Guest Author

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A Fascination with Flight


The idea of being able to fly, of soaring above skyscrapers and mountains, sweeping across the sky and riding the winds, has always fascinated me. I guess it’s no surprise that I write a series about angels.


It was when I began writing the Guild Hunter books that I realized I needed to investigate the physical composition of wings and of the bodies that supported them. Of course, I’ve taken considerable artistic license with my angels, but there is an underlying structure of truth.


Did you know that birds wings are protected against becoming waterlogged? The waterproofing is created through a combination of naturally produced oil and the positioning of the feathers themselves. So when you read the scenes in Archangel’s Consort where Elena and Raphael are flying through a storm, remember that their wings don’t actually get heavier—though it may feel that way because of the strength required to fly, and the driving punch of the rain.


Flight also requires considerable muscle strength—as Elena discovers after her transformation. You are after all, supporting your entire body weight and cutting through the sky at the same time. I didn’t think it would be realistic—even within the confines of a fictional world—to have Elena be able to fly immediately upon waking with wings. Now that she is able to fly, she still has a number of challenges to face, because there are aerial maneuvers she doesn’t yet have the strength and/or skill to execute.


And yet, in spite of the hard work, there is wonder in being able to fly, a dizzying kind of freedom.


Aside from the structure of wings, I also had to consider the houses that would suit winged beings. At the Refuge, which we see in Archangel’s Kiss, houses are built right up to cliff edges and doors open up into nothing but air—lethal for someone without wings, but providing a convenient takeoff point for an angel.


A version of the same thing applies to the Tower itself. Neither its roof nor its high balconies have railings, allowing for easy landings. As for the homes within the Angel Enclave, they are built with soaring inner cores and wide doorways, so an angel doesn’t ever feel constrained.


Not all of these elements are necessarily conscious choices on my part—certain things just seemed “right” when I first saw the world through the eyes of my characters. For example, a railing on a balcony makes no sense if the being using that balcony has never had, and never will have, a fear of falling.


The Guild Hunter world is dark, with a seductive edge of violence, but it’s also one filled with incandescent beauty. To look across the cityscape and see angels taking flight from the light-filled column of the Tower—wouldn’t that be the most amazing sight?


What are your favorite fictional worlds and what do you love about them? As an aside, if you could choose between being able to fly, and having a powerful psychic gift such as telepathy or telekinesis, which would you choose?

by Sarahlee15 on ‎01-31-2011 05:02 PM

I have to say that my two favorite fictional worlds are yours, the Guild Hunter world and the Psy/Changeling world.  As for which ability I would choose, it would have to be flight!  Although if I had to choose between flying and being able to shift like the changelings I would have a much harder time deciding.   Which would you choose?

by Author Nalini_Singh on ‎01-31-2011 09:50 PM

Hi Sarahlee - I have a great option for you - falcon changeling! I'd probably choose the ability to fly as well (though being a teleport capable telekinetic is also tempting!)


by Beguile_Thy_Sorrow on ‎02-01-2011 09:43 AM

Hi Nalini,

hopping over from Oddshots:smileyhappy:

I'd definitely choose flight over anything else, including mind-reading which seems really handy. I think it's why I was in love with Superman as a little girl, lol

But right now two of my favorite fictional worlds are your Psy-Changling world and Patricia Briggs world in her Mercy Thompson series.

I love the first because I don't think there's anything I'd love more than being bonded/mated with a guy that loves me totall and unconditionally; what gal could pass that up?!

ANd the second world is one I love because of the characters and their exciting as he** antics! That Mercy Thompson has some freakin' awesome adventures!

-Bella F.


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