A special speed blog from Nalini Singh:
It's difficult to pin down one moment or instant that was the definitive inspiration for the Psy/Changeling series. I sat down one day with these two vivid characters in my head and three weeks later, I had a first draft.
But there was an important story question that continues to fascinate me: What if the flip side of great mental ability was insanity of the worst kind, the kind that led to murder? What would you do to survive?
It's a complex question full of possibility and every time I think of it, I see new avenues to explore.
Holy crap, three weeks? Now that's inspirational. People tell me, I don't know how you can write so fast, but Nalini blows me out of the water! That's incredibly quick, which says she must've really been driven.
I've read all three of her Psy / Changeling novels, and I could easily talk about all of them, but I'm going to focus on the third one, Caressed by Ice. First let me do a little setup:
In previous books, a Psy female hooks up with a Changeling male. The Psy have gone all Vulcan, eliminating destructive emotions from their daily lives. They did this because the Psy had a bad track record for going insane and doing hideous things to people, becoming the most brutal butchers the world has ever known. So they instituted the Silence, that dearth of emotion I referenced before. But the heroines in the first two books were different; they had wants, needs and desires. They fell in love. With me so far? Good.
In Caressed by Ice, we have a juxtaposition. Instead of another Psy heroine, we get a Psy hero -- Judd, who has bonded with Brenna, a Changeling woman who was taken by a crazy Psy butcher who was a bad guy in previous books. Judd was the only one who understood what Brenna needed; her family was inclined to coddle and protect her, after what she suffered, and that just made her weak and angry about it.
My take? This worked for me soooo well. Other people have said they prefer the Psy woman / Changeling male dynamic because they like all the growling and posturing, and "you're my bonded mate, woman!" type stuff. But I loved Judd. I loved how beneath the training of the Silence, which is supposed to prevent him from feeling anything, he had this desperate attraction to Brenna. He wanted her so bad, and didn't think he would ever have her. Better yet, that he would ever deserve her. Talk about dark, gritty angst. If you like a tough but controlled hero, who secretly overflows with passion and need, you're going to love Judd. There's just something about thawing the iceman, you know?
Brenna was a powerful heroine as well. She had been wounded, but she wasn't crippled by it. She was looking for a way to heal and resume her normal life, not spend it neurotic and cowering. She had her own issues to deal with, apart from the relationship Judd refused to consider. I liked how she never lost sight of what she wanted, though. It gave a super interesting twist to the whole "you are my bonded mate" thing. Brenna never budged about wanting Judd; she was completely single-minded, no matter what her pack or what Judd himself said, for that matter. It was just cool as hell to see a woman staking a claim in that particular alpha way.
But that's not to say Judd was weak. In no means. I think he may have been the strongest hero of the lot, but that could be bias talking, because this was my favorite book of the lot. The other two were fantastic, though. And I didn't even like shifter / were books before I started reading Nalini.
My one complaint -- and it's minor -- was that I wanted to see what happened between Brenna and Judd before the book began. There was a bond in place, already formed, from when she was kidnapped and attacked. We're told that he stayed with her, after she was rescued, and that she wouldn't let anyone else touch her. Well, I would've liked to have seen that, perhaps in a prologue, so I could actually see the bond forming. But even so, the book was an A+.
Have you read it? What did you think? If not, go get it!
And our random prize winner from yesterday should email me. Happy Early Christmas! Angie Fox, I need to hear from you!
PS -- I'll post the grand prize winner after midnight, the one who walks away with all five of these books. People who comment frequently will definitely have an advantage in this drawing.
Labels: contest, early christmas