No one would think, upon meeting this quiet, smiley woman from New Zealand, that she would have such a romantic geek streak. But as evidenced by the success of her romance fiction, and the burgeoning success of her sci-fi/paranormal romance fiction, it must be true. Also true is that she’s not alone. With ten books under her belt, she’s built an impressive audience, making both the USA Today and NYT bestseller lists. As the publishing industry has discovered, there are large numbers of readers who want to read romance stories set in a non-mainstream universe. (By the way, far be it for me to divulge her secrets, but she’s also a huge Bollywood movie fan, and in fact turned me onto them. Where else can you get family drama, romance, catchy dance numbers, martial arts, and terrorism all in one movie? Cue dance number!)
NS: My first published book was Desert Warrior with Silhouette Desire. Currently, I write for Berkley Sensation, and my 10th full length book (I’ve also been in an anthology) came out in February. That book, Mine to Possess, hit both the USA Today and NYT Extended Bestseller lists, which was an amazing experience!
If your readers would like to check out my full backlist, they can swing by my website: www.nalinisingh.com/books
TH: Your most recent fiction falls into that relatively new sub-genre of romance fiction, the paranormal or the sci-fi romance. Do you find that more interesting than standard romance fiction? Are you writing what interests you, or did you write the most recent books with the intention of jumping into the new sub-genre?
NS: I’m writing what I love – I absolutely believe in doing that. Chasing trends is an exercise in futility – if you don’t love what you do, then I think it comes through in the stories. I was writing sf/fantasy romance when I was a teenager!
And I enjoy the romance genre as a whole. At this point, I’m writing mostly in the paranormal sub-genre because those are the stories I want to tell, but who knows what the future holds? I still enjoy writing contemporary romance, for example, so I can see myself doing more of that at some stage. Again, it’s about being open to possibility, to different ideas and stories.
TH: What is The Story of Nalini? Is it a novel? A short story? A poem? A limerick?
NS: It’s still in development – come back in another fifty years and we’ll see how it’s going! 😉
TH: If you can imagine the kind of book you’ll be writing in forty years, what would it be?
NS: Something I love, something that sparks the imagination, whatever that might be.
TH: When did you know that you wanted to be a writer? How did you know?
NS: I’ve always wanted to write – and I’ve been doing it as long as I can remember. I got serious about being published the summer after I finished high school – that’s when I completed my first full-length novel.
TH: Do you have a stack of crap-writing stuck away somewhere? I’m talking about stuff that helped you learn and develop your craft, but will never see the light of day. Most established writers seem to have something like this, like the five novels he or she had to write before they could get to the good one. Describe yours.
NS: Of course. Though I don’t consider it “crap-writing” – I consider it the fruits of my apprenticeship. I’ve always believed that though writing courses, conferences, books are helpful, the only way to truly learn to write is to do it. So I wrote and wrote and wrote. Each word, each story, did something to help me become a better writer.
TH: Of course, most writers want to have a bestseller or make some sort of artistic or literary impact, but do you have an immediate close-range goal? Is there some accomplishment that you’re striving for in the near future?
NS: One thing’s been very important to me from the start – that each book I put out there is the best I can do. I want to develop and grow as a writer, and I want to take my readers with me. I really want them to feel they’re getting something good each time, something worth their time and money.
TH: What are some of the things that most inspire you?
NS: I really take inspiration from everything around me – it’s a case of being open to ideas. I never say never – if something comes to me and I can’t use it straight away, I’ll note it for a later story.
TH: When inspiration shows up, are you carrying around a little notebook to write it down right there? Or do you carry the inspiration around cupped in your hand like water until you have a chance to write it down?
NS: I used to carry a notebook around. I’ve gotten out of the habit lately, but I must get back to it, because at the moment, I’ll scribble on whatever’s handy – a receipt, a napkin, even a bus ticket!
TH: What are the most successful ways you have used to promote yourself and your work?
NS: I think these days, an up-to-date website is critical. In the end, it’s about the work, and readers need to be able to find examples of that work – whether through excerpts, articles or short stories.
TH: Do you have some promotional ideas or avenues in mind that you haven’t tried yet?
NS: A lot of people have done book trailers lately – I haven’t yet, and I don’t know if I will, but it’s certainly an idea that interests me.
TH: Some say that professional writers have to look at themselves as a business, a branded commodity. Have you reached that point? How do you handle the financial side of writing?
NS: I think being practical about money is part of being a professional writer – you have to take responsibility for your income, just like with any other profession.
TH: How did it feel making that transition from day job to full-time writer, and did you do it before or after you hit the bestseller list?
NS: It was a big step and a little scary, but I felt the time was right. I wanted to devote the majority of my time to my writing and I felt like I had enough projects to carry it through. To answer your second question, I was hitting national bestseller lists at that stage, which was a wonderful boost.
TH: What can readers expect to see from you in the near future? What are you working on?
NS: I’m currently working on book 1 of a new series – the first book is called Angels’ Blood and is about a bounty hunter who bags, tags and transports escapee vampires to their masters…the angels. That book will release early 2009. I’m also working on the next book in my Psy/Changeling series, also set for release in 2009.
TH: What is the most memorable moment (good, bad, or other) you have had in your writing life?
NS: I think that first sale Call is something I’ll never forget – knowing that I was going to be a published writer, was just an amazing, amazing moment. Another absolutely wonderful moment came when I found out my first single title, Slave to Sensation, was going to auction. That completely blew my mind!
TH: Is there anything else you would like to talk about that I haven’t mentioned?
NS: I’d just like to say that writing is an art, but like with every art, you have to work at it. But the rewards are enormous, so it’s very much worth it!
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