Sunday, December 23, 2007
Far to the north of the hot desert land of Telfar lies the frozen kingdom of Sorvinka. Prince Amir has traveled there, leaving his sultanate in the hands of his half-brother Erik as he seeks to ask the king, the father of the beautiful Princess Eva, for her hand in marriage. But Sorvinka has grown dangerous during Princess Eva's absence, as she and Amir discover to their terror, when their force of guards and eunuchs is cut down by ruthless brigands. And upon their arrival, their welcome to Eva's family stronghold is as bitterly cold as the land itself. Accustomed to the golden cage of his upbringing, Prince Amir must navigate his way through the strange and cold-blooded customs of the Sorvinkans, and somehow find the truth behind the kidnapping of the king's youngest daughter, the Princess Aurora, by the Sorvinkan’s traditional enemies, the neighboring Farrellians. But what can a stranger in a foreign land do?
The King’s Daughters is also available at Borders, Amazon.ca and Chapters.
So go forth and pre-order!
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Three cool guys. Starting on the left is Jason Williams, the other half of the Night Shade books' team, author Alex Bledsoe and Jeremy Lassen.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
This year the World fantasy convention was held in Saratoga Spring, NY, a stunning city with streets bordered by majestic Victorian houses. Horseracing is Saratoga’s main attraction, so there are statures of horses everywhere, either the solid bronze type or the whimsical fiberglass ones.
This was my favorite horse.
WFC was an opportunity for me to meet my publisher: me and Jeremy Lassen from Night Shade Books.
I enjoyed Dave Duncan's reading.
I met a lot of new people at the con. Here are some of them: Gary Frank, Charles Coleman Finlay, Jude-Marie Green, editor at Abyss & Apex, James Alan Gardner, Joel Champetier and his wife Valerie, Peter Halasz, administrator at the Sunburst Award, L.E. Modesitt, Derryl Murphy, Linda L. Donahue, Yves Meynard and Benoit Girard of the fanzine “The Frozen Frog”.
I was happy to see many friendly faces at the con, like: Christian Sauvé, Jean-Louis Trudel, Cliff Samuels and Eileen Capes, Robert j. Sawyer, Matthew Hughes, Randy McCharles and Val King, John Joseph Adams and Jenny Rappaport.
Me and Christian Sauvé of Fractale Franboise.
The autograph reception was a success. The room was buzzing with activity.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
“Night Shade Books has a reputation for producing fine works of speculative fiction, including reprints of genre masters, and they don’t let their readers down with The Princes of the Golden Cage.”—Apex Science Fiction and Horror Digest
“Nathalie Mallet’s debut novel, The Princes of the Golden Cage, hits the ground with both feet and takes off running. From the very first page the action is heart-pounding, the intrigue mysterious, and the story creative.”—Grasping for the Wind
“Like Scheherazade, Mallet gives us a world of sand, roses and tulips, flowing silks in the richest colors, jewels and riches in a treasury worthy of Ali Baba’s cave, and sumptuous captivity for scores of young men all yearning for a single throne.”—Reading the Leaves
“I started reading it this morning, for a break after breakfast and writing, and I couldn't put it down until I was finished. It was fun, fresh, and fast-paced. An impressive book, not just a great debut.”—Charles Coleman Finlay, author of The Prodigal Troll and Wild Things
For more details read The prodigal blog.
A well-attended panel about the state of Canadian SF & Fantasy. From left to right: Lynda Williams, Lisa Smedman, Matthew Hughes, Robert J. Sawyer and Eileen Kernaghan.
Matthew Hughes launched his latest book, The Commons. Matt and I are stable mates at Night Shade Books, which, by the way, has just released, The Spiral Labyrinth, the follow-up to Majestrum, and the second book in the trilogy featuring Henghis Hapthorn.
Random pictures of the banquet held just before the Aurora Awards ceremony.
Guest of Honour Matthew Hughes delivered a great speech.
Karl Johanson, editor of NeoOpsis Science Fiction Magazine, receiving his Award for best work in English (Other).
Robert J. Sawyer won best short-form work in English for Biding Time.
Peter S. Beagle presented the award for the best long-form work in English.
From left to right: Martin Springett, Christian Sauvé, Jean-Louis Trudel, Dave Duncan, Robert J. Sawyer and Karl and Stephanie Johanson.
Here's the announcement list of this year's Aurora Awards winners:
Here’s an excerpt from Book Fetish: “Very much a fantasy oriented whodunnit…an original ending, several unexpected plot twists, complete with cross-dressing sultanas-to-be and a quasi-cliffhanger at the end.”Read more.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Here is a quote from Don D’Ammassa’s review:
“A very solid, satisfying fantasy/mystery with pretty good characterizations and a well developed setting and backdrop. One of the best first fantasy novels of the year.” You can check out his webpage, Critical Mass, and read the entire review: Here. (Scroll down a bit.)
Monday, September 3, 2007
Here’s an excerpt from The Book Swede:
“All in all: a riveting book, not just a tale of mystery, but of magic, betrayal and love. That tends to be the blurb logline for just about every fantasy novel, but this is one where it is true and well-earned.” Read the entire review.
What Paul Abbamondi at Wistful Writings says about my book?
“The Princes of the Golden Cage is a lot of fun and a literal page-turner. All the hints and aptly placed twists culminate with an ending that is completely shocking while making sense in the run of things. I've even forgiven Mallet for making me start another series, but for what it's worth this is definitely a standalone adventure. Wholly intriguing and richly imagined, it's one of the better reads of 2007 that I've been lucky to enjoy.” Read more.
Here’s an excerpt from SciFiChick:
“The Princes of the Golden Cage is a fantastic mystery. And as the mystery dominates the story, I’d consider it more of a mystery than fantasy story. Though there are definitely elements of the fantastic with the magic-related deaths and supernatural monsters…. Fans of both mystery and fantasy will enjoy this exciting novel.” Read more.
Interview with Nathalie Mallet
Q: Nathalie was kind enough to answer ten questions for Fantasy Debut.
According to your blog, you based the world of PRINCES on the Ottoman Turk's Kafes system, which you learned about on a documentary. However, your writing betrays a significant amount of research on the Ottoman culture. You appeared to have researched everything from the type of clothing worn by different social classes to the type of pastries that were popular. How much research did you have to do to write so convincingly? Did you go to Istanbul to see the Kafes for yourself?
A: I did quite a bit of research, which for me isn’t a chore at all because I have a true passion for history and culture. As for visiting Istanbul, I wish I could say that I had. By all accounts, it is a fabulous city. No, what I did instead is use the Topkapi palace’s virtual tour set up by the Republic of Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism. (One can also download a very detailed map of the palace. A very helpful tool when you’re building your own imaginary palace.)
Q: All the other details I found in books and websites. I conducted my research in two waves: the first I did before starting the book and the second, more specific that one, when I had two drafts penned down. By then I knew what I was missing or wanted to add to the story to give it its Arabian Night flavor.
The pastry-eating demons were my favorite. How can you hate a demon who likes sugar? Did you make that up or did it come out of legend? And if it did come out of legend, which one? And if you did make it up, how on earth did you think of such a thing?
A: Glad you loved it, Tia. The idea didn’t come from a legend but from one of many folklore and mythical books I read—I can’t recall which one it actually came from, though. Anyway, these volumes are seeded with little-known facts concerning mythical creatures. Djinn, for example, are known to relish eating bones and to be allergic to salt. I found only one mention of these creatures craving sweets. It was enough. The image of a powerful winged demon stuffing his face with pastry was just too appealing to pass up. I had to use it, even though it was never specified what type of demon it was—one of the pleasures of writing fantasy is that it allows you the freedom to take small liberties with things. You can read the entire interview and review here.
Nathalie Mallet sets up the problems faced by her hero, Prince Amir, on the very first page of her lively novel, The Princes of the Golden Cage. From that point on, she artfully entwines a mystery with a journey of self-discovery that includes a motivating love interest on the side. The characters are individuals from the start, and the tale beguiles the reader with a story-telling armoury drawn from the best tradition of secret passages, hidden identities, supernatural thrills and dramatic combat. Read Lynda Williams’ entire review here.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Princes Unlocks Fantasy
Fantasy author Nathalie Mallet told SCI FI Wire that her novel The Princes of the Golden Cage is a blend of fantasy and mystery and tells the story of how a prince wins his freedom.
"Even though I often refer to this story as an 'Arabian Nights whodunit,' it wasn't inspired by it," Mallet said in an interview. "Out of the blue [one day], I remembered a documentary I had seen ... on the great palaces of the world. The episode that came so suddenly to my mind recounted the story of a palace where princes were imprisoned until one was chosen as heir to the throne."
Although the details of the episode were still vague in Mallet's mind at that point, she knew she had found something, she said. "It wasn't one of Archimedes' 'Eureka!' moments, but it was darn close," Mallet said. "It took me only a few hours to hunt down the information concerning the palace in question. And as I dug deeper into the history behind it, I realized that the something I had found was a real treasure."More.
Here's an excerpt from Graeme’s Fantasy Book review:
“The sense of paranoia within the Cage almost leaps off the page and grabs the reader by the throat and I don’t think I’ve read an ‘Arabian Nights’ style fantasy novel where the stereotypical Grand Vizier, dashing swordsman and beautiful princess have felt more at home. Considering this is a relatively quick read (298 pages), the characterization has to be spot on and Mallet handles this superbly.” Read more.
Excerpt from Bookgasm:
“a pretty darn good read. The Princes of the Golden Cage from Nathalie Mallet and Night Shade Books may not be your normal fantasy cup of tea, but it has an intriguing concept, and enough going on with its characters that you might look forward to a sequel.” Read more.
“There’s nothing new about novels mixing royal intrigue, romance, and magic. However, what elevates this book into one of the year’s most enjoyable reads is the novel’s oppressive setting. Just as submarine movies like Das Boot revel in the contained spaces which push all human interactions through a pressure-cooker of drama, so too does this novel’s upscale prison heighten every nuance of court intrigue and each whisper of romance. When combined with Mallet’s sympathetic characters and fast-paced writing, the result is a fun, addictive story that should appeal to readers of several different genres, from fantasies to historical and romance novels.”Read more.
First we visited downtown Calgary. I couldn’t resist posing with that cow!
There’s nothing like a trip to the sushi boat restaurant to prepare you for a Con. In the forefront is Nina Munteanu, author of Darwin’s Paradox, then Karl Johanson of Neo-Opsis Science Fiction Magazine and at the back Dominic Maguire and Virginia O’Dine of Bundoran Press.
Now that we had acquired nourishment Nina and I could attack the Con. That’s us with the Dragon Moon publisher, Gwen Gades, in the pink Blazer with Nina Munteanu center and me.
Three wonderful ladies and talented writers I had the privilege to spend time with. On the left Allison Sinclair, Marie Jakober and Lynda Williams. I also met author Jennifer Rahn, Hayden Treholm and (drumroll) Jack McDevitt. I have an especially fond memory of eating breakfast with Adria Laycraft, a young writer on the rise. She showed me pictures of her lovely garden and we talked about plants, landscaping and writing, of course.
My first panel, Crossing Genres, (a hot topic these days) with Nina Munteanu.
Nina Munteanu and Jack McDevitt, they were on several panels together.
Historical European Medieval and Renaissance’s martial art, one of my favorite lectures/demonstrations.
Then there was Star Trek: the musical. It was mostly bad singing…but oh so fun.
As usual in conventions, we were invaded by aliens. There was so many of these creatures that some were sold at auction. This lady bought those two—in my opinion, money well spent.
We were never in real danger though, because the Men in Black were there.
At the end of a successful Con, writers were exhausted! Lynda Williams certainly was. I was still standing…but only barely.
I also suggest that you explore his blog and read his other reviews and articles. http://www.thefantasyreview.com/
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
And this one from Jeremy Brown at The Fantasy Review—Fantasy Book news and Reviews, almost made me cry (of joy). Seriously—it got to me! So please give it a read.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
Here is the link:http://evzine.blogspot.com/2007/08/reading-princes-of-golden-cage-by.html
Sunday, August 5, 2007
Mallet, Nathalie (author).
Aug. 2007. 320p.
Night Shade Books (Publisher), paperback, $7.99
"In the later Ottoman Empire, instead of killing all princes but the imperial heir (an earlier custom), lesser princes were kept in luxurious captivity, more or less as backups. Middling prince Amir has become a scholar, which makes him suspect when his brothers begin dying of apparently supernatural causes. Aided by highest-ranking brother Erik, Amir must unravel multiple plots to avoid murder or painful execution. Mallet has realized a fascinating, historically derived world whose characters, especially Amir and Erik, are skillful variations of Ottoman archetypes. The plot is simple, but the pacing is excellent." Booklist
Thursday, August 2, 2007
Prince Amir, the first-person narrator, wants none of this, preferring to stay unheeded on the sidelines and go his own way as a scholar/alchemist.
Then princes start dying at each full moon, mysterious deaths that smack of magic to the point where even a young alchemist could become suspect. Amir could use an ally, and he finds one in Erik, a half-brother with a Nordic mother and much broader, more extroverted scholarly interests in things like economy, politics, history, and law. The two make a good investigative team, whenever Erik isn’t busy introducing Amir into the mysteries of courtly life or sparring with him in friendly practice duels (elements closer to a Dumas swashbuckler than tales of old Araby).
In all, this is a fine debut, a vibrant blend of mystery, adventure, and the fantastic.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Prince Amir Ban is a loner with a penchant for alchemy, who’s never as happy as when his head is buried in one of his beloved science books. He is brooding, pessimistic and afflicted by sudden bouts of melancholy. His only wish is to be free. His sole ambition is to remain anonymous. He’s flawed, what can I say, I love flawed characters. They seem more real and more human to me. Amir also has great qualities. He is intelligent, brave, when need be, and capable of inner growth and acts of kindness. But I must admit that it is his weaknesses I love the most: his suspicious, sometime sarcastic, nature; the way his emotions overwhelm him when he falls in love with Eva, even how he keeps a festering grudge against his brother Darius.
Erik for his part is totally different than Amir. Not only physically—Erik is tall and blond, while Amir is shorter and dark—but also in temperament. Playful Erik is an eternal optimist. Ambitious and patriotic, he would jump at the chance to rule and displays a burning interest in the kingdom’s affairs. Amir, on the other hand, couldn’t care less about any of those matters. However, both brothers share a similar passion for swordplay. I think they form a good pair, as one possesses qualities the other lacks and vice versa.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Righteous Anger interview: http://www.dragonpage.com/2007/07/16/cover-to-cover-271/
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Well, THE PRINCES OF THE GOLDEN CAGE wasn’t inspired by the Arabian Nights as most people seem inclined to believe—for good reason, because this story does possess the exotic flavour of those tales. No. In reality, the story was inspired by true fact.
True fact: The Kafes, which literally means “the cage” in Turkish, really existed. Seriously. Those princely chambers/cells are located in the Topkapi palace in Istanbul and are visited by thousands of tourists every year.
In the early history of the Ottoman Empire, the Sultans’ eldest sons weren’t automatically destined to the throne, instead the Prince who had managed to prove himself the most apt to govern in the eyes of his father was chosen as the next ruler. Needless to say, that made for constant warring among the Princes, which threatened the stability of the country. The Kafes was then instituted as a solution. Although locking the Princes into one section of the palace might have solved one problem, it created another: the sultans that resulted from the cage were often paranoid and lived in the constant fear of a coup. Most proved to be poor rulers. Later, the Ottoman succession rule was changed to a “rule of elderness” and the Kafes was abolished.
So now you all know the inspiration behind THE PRINCES. From this historical treasure-trove, I plotted a mystery involving magic and mythical creatures set in a fictional world. However, many of the cultural details peppering the story are true: the Sultan’s silver-soled shoes, many of the rules of the harem, to name only a few. I also used some Turkish words in the book. I love mixing the real with the fictitious. One of the wonderful things about writing fiction is the freedom to do just that.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
And just to entice you a bit more, they've just added a whole bunch of new forthcoming titles to the site, including new novels from Greg Egan and Walter Jon Williams , the new Detective Inspector Chen novel from Liz Williams, the fourth and fifth Clark Ashton Smith volumes, and a post-apocalyptic anthology called Wastelands that will include stories from Stephen King, Jonathan Lethem, George R.R. Martin, Orson Scott Card, Gene Wolfe, Nancy Kress, Octavia Butler, and a whole lot more. In addition, for those that keep asking, they are reprinting a bunch of classics. Volume one of the Clark Ashton Smith series is sold out, but will be reprinted in September. Volume one of the Hodgson series will be reprinted in January, and volume two will be reprinted in May.
Night Shade Books is home to a bunch of great writers, and they have tons of wonderful books to choose from, including mine,THE PRINCES OF THE GOLDEN CAGE. So if you are an avid reader like me, it’s time to stock up on books. Go and check it out, people!
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
When I started writing I gave myself a four-novel deadline. If I couldn’t get published after having written four books…well, then it was back to work for me. At the time the idea for THE PRINCES OF THE GOLDEN CAGE came to me, I had just finished writing my first novel—which I consider as my practice book—and had completed the outline for a second one. Sadly I knew that both stories would be difficult to market. I wanted my next story to appeal to a lot of people while being captivating for me at the same time. So with my deadline in mind, I set that outline aside and decided to write something else. I wracked my brain for a new concept, but nothing I could find in my mental rolodex of stories and plots thrilled me. I knew I needed something new, something exciting and totally different from what I had written so far or read anywhere.
After I came up with the idea for PRINCES, (I will detail how this story came to me in a later post.) wrote and polished the novel to the best of my ability, I started querying agents. Although when I wrote the book I knew it had potential, but once I finished it I wasn’t so sure of this anymore. (I always lose perspective at this point, and doubt everything.) So I was very surprised when no less than seven agents of the twelve I queried asked for a partial. Of those seven, five demanded a full manuscript, and finally three offered to represent me. I was shocked. And honestly, for a little while, I didn’t know what to do. I had hoped to attract the attention of an agent. Even in my wildest dreams, I never conceived I would have to choose between three.
After talking with each agent—one of them had ideas for the book that made me cringe by the way—I chose Jenny Rappaport, for several reasons… At the time, she was with Creative Media, an excellent agency. Jenny was filling the void left by Nadia Cornier’s departure. But that’s not the main reason I’ve picked her. It was her enthusiasm, her passion, and also the fact that she loved and understood my work that guided my decision—and I never regretted it. Jenny is also a keen promoter, which in this business is a big plus. When a couple months later Jenny joined the L. Perkins Agency, everything fell into place. It was the right agent with the right agency. In other words, the planets had aligned. And sure enough, less than two weeks later, Jenny called me with the news that Night Shade Books, a wonderful publishing house form California, were not only interested in buying THE PRINCES OF THE GOLDEN CAGE, they wanted a sequel. I can’t recall having been so happy in my life before, okay, maybe on my wedding day. Still, the emotion I felt then, and that I continue to experience every time I think that the first instalment in the PRINCE AMIR MYSTERY SERIES is about to come out, is a deep feeling of fulfillment. In this life, very few people can see their dream come true. I am among the lucky ones…and I know it.
As you already known, my name is Nathalie Mallet and I am a writer. And for those who are wondering how to pronounce my name, the H in Nathalie is silent, and Mallet is pronounced like ballet, the dance, but with an M.
I was born and raised in a French-Canadian costal town in New Brunswick, thus English is my second language. Although nothing in my background--I used to work in business management--predestined me to writing, I've always had a deep-rooted passion for literature, and I always dreamed of being a writer and spent my youth with a book in front of my face. I believe I owe this passion to my father. He was constantly reading, so I grew up surrounded by books. When later, I began buying my own books, my father would snatch them up before I had the chance to read them. If I was lucky, I would find the books hidden somewhere, with their pages all dog-eared. Otherwise, the books were returned to me a few days later accompanied with a complete review of the plot and critique of the prose. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed those conversations, I couldn't help wishing that they would take place after I had read the books.
However, it was only once my husband and I moved to British Columbia that I was able to quit my day job and write full-time.
Tomorrow I will tell you the story surrounding the birth of my first "Published" novel, The Princes of the Golden Cage.