whatever needed to be in the story at the time. So many things interconnect, I thought it couldn't possibly all have been pre-planned.

Do you ever come up against a law you've made in your Psy world back in Slave to Sensation and realize it stops you writing your current story the way you want? I'm not a paranormal writer, can you tell?*g*

Thanks so much for being with us today, Nalini and thanks, Anna, for a great interview. I'm looking forward to reading Caressed by Ice.

Donna MacMeans said...

First - congratulations to Trish on nabbing the rooster.

Hi Nalini - I absolutely LOVE your titles - something I constantly struggle with. They are so sexy and intriguing. Any hints for this poor bandita?

Fave authors/books - hard to say. There's just so many. But I love the ones that pull on the emotion, or create a world that I can live in to the exclusion of the REAL world with its many demands.

Glad to have you in the Bandit's lair.

kim h said...

sounds hot
i love leslie kelly, vicki thompson, are my keepers

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Trish, congrats on the GR!

Joan and Kim H, you have to read these books, they're fantastic! I was utterly transfixed by Slave to Sensation, the first one. And believe me I was SOOOO sick. And when I say flu, I don't mean a bad cold. I mean something that hung around for about six weeks to make me miserable. Thank goodness I had Madam Singh to help me through!

Hey, Christine, glad you enjoyed the interview. Actually, we hit trouble with rules in historicals, don't we? Although every time it's happened to me that something just couldn't happen in the era, it creates an opportunity for something really interesting rather than slamming a door on my inspiration. Oh, dear, I'm starting to sound like the difficulties are just opportunities to overcome type. Mind you, I think I sorta believe that (except when I'm struggling with computers! In which case difficulties are meant to inspire creative swearing!).

Donna, they are great titles, aren't they? Nalini, are these the titles you came up with or did Berkley change them?

Re-reading books? I love to do it but lately I just seem to have no time. I've read the Dorothy Dunnetts many times and A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson and Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion. Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase is so rich, I find something new every time I pick it up.

Keziah Hill said...

Fan girl squee from me Nalini. I love your Psy books. While I think the romance is great, I think your world building is exceptional. The whole connected mind thing is just wonderful. And I hadn't read any of your Desires until I'd read your Psy's but now I have, I really enjoy them too.

Nalini Singh said...

Thanks for the welcome everyone! :)

Christine - I write with the world in my mind, so the challenges will the "rules" are there from the start - it's hard to explain, but it's less a case of working my way out, as of working with them. No magic bullets!

I guess it's similar to writing historicals - i.e. if you can't have your heroine alone with the hero without ruining her rep, you have to find other ways for them to be together.

Christine Wells said...

That's so interesting, Nalini. I know we have rules in historicals, but to me, the difference is I didn't make them up! I think I'd get really frustrated with myself if I made a rule in book 1 and wanted to flout it in book 3. But then, of course, you've answered my question. It's all real and there for you, just as my historical world is for me. What an amazing imagination!

Oh, and I forgot to say, I'm with Foanna on LOS being a keeper. Also Flowers from the Storm by Kinsale.
I read those books with enjoyment and awe.

I also love Margaret Atwood's Blind Assassin, Georgette Heyer, PD James (although I tend not to re-read mysteries) Jane Austen, Homer (yes, I'm a geek) and Elizabeth Peters.

Helen said...

These books sound very very interesting I will be keeping my eye out for them. Thanks for the post I love hearing about books and getting to know new authors.
As for favourite authors I have lots Johanna Lindsey, Kathleen Woodiwiss, Shirlee Busbee I have read all of their books starting about 30 years ago and have loved them newer authors that I have read and loved their style of writing Jenna Petersen, Shana Galen, Jacquie D'Alessandro,Anna Campbell, Donna Macmeans, Christine Wells, there are so many I love reading and these authors take me to other worlds that I can loose myself in an turn off for a much needed break.
Thanks Guys
Have Fun

Buffie said...

Hey Nalini! It is so great to have you here with us today. I have to be honest and say that I have not yet read your books. But that will change rather soon. Every single site I visit just raves about your Psy books. And several of my cyber friends have told me that your heros are so HOT! So I'm adding your entire backlist to my TBB list and can't wait to dive into the world you have created.

Gillian Layne said...

Besides Mary Balogh (she is my definitive example of the perfect romance), I read Elizabeth Peters and Laurie R. King over and over. I will never get enough of Amelia, and King's Sherlock Holmes is so subtly romantic it curls my toes.

Anonymous said...

Lisa Kleypas, Julia Quinn, and Samantha James are a few of my favorite authors. I also love Karen Marie Moning's Highlander books! :)

DownUnderGirl said...

Hi Nalini and welcome to a fellow southern hemispherian(? word) aka downunder chick.

Congrats on your success. I too hear your name on many, many blogs.

Keepers. Anyone who knows me knows that I have EVERY Jenny Crusie ever written but I also have a fellow countrywoman of yours, Nalini - Fiona Brand. Her SAS series is amazing - those guys are truly hot. I managed to buy one of hers I didn't have at The Magic Unicorn - thank you to whoever here put me on to them, I'm sorry I can't remember who it was but I WILL have your babies.

I also have Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights (leather bound copies I bought in England)and a collection of Dickens as well as To Kill a Mocking Bird and To Sir With Love. I have quite a few Nora's and an Australian YA author who wrote the Tomorrow series called John Marsden - I have all of them as they are truly wonderful books. Allison Rushby is a fav also.
I also have all the Jean Auel Earth Children series.

Okay, okay, there are more but I'm getting RSI.


doglady said...

I am one of those terrible people who almost never gets rid of a book. I just love them so much! Now this series sounds like a must read, Nalini. Thanks Anna C for this interview. I love finding someone new to read. Historicals are my first love, but paranormals are next. I love what you said about not hurrying the hero and heroine into bed and letting the sex come out of the story. All of my historicals are keepers. Then I have my shelf of honor where my autographed copies reside. I also have my "get to these quick cause I need a sure thing" shelf for when I want to revisit old friends that I KNOW will deliver. Some residents of that shelf include Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas, Slightly Dangerous by Mary Balogh, Claiming the Courtesan by Anna C, The Mysterious Miss M by Diane Gaston and a dozen or so more. My favorite paranormal authors are Sherrilyn Kenyon, Charlaine Harris, Katie MacAlister, Kim Harrison, Christine Feehan and is sounds as if Nalini Singh will be joining that list! You know, I never knew when I suggested a Golden Rooster it would become such a competitive thing! Congrats Trish!

brownone said...

Hi Nalini! Great interview! I guess I've just added yet another author to my list! (My poor poor husband...I won't be suprised if he blocks this blog from my computer!)
As for me, my keeper author is Lisa Kleypas. No one gets to "borrow" them let alone touch them.

MsHellion said...

*makes note to go find "Slave to Sensation" immediately*

Hmmm, keepers.

It's hard to forget your first loves. Jude Deveraux and Julie Garwood, back in the day when they both wrote historicals that would make you swoon. Where men were men, and women liked them that way...eventually. The Raider is by far my favorite of Jude's "funny" historicals, though The Princess and The Awakening run close seconds. Julie Garwood--any of her Scottish stuff; and the trio series of "pirates": Guardian Angel, The Gift, and Castles. I can re-read them always.

When I'm sick and in need of fluff, I dig out my Jill Barnett's. Dreaming is my particular favorite. I love those heroes that seem to be the most difficult to love. Truly I and the heroine are the only one who really love Richard; all my other romance-reading friends think he's a jerk.

Sherrilyn Kenyon--in any incarnation--even her Kinley MacGregor, is a hoot to read. I love her Lords of Avalon and Dark-Hunters series.

I absolutely fell in love with The Education of Mrs. Brimley--and know I'm going to re-read that every chance I get.

MsHellion said...

Lord, how did I forget JK Rowling? I didn't even start reading her until the fourth book had come out (November 2001), and by December I had read the first four book, salivating for the fifth book that wouldn't come out until 2003! I've probably re-read her more than I've read some of my Jude/Julie books!

Always good for when you're sick in bed. Harry ALWAYS has it rougher than you. *LOL*

jo robertson said...

Great interview Naline and Anna! And congrats on the GR, Trish!

Another series to add to my TBR list LOL. We're so lucky to have such talent visit our Lair.

Ah, favorite authors -- so many writers, so little time. I'm a mystery/suspense buff so there are a few writers that I always buy in hardback because I can't wait for the PB copy -- Michael Connelly, Lee Child, Kate Atkinson among them.

jo robertson said...

OMG, Christine, I've never heard someone list Margaret Atwood as a favorite. I ADORE her and Blind Assassin is truly an amazingly complex book!

Linda said...

Favorite authors? Oh, this is hard! Right now I am into romantic suspense so it's Nora Roberts, Jayne Ann Krentz, Linda Howard, Allison Brennan (my current super fav - can't wait for her new series). I just discovered Elizabeth Moon - not exactly romance but I think it's romantic to read about new worlds. Then I have my slew of male writers - Douglas Preston/Lincoln Childs, Greg Iles, James Rollins, Harlan Coben. Any techno thriller. Let's face ot - if it sounds good - I read it!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Oooh, Trish! You GOT it! :>
Nalini, welcome to the Bandit Lair and Anna, thanks for bringing such a talented lady into our midst. (Drat you, though, for adding MORE books to my TBRSoon pile!)
As for favs, as everyone said, there are so many...I'm finding my fellow Banditas to be re-reads and keepers w/ every new book, which means my bookshelves are groaning!
I'm with you, though, Nalini on enjoying Mercedes Lackey & Anne McCaffrey. When I need a good read to take my mind off whatever is going on, both are a sure bet. Linda, I love Elizabeth Moon as well, barring that one about Restoration. I never could get through that one. Sigh. Most of JDRobb/Nora's are re-read and keepers for me. I'm with Anna on Iva Ibbotsen's The Countess Below Stairs. I've worn that one out. :> So clever. Of course, I've about worn out the JK Rowling tomes as well. Love me some Harry Potter. Others I reread are Tolkien and David Edding's Belgariad series. It's epic and I love it for its clever dialogue and depth of character and emotion, not to mention its humor. That's actually the only thing on which I'd short Tolkien. He's a bit dour. (but that's just me...)

tetewa said...

Just want to welcome Nalini for being here today! My favorite author at the moment and anything she writes is an autobuy for me is Sherrilyn Kenyon. Love the Dark-Hunter series! As an avid reader of all genres with the paranormal being my favorite I have many authors that I read. Christine Feehan, Colleen Gleason and Jacquelyn Frank. I also usually read anything by Stephen King and Dean Koontz. I'm also looking forward to the next installment in the Sue Grafton alphabet Series that is to come out in December.

Keira Soleore said...

Nalini is in da lair! Yay! Welcome, welcome to the Banditas. I've said this before, but I love that author photo of yours. And congrats on your Night Owl win.

I should tape this to my hand: "Luck is what you make of it."

Once your current psy/changeling series is over, do you think you would publish a nonfiction companion book that lays out the complex world in all its detailed glory?

Keepers... So many, Nalini. Lisa Kleypas, Amanda Quick, Julie Garwood, Georgette Heyer, PD James, Elizabeth George, Enid Blyton, Jane Austen, Julia Quinn...The list is long, and my personal library room is exploding.

The reason the above authors' books are keepers is because once I start reading them on page one, if undisturbed, I can continue straight through to the last page and sigh when the book is over. I can never sit there and analyze where the craft stops and the art begins. I'm far too involved in the story and the characters. If I remember to drink water and visit the bathroom while reading, then that's a plus. :)

Kat said...

Hi Anna & Nalini,

I'll try and not get too distracted by your using the "D" word (Dorian) :)

The keepers? I'm not really into lighthearted romances most of the time (though there are exceptions - ex: Julia Quinn's books). I'm more into the books with tortured heroes. The ones that just grab your heart and don't let go. There's something so sexy when you have a hero who doesn't open himself up to all and sundry, but is very loving to those closest to him. The tension and uncertainty in the darker books makes for, I feel, a more compelling read. You can't put it down because you don't know what'll happen next. Let's hope that made sense, lol.

I group more by authors and series than books so here's some of my favorites: both of you, J.R. Ward/Jessica Bird, Sherrilyn Kenyon/Kinley MacGregor, Meljean Brook, Angela Knight, Lora Leigh, Shayla Black/Shelley Bradley, Anne Stuart, Kresley Cole, and a few more I'm sure I'm forgetting.

I hope you're both having a good week. I'm really looking forward to Untouched and Mine to Possess.

And....what's that character's name? Start's with a "D".... ;)

(sidetracked by Dorian, as always) :)

Anna Campbell said...

Jo, there are a couple of Margaret Atwoods that I just adored. Painful as they are. The Handmaid's Tale and Cat's Eye are amazing books! So you're not alone! ;-)

Love all these suggestions for new reads. No, I don't! I can't cope with the TBR pile as it is! Any higher and it will block out the sun and all the dinosaurs will die!

Nalini, is there an end point in mind for the Psy/Changeling series? Or are you just going to keep going with them like Agatha Christie and Poirot?

Why do you think paranormals are so incredibly popular right now?

Keira Soleore said...

Nalini, congratulations for making it to AAR's Top 100 books for 2007 with Slave to Sensation.

Anna Campbell said...

Wow, Nalini! Way cool! Huge congratulations! I'm not surprised. STS is a fantastic book. Keira, thanks for letting us all know.

Eva S said...

Hi Nalini,
thanks for your fantastic books! Must add some more to my TBB list...

Some of my favorite historical authors are Jude Deveraux and Judith McNaught, I've read all their books many times. My paranormal favorites are J.R.Ward (I love her Black Dagger Brotherhood series), Christine Feehan, Sherrilyn Kenyon and Lara Adrian.

Laura J. said...

Hi Nalini,

Thanks for sharing the background on your writing with us. I'm not a writer, but I'm always curious how or what influences the authors for their stories.

CrystalGB said...

Hi Nalini. Great interview. I am enjoying your books. I am a big paranormal fan. Some authors that I also enjoy are J.R. Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon and Christine Feehan.

Donna MacMeans said...

Hey - Just wanted to pop in and say thanks to Helen and MsHellion for the honor of being one of their "keepers." Glad you enjoyed Mrs. Brimley (or, should I say Nicholas? *g*)


Anna Campbell said...

Actually, ditto to Donna, on thanking the people who singled out my book as a keeper! Much appreciated. Keepers mean so much to me - they're what I turn to in tough times. So really they're my friends - is that too pathetic? I've got friends who talk and walk too ;-)

Jennifer said...

I haven't read the Psy/Changeling series, but it sounds soooo good.

I have too many favorite authors to name. And since I like trying new authors and genres, it seems that every time I pick up a book by a new-to-me author they become a favorite. Julie Garwood is one of my faves...she wrote the first romance I ever read and I just love her books...they are keepers for me because of their stories, characters, and settings. I also love Julia Quinn's books...she has great characters and I love the humor in her books. Lisa Kleypas is another fave whose books shall stay on my her heroes. Erin McCarthy is another author I love...her books always make me smile...I just love them. I could go on and on and on naming authors, but I'll stop myself.

Jennifer Y. said...

That was me above...I forgot the use the account with my last many Jennifers out there...LOL

Jennifer Y. said...

Anna, it is not pathetic...books are my friends too (and I have live friends as well). I can't tell you how many times a book has helped me through a rough time...reading a good book just makes me feel better.

And as I say on my blog...thanks to every author out there for sharing their stories with all are my rock stars. To aspiring authors, never give up...someone out there is just waiting for your story to touch their lives. Everyone is a keeper to somebody out there.

Okay, I rambled enough...LOL

M. said...

I still get an almost daily feeling of awe at how the net lets me 'talk' to someone literally on the other side of the world, and opens my eyes to areas I would otherwise likely have missed entirely. Can't say that I've ever read any shapeshifter lit before, so now that I'm intrigued with these books it will be a first for me.

The closest I can think of that I've read before (and I realize it's quite a far stretch) are the dragonrider books of Anne McGaffrey - not shapeshifters, obviously, but living on a fantasy planet.

Me, I find it plenty challenging enough creating characters for 'this' world, without having to come up with consistent weather/ethnic/political/agricultural details from scratch on top of it! I applaud you and all other fantasy writers.

Cassondra said...

Hi Nalini! Welcome to the lair. So exciting to have such amazing talent as our guest.

Anna, thanks for bringing such an interesting lady to join us!

Okay I'll be a complete failure at answering the question. I just can't pick the favs. THere are too many, and it's whatever I just read and loved--the one that kept me up all night--most recently.

I can't answer the question, but I do have one for Nalini:

You've brought up the beauty of making the reader wait for the love scene, which is the way I naturally write. BUT, in the shorter books, the category novels, you kind of have to "get there" just to make the book work don't you?

I'm very interested in this. Okay honesty time. I want, SO MUCH to be able to write short, and when I get enough submissions out there to feel like I'm up to my game, I'll challenge myself with writing one. Like Stephen King said, "I'm a natural putter-inner, not a natural taker-outer." I'm a good editor/cutter, but my stories just come out of the box "big." I'm truly interested in how you do it Nalini. How do you get the relationship to that "point" quickly enough to get the real payoff from the love scene in a shorter book?

Although I read a lot of both, the writers I most admire are those like you and our sweetheart of a Blaze author, Tawny Weber, and a few others who can make me believe the relationship will work in a shorter book.

Granted, you weren't writing Blaze,(they tend to get there rather quickly as a rule) but how do you do the "make them wait" successfully in a shorter book, given the "certain number of love scenes" prescribed by the line?

Okay, guessing I've asked the unanswerable question....

Nalini Singh said...

Oh, wow, so many comments! Reading your keepers is definitely increasing the tbr list. Thanks to everyone who made such nice comments about my books - hope you enjoy them.

Let me see if I can catch all the questions. (If I miss one, pls re-ask!)

DownUnderGirl - Fiona's books are great, aren't they?!

Keira - I never say never, but my heart is in fiction. :)

Anna - yes, there is a final end-point I'm heading toward, but as to how many books it takes depends on how the stories develop. There's also the possibility of a second story arc after the completition of the first. We'll see :)

Personally, I think paranormals are popular for the same reason as historicals. You can get away with a whole lot, esp with alpha heroes. I love alphas!

Keira - thanks for posting about AAR! I'm so excited about it!

M - the Pern books are some of my absolute favorites.

Donna & Anna - the titles are mine :) Donna - some titles come easily but others take a while. One tip I have is to make up a list of words that relate to your world, and then play with them. My latest title "Hostage to Pleasure" took AGES. But it really ties in to a lot of aspects of the story.

Did I catch all the questions?

Nalini Singh said...

Cassondra, it's a tough question but writing short is an artform. I have the utmost respect for writers who consistently tell amazing stories in the short format.

I don't know if I can give you a good answer, but here's some tips - with a shorter book, you have to have a more streamlined conflict. Subplots aren't impossible, but in most cases you have to focus on the main plot. Usually that main plot should turn the spotlight on the hero and heroine.

Now, you might think that means the books can't be multi-layered. That's a mistake. Good category novels have a lot of aspects. And, in most cases, those aspects all feed the love story and the main conflict.

Once you set that up, it's a very high intensity situation. The emotions build, and if you do it right, you can have a believable love scene. But even in category, you don't have to jump in straight away. I just pulled one of my Desires off the shelf and the first love scene happens halfway through the book, so once again, it depends on the characters and the story situation.

Kat said...

*raises hand*

Nalini I've got a question. It's always the same one.

Can you give any info on HtP? :)


Nalini said...

Kat, you'll be the first to know ;) (I really will tell you - there you go, I've said it in public - and then you'll have to keep it a secret! *grin*)

DownUnderGirl said...

Cassondra I also write category and I can tell you that where you put the love scene in a book depends entirely on the characters and where it is natural for them, as Nalini said. I've put sex in the first chapter, but right at the end of books as well. I also think there doesn't even have to be any sex as long as the tension is there and the reader gets an emotional pay off at the end.

And can I take a moment to please debunk the myth that each line prescribes a certain amount of love scenes? Simply not true.


Kat said...

LOL. I'm counting on it - I've got the email ;)

Just so you don't think I'm completely blindsided by Dorian (your fault for creating such a fantastic character anyway) I am really excited about Clay.

You said you sold 3 more books in the series, does that include the novella coming out next year? And have you said whose story the novella is? Walker?

And will chocolate bribes really be ineffective for getting you to spill about Kaleb? LOL.

And since I'm full of questions today, will Kit take over as the DarkRiver Alpha one day when Lucas steps down?

Have a great day :)

Nathalie said...

I don't really have favorite authors... it changes with my mood, and you usually most of the books I read I find great!

Lily said...

My favorite authors are: Kathleen Woodiwiss - who initiated me to the romance genre, Laurie McBain - for the same reason, Jane Austen - who deos not love her - and any author that catches my attention!

Anna Campbell said...

Lily, KW initiated me into the romance genre - or at least the American style of sexy historical - so she'll always hold a very dear place in my heart as a result. How much reading pleasure would I have missed out on if I'd never discovered her and the wonderful genre she inspired?

Keira Soleore said...

Nalini said, "Kat, you'll be the first to know ;) (I really will tell you - there you go, I've said it in public - and then you'll have to keep it a secret!"

Aha! Kat, prepare for some arm twisting and arm wrestling the minute you know from Nalini.

Ooh. And I have Hira's story up next. Banditas, I'm a SLAVE to Nalini's categories!!

Anna Campbell said...

No, Keira, you're not a SLAVE, you're a SENSATION! ;-)

Nalini Singh said...

You said you sold 3 more books in the series, does that include the novella coming out next year? And have you said whose story the novella is? Walker?

No, the novella is separate. And it's not one of the characters you already know - the idea actually came out of Mine to Possess. I'm going to be curious to see if people can guess who I'm writing about. :)

And will chocolate bribes really be ineffective for getting you to spill about Kaleb? LOL.

Hard as it is to believe, yep, even chocolate's not going to work this time.

And since I'm full of questions today, will Kit take over as the DarkRiver Alpha one day when Lucas steps down?

Kit's got an interesting future ahead of him, that's all I'm saying ;)

Keira - hope you enjoy Hira's story!

Nalini Singh said...

LOL Anna

Anna Campbell said...

Nalini, something I always want to know about writers is their work routines. I tend to be a flood or drought girl and I do so admire people who are nice and regular in their habits. Can you give us an insight into your work habits and your work environment?

Sue A. said...

The authors that are my favorites are the authors that grace my keeper shelf. Some of those authors are Linda Howard, Diana Palmer, and Laura Kinsale to name a few. What makes them keepers is that no matter how many times you read their books they still have the power to move me.

Kate Carlisle said...

Hi Nalini! Welcome to the Lair. I'm coming in late as usual but I really enjoyed all your advice and info. And so many new books to add to my shopping list, especially Slave to Sensation. I feel like a cave dweller for not having read it yet. It sounds fabulous!

Everyone's mentioned so many of my favorites but I'll mention them anyway....J.D. Robb and Nora Roberts, Julie Garwood, Linda Howard, Amanda Quick, mystery authors Nancy Martin and Hailey Lind, Janet Evanovich, Tasha Alexander...

And Congrats to Trish on snagging the GR!!

Nalini Singh said...

Amy - good point re no set number of love scenes.

Anna - one of the fun things about being a writer is that we don't have to follow routines! I am pretty consistent about how I do first drafts - I'll just go for it until I have x number of words. I try to aim for 3-4 weeks for a complete first draft. After that, I edit, edit, edit, and I always do the whole book, rather than scenes. :)

Anna Campbell said...

Interesting, Nalini. I tend to go right through the first draft (the dirty draft I call it, for very good reason!)too. Means I get a handle on the story arc and the characters.

Anna Campbell said...

Nalini, thank you so much for being our guest today. I'm sure everyone who hasn't read the Psy/Changeling books now has them on the TBR pile! If they don't, they're missing out on something special.

Thanks to everyone who commented. It's been great fun.

Don't forget to check back tomorrow to see who won Nalini's signed book.

Cherie J said...

Hi Nalini,

I love your Psy/Changeling series. Have to start adding them to my keeper shelf. The ones I have read have been great. Christine Feehan is on my keeper shelf along with Jacquelyn Frank.

Amy S. said...

Love your books Nalini! My fave authors are Lora Leigh, Shiloh Walker, Kate Douglas, Linda Howard, and Sasha White.

ChristyJan said...

Hi Nalini,

One of the authors that is on my keeper shelves is Sarah McCarty and her Promises series and now her Hells Eight series.

Tez Miller said...

Would love to be in the running, please.

Have a lovely day! :-)

Nalini Singh said...

I wanted to drop by and say a quick thanks to everyone for the great comments. It was fun being a bandita for a day! :)