Welcome back to Under the Covers, Nalini! We’re so excited about SILVER SILENCE! This is a new take on your original Psy-Changeling series but for readers who may be new to the series, can you please explain what the series is about?
Thanks for having me!
The series is set just a little ways into the future, and features three races:
– The Psy, who have incredible powers of the mind, such as telepathy and telekinesis, but who also pay a terrible price for their gifts. They have the highest rates of insanity and murderous violence in the world. As a result of that, just over a hundred years earlier, they instituted a program called “Silence,” under which they conditioned all emotion out of themselves. (The short prologue of the very first book in the series, “Slave to Sensation” describes them in more detail: http://nalinisingh.com /books/psychangeling-series/sl ave-to-sensation/)
– Then there are the changelings, who are true shapeshifters. What I mean by this is that they can shift into their animal forms at will, and are both human and animal. There’s no battle between their natures. They are both parts of themselves and they are whole. The major groups we’ve gotten to know so far are the leopards, and the wolves. But the bears are coming in SILVER SILENCE!
– And last but not least, are the humans, who are just like you and me. They’re trapped between the two powerful races above, and most people tend to not think of them as a power. However, the humans have a critical role to play in this world.
What can you tell us about SILVER SILENCE?
I adored writing it! Valentin is an amazing hero with so much rough charm that I couldn’t help but fall for him along with the heroine. Talking of whom – she’s the ice-cool Silver Mercant, an incredibly powerful telepath from an equally powerful and mysterious family. Getting to see beneath her controlled surface and discovering the woman she is just made my love for this heroine grow even deeper.
And the StoneWater clan are a fantastic group. They’re the kind of friends who’d take you out for a good time, and you’d wake up the next morning with a goofy grin on your face and tattoos you have no recollection of getting – they’re trouble, but fun trouble that you can’t help but like. They also have such huge hearts.
Of course, the best part was watching Valentin and Silver butt heads. I’m grinning just thinking about it.
I have to confess, the bears have stolen my heart. It may very well be a “bear” thing, I always find these shifters so totally adorable. What was your favorite thing about playing with this new group of changelings?
Oh, everything! I loved getting to know them all, learning details about each of the clan members who make a significant appearance – but I also loved getting to know the pack as a whole and bear changelings as a group. They’re very different from leopards and wolves. I feel that each changeling group has its own personality, and with bears, it’s big and generous and (again) lots and lots of trouble.
How would you describe Valentin in three words?
Charming. Stubborn. Alpha. (He also wants me to add the words Gentleman Bear.)
What’s your favorite thing about Silver?
Her incisive wit. The things she says – half the time, even I’m not sure if she’s being dead serious or is just being deadpan.
I’ve always been impressed by your world building! How do you like to keep track of timelines, events, and characters in your world?
I keep detailed story bibles, but I also reread my work. In the case of Silver, for example, because she’s appeared in previous books, I reread every single scene where she’s been present or has been mentioned. I also reread every scene where her family was mentioned.
Timelines are really critical – I keep both overall timelines across the series, and detailed timelines for each book. This helps add depth and texture to the stories, because of instead of vague time references, I can be very specific. It also helps me figure out whether a scene takes place in darkness or in light when we have scenes set in various parts of the world.
Having said all that, a lot of the information is in my head. To me, these characters feel like friends and family, and this is their continuing life. That’s the reason why I write the slices of life vignettes for my newsletter – I love peeking into that continuing life.
Out of the bears, do you have a favorite? If so, please tell us what makes them so special to you. 🙂
Oh gosh, I can’t choose! I’m sure a bear would get insulted and put worms in my pockets or something. (Yes, a sulking bear is quite capable of sneaky revenge). I adore them all.
What’s the last book you read and loved?
We know you love tea! What’s your favorite kind and what do you love to pair it with?
At the moment, my favorite tea is a local one: Kapitea’s Mystique Forest Black Fruit Tea
And I’m currently in a cookie mood, so I usually have a couple of chocolate chip cookies with it. 🙂 Though, the other day, I made some “citrus duet” cookies and wow, yum!
What does your writing space look like and do you have a set writing “ritual”?
I work in my study, at a desk I’ve had since I was fifteen. 🙂 On the left of my desk, I have a cubby shelf that holds plants, photos, any awards I’ve won, and mementos readers have given me over the years. (My UTC mug, however, is in the kitchen, where it’s used often ;-))
On the right hand side of my desk, I have a corkboard with images that inspire me. I also have my book covers up on my walls, plus a shelf with my story bibles and research notes. Oh and lots of stationery. I love stationery. I can’t walk out of a stationery store without feeling a compulsion to buy more colored pens or post-its!
At the moment, it’s winter here, so I have a candle burning when I work at night, but I don’t really have rituals as such. Because I enjoy travel, I’ve learned to write pretty much anywhere.
I once drafted the first half of a novella while sitting on the floor in Chicago’s O’Hare airport because bad weather had grounded my flight (the only spare electrical socket I could find to charge my laptop was low down at the back of a column, so me and that column became best friends). Then there’s the infamous rush hour on-the-bus scribbling I used to do when I worked full time – jotting down scenes ideas/points in a notebook for when I got home and could type it all up.
The one thing I always do, however, is print out the second draft of my manuscript and edit it by hand. I feel the story gains so much more depth and clarity at that stage, as I dive into all the myriad layers of the characters’ lives/the world.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on my next contemporary, a spinoff of my Rock Kiss series. It features a hero who’s a gardener and a heroine who makes an impulsive decision that leads to a wickedly playful beginning. (For those who’ve read the Rock Kiss series, the hero is Sailor Bishop, brother of Gabriel “T-Rex” Bishop).
After that, I’m going to start work on my next Psy-Changeling book. I can’t tell you much about that yet, as I like to have plenty of time to think about a story and work on it, before I ever start talking about it.
And, as always, I’ll be working on some free short stories for my newsletter, so make sure you sign up if you’d like to get those (the Welcome newsletter has information about how you can access previous short stories). I’m way too lazy to spam you, so it’s one newsletter a month unless something crazy exciting happens. 🙂
Can’t wait for all of that to come out and for now we can’t wait until everyone reads SILVER SILENCE and falls in love with those bears!
Available June 13, 2017!
by Nalini Singh
Released: June 13th 2017
Series: Psy-Changeling Trinity #1
Published by Berkley
New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh returns to her extraordinary Psy-Changeling world with a story of wild passion and darkest betrayal...
Control. Precision. Family. These are the principles that drive Silver Mercant. At a time when the fledgling Trinity Accord seeks to unite a divided world, with Silver playing a crucial role as director of a worldwide emergency response network, wildness and chaos are the last things she needs in her life. But that’s exactly what Valentin Nikolaev, alpha of the StoneWater Bears, brings with him.
Valentin has never met a more fascinating woman. Though Silver is ruled by Silence—her mind clear of all emotion—Valentin senses a whisper of fire around her. That’s what keeps him climbing apartment buildings to be near her. But when a shadow assassin almost succeeds in poisoning Silver, the stakes become deadly serious…and Silver finds herself in the heart of a powerful bear clan.
Her would-be assassin has no idea what their poison has unleashed...
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