Nicky Pellegrino and Stacy Gregg continue their BookBubble podcast series with an interview with best-selling author Nalini Singh.

For a long time Auckland’s Nalini Singh was the most famous author that New Zealanders had never heard of. Her books regularly appeared on the New York Times bestseller lists, but her work wasn’t even available here.

She’s a prolific writer – producing three to four books a year – and has won fans worldwide with her fantasy romance series, Psy-Changeling and Guild Hunter. She was profiled by Khalia Strong at ReadingRoom last year.

This year she made the leap from love to murder. Her first crime mystery, A Madness Of Sunshine, is set in a small settlement on the West Coast. Young women are disappearing and suspicion is casting a wide shadow.

Singh wrote the novel in secret, to free her from any expectations. It has an unexpected twist, a hint of romance and a strong sense of place – it’s very much a New Zealand story.

Excerpt from A Madness Of Sunshine by Nalini Singh (Hachette $34.99)

How could this city cop know that Golden Cove was branded into every cell in her body, that even when she’d slept in a soft bed in an expensive terraced house in London, while manicured grass grew in their shared city garden and designer gowns hung in her closet, she’d dreamed of this tiny town perched on the edge of an ocean so pitiless it had taken more souls than the devil.

Box stowed, she turned to hug Josie again, then got in the Jeep to drive toward that same pitiless ocean, and when she passed a narrow road that led inland, she deliberately didn’t look its way.

There was nothing for her down there.

The old-growth forest on the edge of town closed in around her for five minutes before it began to thin out, let in flashes of the sea. But the cabin that stood on the far side of that growth, overlooking the sand below the cliffs, was shadowed by a huge rata tree. Sunlight only speared through on the brightest days, but that was all right. There was plenty of light on the beach once you made your way down the precariously narrow track.

Bringing the Jeep to a stop facing the side of the cabin, she just sat and stared for a long while, but nothing changed. There was no one there. No one would come out with a big smile and wave her in for a cup of tea. No one would invite her for a walk on the beach. And when Christmas came and the rata bloomed as scarlet as fresh blood, no one would sit with her under its shade.

She swallowed the lump in her throat, then made herself open the driver’s-side door and get out. Leaving her stuff where it was, she crossed the short distance to the cabin and walked up the steps to the small porch. Leaves crunched underfoot and she saw a spider, legs furred and long, scuttle across the wood. Thick spiderwebs hung on the eaves, a thinner web around the doorknob.

Turning it, the mechanism stiff, she opened the door.

And walked into a thousand memories.

Copyright © 2019 by Nalini Singh

BookBubble is made with the support of Creative New Zealand Toi Aotearoa

Nicky Pellegrino is the author of 11 novels, many of them published internationally. Her latest book is Tiny Pieces Of Us (published by Hachette in 2020).

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