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Today Open Book Society reviewer, Heidi, chats with Guild Hunter and Psy-Changeling author, Nalini Singh.  They discuss Singh’s newest Guild Hunter release, Archangel’s Legion, where New York Archangel Raphael and his consort, Elena, are once again put to the test!

  • Read our review for Archangel’s Legion (Guild Hunter, Book #6) here at OBS.

Nalini SinghHeidi: Some of our readers may not be aware that before you became an author you had an array of different professions: English teacher, candy factory worker, and even a lawyer, just to name a handful!  How do you think the experiences you have gained from your wide range of professions have affected your writing?

Nalini Singh: I think they’ve all contributed in different ways. For example, they’ve given me the experience to write about characters in different professional settings (corporate office, warehouse, school…). My various work positions also brought me into contact with all kinds of people, which I think has helped me write well-rounded characters.  I also learned excellent research skills during law school and while working as a lawyer, which helps me track down arcane information.

Heidi:After starting the widely popular Psy-Changeling series, which I am a HUGE fan of, how did you prepare yourself to switch gears when you began the Guild Hunter series?  What are the challenges you face while continuing both series simultaneously?

Nalini Singh: I actually didn’t intend to write a second series – Angels’ Blood was meant to be a stand alone, but as I wrote, it became clear it was the start of a series. So I just ran with it.

The biggest challenge is probably the work it takes to maintain continuity over two different series. It’s the details that make a strong series, and I spend a lot of time making sure those details are correct.

Heidi:Where did the idea of the Guild Hunter series originate?

Nalini Singh:  One day, I saw in image in my head of an archangel high up in a tower in New York. I had to know who he was!! And that’s where it began.

I think part of what led up to this idea was the fact I’d read so many stories where an immortal fell in love with a mortal, and he/she didn’t act like I believed an immortal would act. My view is that if a character has been alive for a thousand years or more, he or she isn’t going to be “human” in the wider sense. As I write, I never once forget that Raphael, the archangel I saw in that tower, is a being of incredible power, power that fundamentally alters his view of the world.

The other thing that influenced the story was my desire to see what comes after the happy ever after in a mortal/immortal relationship. The falling in love part is easy in many ways – it’s navigating the sea change in both characters lives after they’re together that’s incredibly difficult. How does an archangel learn to share power in a relationship? How does a guild hunter used to fierce independence come to accept that as a newly born immortal, she’s now weaker than a child in comparison to the other immortals? These are the questions that drive the story going forward.

Heidi:When thinking of the Guild Hunter series your two leads Raphael and Elena instantly come to mind, but as the series has progressed we’ve all come to know and love Raphael’s Seven!  Dmitri’s book, Archangel’s Blade, was one of my absolute favorites!  Do you have plans in the works for books for the rest of the Seven as well (I’m personally holding out hope for an Illium book)?

Nalini Singh: As I said above, Angels’ Blood was never meant to kick off a series, so the Seven were only ever intended to appear in that one book. What was I thinking?! They were incredibly vivid characters from the start, and I would love, love, LOVE to write all their stories, but it must be the right time and the right story.

I feel I did justice to Dmitri and Jason in their books. Archangel’s Blade and Archangel’s Storm are very different books, but that’s as it should be, because Dmitri and Jason are very different men. I want to have that same feeling with the others of the Seven, so I’m going to wait until they’re ready – I’m not going to rush it.

Heidi:In your latest Guild Hunter installment, Archangel’s Legion, Raphael and Elena are faced with one problem after another, including things they never expected could happen; angels falling from the sky and vampires getting sick, to name a few!  But no matter what is thrown their way, Raphael and Elena always manage to persevere!  Why do you think that is and what could readers learn from this power couple?

Nalini Singh: Elena would laugh to think she can teach anyone anything about being in a relationship! The fact is, these two are still finding their way – they fight, they occasionally infuriate one another, they laugh, they play, and they stand together. It’s messy and it’s complicated, but the love, as they say in the book, is never in question.

Heidi:Elena has been struggling in her relationship with her father since tragedy struck their home when she was just a child.  Now she sees similarities of her childhood with what her little sister is going through now.  Is there any hope that Jeffrey will ever learn from his mistakes?  And, will Elena and he ever be able to get back the relationship they once had?

Nalini Singh: That, I’m afraid, is an open-ended question. The revelations in Archangel’s Legion change one of the foundational aspect of their relationship, so I guess we’ll have to see where they go from here.

Heidi:What can your fans expect to see in the future of the Guild Hunter series?  Do you have any other projects you’re working on that we can expect to see in the near future?

Nalini Singh: Elena and Raphael’s story is definitely not over, so you’ll see them again. As for the next book, I have the germ of an idea that I’m allowing to percolate for the next couple of months as I work on Shield of Winter.

When it comes to other projects, I’m like most writers – I always have things going on in the background. However, since I write two series, I have to think about whether I want to release something else when there might be a big break in between the first book and the next (this is where I admit that I clearly cannot write a stand alone – I always want to know about everyone else!). So for now, I’ll just work on other projects in the background until I have enough material to release a couple of things at once.

Heidi:  Thanks so much, Nalini, for taking the time to talk with us about this exciting series and we all look forward to seeing what happens next!

Thanks for the great interview!

Nalini Singh is the New York Times bestselling author of the Psy-Changeling and Guild Hunter paranormal romance series for Berkley.  Born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand, Singh currently lives in New Zealand.  Her extensive travels have served as inspiration for her writing.  Visit her online at her Official Website here, give her a like on Facebook here, and follow her on Twitter here.