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Today’s guest is internationally bestselling paranormal romance/urban fantasy/contemporary author Nalini Singh! Her speculative fiction work includes the Psy-Changeling series, which contains fifteen novels total beginning with Slave to Sensation; the Guild Hunter series, which begins with Angels’ Blood and will soon contain twelve novels with the release of Archangel’s War in September; and the Psy-Changeling Trinity series, set in the same world as Psy-Changeling. Silver Silence, the New York Times and USA Today bestselling first Psy-Changeling Trinity book, won the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award for Paranormal Worldbuilding and was selected as one of Amazon’s Best Romance Books of the Year. It was followed by a second book in the series, Ocean Light, last year, and this will soon be followed by a third novel, Wolf Rain—coming June 4 in the US/Canada and June 6 in the UK/internationally!

Wolf Rain Cover

Wonder and Freedom
By Nalini Singh

Wonder. It’s a key component of why I’ve always been drawn to speculative fiction of every kind, whether that be science fiction, fantasy, paranormal romance, urban fantasy, or any of the myriad other subgenres that fall within the wider spec fic umbrella.

So much of our world is explored. At this point, the only place where another human being is unlikely to have stepped foot is probably a deep trench in the deepest oceans. The forests have been trekked. The deserts mapped. And while I would love to travel into the unexplored galaxy on a spaceship designed for long voyages, we may not make it there in my lifetime.

The world of the imagination, however, remains a vast vista. There are no limits to the realities we can create. So many of my stories have begun with a “what if” question. What if we had incredible telepathic powers, but those powers caused us to go mad? What would we do to survive? What if our world was ruled by archangels, cruel and beautiful immortals to whom humans are nothing but fireflies whose lights flicker in and out of existence in an immortal heartbeat?

Every question brings with it a new sense of wonder, and a new sense of discovery. I felt the same sense of discovery when I first stumbled upon science fiction and fantasy books as a child. They took me far beyond my neighborhood and even my city. I went to Pern with Anne McCaffrey, and I rode companions with Mercedes Lackey. I stepped on countless starships, learned many magics, and made first contact with a hundred alien civilizations. I’ve fallen down wormholes, stepped into secret kingdoms, been at the mercy of angry gods, and run with shapeshifters under a full moon.

I bring that sense of wonder into all of my books. I explore alongside my characters. I discover new places and new stories. Along with the wonder comes a joyous sense of freedom. I think, often, speculative fiction examines quite dark human emotions and quite dark human stories within fantastical constructed worlds. That created world gives us a little bit more distance. We can more easily look at the heart of who we are, good and bad, light and dark, and not flinch.

In paranormal romance, though I may tell stories in the context of shapeshifters and telepaths, archangels and vampires, the questions can be very much human. The nature of cruelty, and of love, the value of loyalty, and the pain of betrayal. However, the truly freeing thing about speculative fiction is the ability to push the boundaries of what we accept as normal in our everyday lives. So while we can explore the human heart, that isn’t the only available route. My angels and vampires, changelings and Psy, don’t have to act human in the wider sense, because, quite simply, they aren’t human.

That, to me, is one of the greatest challenges and greatest gifts of writing in this genre: the ability to create characters who go beyond humanity, and who force us to accept them for who they are—whether that means they have claws they won’t hesitate to use, the power to destroy entire civilizations, or laws that would be considered barbaric in our world. Within the story, we live in their world, not ours. And each world is new, with a million unexplored facets. We are all travelers in uncharted territory.

I will always treasure working in this genre, and I thank all those who came before me for writing stories that showed me extraordinary worlds and led me on this continuing journey into wonder.

Nalini Singh Photo
Photo Credit: Shay Barratt
Nalini Singh is the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of the Psy-Changeling and Guild Hunter paranormal series as well as the Rock Kiss contemporary series. Her books have been translated into more than 20 languages. Singh was born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand, and her extensive travel around the world has informed and inspired the writing of her novels.  She lives in New Zealand.  Connect with her online at nalinisingh.com, Facebook.com/AuthorNaliniSingh, Twitter.com/NaliniSingh, and Instagram.com/authornalinisingh.