Sunday, July 29, 2007

Glue?

This cracks me up!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Introducing Amir: Prince, Erudite and Anti-hero

I think the biggest concern I had when I finished The Princes of the Golden Cage was that the readers would not like the reluctant hero who is the main character in my book. Well, I ended up being wrong, thankfully. So I thought I should use this post to introduce readers of this blog (hopefully there is some) to the protagonists of my story: Amir, my lead player, and his half-brother Erik.

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 by Lynda Williams


The second installment in the Okal Rel Saga, Righteous Anger is a compelling coming-of-age story with intergalactic repercussions. It follows the tribulations of Horth Nersal, a genetically enhanced Sevolite highborn. Affected by a speech impediment, young Horth compensates for his lack of verbal skill with an uncanny ability with the sword. In a society ruled by Sword Law, where disputes are settled by duels, such ability is a precious gift. One Horth must rely on for his survival.

Righteous Anger is a wonderfully intricate story, filled with action, intrigue and drama. If you're interested in learning more about Lynda Williams' Okal Rel Universe and Saga, check out the links below.

EDGE Roundtable interview (includes talk on Courtesan Prince andRighteous Anger): http://www.dragonpage.com/2006/06/12/cover-to-cover-222/

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Origin of The Princes Of The Golden Cage

As you know I have a novel coming out in less than a month. As such, I am very busy promoting it and speaking about the novel with as many people as I can. The two questions I am being asked about the most are: what’s the inspiration behind the story, and was it inspired from the Arabian Nights?

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

Big, big sale at Night Shade Books

Its sale time at Night Shade again. They've got a few big titles coming in, and they need to clear space in a big way! So until midnight on Sunday, July 29th, they are offering 50% off all in-stock and forthcoming Night Shade books. Use the coupon code NSB0750, and there is a four book minimum order.
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!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Guess Who?


I had some time to waste...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Gone to the movies

British Columbia is in the midst of a heat wave. It sucks! I hate sweating! My husband and I had been confined to our cool basement for the last five days. (I say cool in the sense of fresh, because the d├ęcor is a throw back to the seventies, paneling and more paneling.) So needless to say, I really am looking forward to going to the movies this afternoon. Not only do they have air conditioning (aaahh, long exalted sigh of anticipation), but we’re going to see --drumroll--Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Woohoo!

When the planets align

A friend of mine once told me that in order to get a book published all the planets had to align. His way of saying it was hard, I suppose. So after much thinking, I decided it would be best if I talked about my path to publication instead of my book. But for this I’ll start at the very beginning—let’s step back in time a few years.

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.

The 411

Because this is a new blog, I thought I should start by introducing myself. So here's a little bit of info about moi.

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.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Welcome to my Blog

Hi everybody, this is my first post on my brand new blog. My first published book, The Princes of the Golden Cage, is coming out soon. (10th of August) The finishing touches are presently being added to the cover, and I should be able to post it soon, so keep checking.