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Bestselling author Nalini Singh is out of this world. Lauded for her PsyÐChangeling series published by Berkley, Smith offers the ninth installment, Blaze of Memory, this month.
Set in the not-so-distant future, Singh's books take place in an alternate Earth comprised of three varied races: the Psy, the changelings and the humans.
The ever-popular Singh breaks it down. "The Psy, who have phenomenal powers of the mind (telepathy, telekinesis and psychometry to name a few), are all linked to a sprawling neural network called the PsyNet," she explains. "They're brilliant and gifted but also cold, having conditioned emotions out of themselves -- via a program called Silence -- in an effort to fight the madness that seems tied with their abilities. The changelings, who are human and animal in one, are able to shift into their animal forms any time they choose. I focus on two packs, the DarkRiver leopards and the SnowDancer wolves, and they, like others of their kind, are the polar opposites of the Psy -- they adore sensation, live for touch.
"And the humans -- the 'worker bees' of the world, as one heroine puts it -- tend to be considered the weakest of the three races, but they have hidden facets."
Blaze of Memory picks up with Dev Santos, the leader of the Forgotten -- a branch that defected from the PsyNet a hundred years ago -- as he discovers an unconscious Psy woman left outside his apartment. With no memory of her former life, she just might be a nefarious instrument meant to infiltrate the Forgotten from within.
When Singh first started her literary career, she wrote series romances for Silhouette Desire, but now she says, "I write paranormals and urban fantasy romance. I really love this subgenre. There's so many places I can go, so many avenues I can explore."
With many travel notches on her belt, those avenues aren't merely metaphorical. Born in Fiji and reared in New Zealand, Singh spent time working in Japan while carving out time to travel around Asia. Now living once again in New Zealand, she is always looking forward to her next journey.
"I think travel opens up the mind, feeds the imagination," she muses. "And sometimes it has a much more obvious impact -- Archangel's Kiss, my February 2010 release [in the Guild Hunter series], is set partly in the Forbidden City, Beijing, which I traveled to a few years back. As soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to use it in a book somehow. It was just a case of waiting for the right story."
Although she's well known among readers in the United States, Singh's visibility
is increasing in New Zealand. The writer, who once upon a time worked as a lawyer,
a librarian, a candy factory general hand, a bank temp and an English teacher (not simultaneously!), is winning fans all over the globe -- two series at a time.
The first chapter of Blaze of Memory is available on her website, along with other short stories set in the Psy-Changeling world. Next up in the Guild Hunter series, Archangel's Kiss follows Elena and Raphael from Angels' Blood.
-- Lauren Spielberg
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