Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Category vs. single title and other things

Today I'm interviewing Nalini Singh who writes both category romance for Silhouette and single title paranormal romance at Berkley. Writers who write for HQ/Sil and single title houses at the same time are becoming more and more common, so I asked her what it was like:

J.A. You have started a single-title paranormal series with Berkley, but you also write category romance for HQ. How is writing single title different from category? Is one more challenging for you than the other?

N.S. It's difficult to compare the two, because they're so different. Each utilizes different skill-sets. For my short contemporaries, it's all about focusing on the two leads, while with my paranormals, world-building plays a critical part. They are both equally challenging, in their own unique ways.

J.A. On your road to publication, how did you handle rejection? How did you keep up your belief in yourself to keep going in the face of rejection? (If you were never rejected, skip the question!)

N.S. Oh yeah, I have a stack of rejections! I think what kept me going was this hunger I had to write. That's why I always ask people why they're writing. Because in the end, all you have to pull yourself up and keep the faith is your belief in what you're doing. That hunger, that passion, is so so important.

Another thing that helped was that I didn't focus obsessively on a project. I would love it, write, send it out, then start on something else, so a rejection wouldn't hit me as hard - yes it hurt, but I knew I'd have something else to go out with.

J.A. What would be your advice to a new writer trying to "break in?"

N. S. This is a cliche but it's true - write what you love. Forget about following the market. Be true to yourself. I wrote Slave to Sensation without knowing where I was going to sell it or if anyone would buy it. But my passion for the story came through and I believe that's what made it sell.

Have faith in yourself and the stories you want to tell. And be very choosy about who you allow to criticise your work. Don't write a book by committee. Stay true to your voice.

J.A. Describe your writing day--do you write full time or have a day job as well? If you'd like, please share ways you motivate yourself to keep writing and producing your great books.

N.S. I am fairly full time - I do occasional other work to stop from becoming a hermit but otherwise, I write. But that's a new development - until a few months ago, I worked full time. As such, my work days are still developing in terms of a routine but that's part of what I like about writing - you can set your own timetable, be flexible, so long as you meet deadlines.

My motivation is mostly internal. I want to write, to tell these stories. But to kickstart myself if necessary, I'll read or take a break from everything and then come back to it fresh.

J.A. Thank you!! I'm always interested to hear other authors' points of view.

Nalini has a March release from Berkley Sensation, Visions of Heat, second in her series, and in February released Bound by Marriage with Silhoutte Desire. You can read more about Nalini at

and her blog at



Jen said...

Love the interview! Thanks to Nalini, and you, Jennifer. I have Visions of Heat in my TBR stack.

Nalini Singh said...

Jen, hope you enjoy it! :)

Jen said...

Thanks! I'm positive I will. The cover is drool-worthy!

sixy said...

Thanks Jennifer and Nalini for the interview. I love writing and got a new idea for an old story I love today. I actually wrote it down. My enthusiasm is gradually coming back, but it peters out too fast. How do you stay enthusiastic after, say, a life's event throws you off balance? Thank you so much again.

Bonnie Vanak said...

Great interview, Nalini. I read CRAVING BEAUTY a while back and you have a wonderful, lyrical writing style. Congratulations on your new releases, wishing you much success!

Penny, good question... I've had one or two of those life events thrown my way. It's very tough. Sometimes you need to take a break. Or you can pour all the emotions into the story, and find your love of the story again by thinking about what stimulated you to write it in the first place. I find "white noise" time is a good time to think about the story, the characters and what makes it all tick and that regenerates enthusiasm. Plus it's a great way to get laundry done. :-) Good luck and kudos to you for getting back on track by writing down that idea!