Welcome to another feature for Celebrating Debutantes 2017. Today I’m joined on the blog by new author Shaila Patel to answer few questions about her debut novel, Soulmated. This book introduce a diverse cast of characters and a refreshing plot about people called empath who can sense and manipulate emotions.
Following the interview with Shaila is her bio along with places where to find her online. Then there’s also the book description and where to buy copies of Soulmated.
Also, don’t forget to check the giveaway at the bottom and enter the rafflecopter form for a chance to win fabulous a copy of Soulmated from Shaila.
Here’s my interview with Shaila. Enjoy reading!
Interview with Shaila Patel
Where did the idea for Soulmated come from? What are some ways the story has changed since you first came up with it?
I’d been thinking of how emotionally perceptive my mom was one day and thought that if there were such a thing as an EQ test (where the E stood for emotional and/or empathic intelligence), my mom would score through the roof. She’s always had this uncanny ability to read my feelings—and as a teenager, it had been highly annoying!
Naturally, my writer-mind imagined what it would be like if empaths (people who read emotions) really existed and what that must be like for two young people falling in love.
When I’d first come up with the idea, my focus had been on Liam and his mom (both empaths), but when Laxshmi, his non-empath love interest, came into play, I realized that my focus had been slightly off. Dating at that age is hard enough because as teenagers, we’re just learning how to read and understand body language in that context. So imagine being an empath and knowing how your date is feeling, but not knowing why. It would be quite frustrating not to know why your date felt awkward, embarrassed, hurt, or whatever. You’d be second guessing everything while you tried to fix it—if you didn’t have the courage to just come right out and ask, that is. Realizing this, it changed a lot of how I dealt with my two main characters in their scenes together. I just couldn’t pass up the goldmine of tension this created and made quite a few revisions. The story really became about them after that.
I love books that promotes diversity, and Soulmated has cross-cultural one. Could you tell us more about the Indian and Irish culture in Soulmated? What prompt you to write characters with different backgrounds?
Writing characters with different backgrounds wasn’t really a conscious decision. I’m Indian-American, so writing my heroine, Laxshmi, who looked like me and dealt with some of the same issues I dealt with while growing up seemed like a no-brainer. I still wanted to challenge myself and offer something different to readers. Making Liam Irish gave me a chance to stretch my writing skills and create an unexpected character.
Being born and raised in America, my brain pretty much splits cultural differences between East and West, and that’s where I decided to draw the line between how I portrayed my cultural aspects of the story. So as an example, most of my friends and I weren’t allowed to date, but for most teens who are American or Irish, dating is a pretty common thing. It changes how you talk about the subject with your parents, how you view relationships between boys and girls, and even how you interact with the opposite sex. For Laxshmi, balancing between the two cultures is a constant juggling act. For Liam, those difficulties don’t exactly exist. Since Liam and his parents are only in America to search for his empath soul mate, I chose to play off the differences between them by contrasting “typical” Western culture against hers. Much of the portrayal of his Irish-empath culture will be in later books when they visit Ireland. I’d touched a bit upon the Whelan’s cultural history in Book 1 and hope to delve deeper in subsequent books.
What kind of research went into crafting the Soulmated world? Did your background in medicine helps in your writing?
The largest bulk of the research went into learning Irish-English—its syntax, grammar, and slang. I went to Ireland twice for research for the series and location-scouting for Book 3, and I hope to go again someday soon! I tried to make Liam’s voice as authentic as possible, and even with the help of an Irish editor, I suspect it might not be enough for some readers and too much for others. It was a risk I had to take to be true to the story.
For Soulmated, my medical background doesn’t really factor in, but I can say that Liam’s mum Moira, a psychologist, may have benefited from it. She approaches most things very scientifically, and you could say that my background in the sciences helped me with that. I’m excited because Moira plays a greater role in that regard in Book 2!
If you can sense and manipulate another person’s emotions like Liam. Who would you manipulate and why?
My day job is at a pediatric office. If there were a way I could manipulate a child’s emotions and make them not so miserable when they’re sick, I’d certainly try! And while I’m making a list, I’d love to manipulate those haters in any long line who refuse to wait patiently and then take it out on the poor employee who couldn’t do anything about it. (That irritates me to no end!) I’m sure my list could grow longer the more I think about it. Lol!
For readers who are on the fence about reading Soulmated, what can you tell them about it that might help them decide?
For starters, I’d be honored if someone were considering buying my book, and as a reader myself, I know that certain sub-genres are immediately attractive while others may not be. As a story, Soulmated has to be categorized in order to be sold, and sometimes those categories don’t quite fit the book. If someone needed specifics to help them make a decision, I’d say Soulmated was a character-driven young-adult romance with paranormal elements that include empaths and psychics. It’s a (planned) four book series that will delve deeper into the empath culture as that becomes a bigger part of the plot. The series will also take place in three different countries: the United States, Ireland, and India. Hope that helps!
You’re working on the second book, but what else do you see yourself working on? Do you think you’ll stick with urban fantasy or branch out into something else?
Yes, I am working on book 2, but I’m also working on a contemporary adult romance using my pharmacy background. In that series, I tackle prescription drug abuse, criminal distribution, corruption amongst prescribers, and unethical pharmaceutical industry behavior. I’m quite excited about it, and I see myself working on that alongside with the rest of the Soulmated series for the foreseeable future.
As for future YA projects, an idea for a science-fiction romance/thriller is marinating in my head at the moment. Who knows where my imagination will take that!
Thanks so much Shaila!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As an unabashed lover of all things happily-ever-after, Shaila Patel’s younger self would finish reading her copy of Cinderella and fling it across the room because it didn’t mention what happened next. Now she writes from her home in the Carolinas and dreams up all sorts of stories with epilogues. A member of the Romance Writers of America, she’s a pharmacist by training, a medical office manager by day, and a writer by night. Soulmated is her debut novel and the winner of the 2015 Chanticleer Book Reviews Paranormal Awards for Young Adult. She loves books, craft beer, tea, and cozy window seats—but she’ll read anywhere. You might find her sneaking in a few paragraphs at a red light or online gushing about her favorite books.
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ABOUT THE BOOK
Author: Shaila Patel
Publisher: Month 9 Books
Publication Date: January 24, 2017
Format: Paperback, eBook
All eighteen-year-old Liam Whelan—an Irish royal empath—wants to do is stop the frustrating search for the elusive girl destined to be his soul mate. The rare union will cement his family’s standing in empath politics and give the couple legendary powers, painting a bullseye on Liam’s back—and hers.
All Indian-American Laxshmi Kapadia wants is to free herself from her traditional mother’s ultimatum: graduate from high school early and go to medical school, or have her marriage arranged. Neither allow her to pursue her dreams of a career in dancing or of falling in love.
When Liam moves in next door to Laxshmi—a non-empath, he’s immediately drawn to the purity of her emotions, and she sees in this charming Irish boy a future with the freedom to follow her heart. But Liam’s father will never consent if she’s not The One. And Laxshmi’s mom won’t even let her talk to their handsome new neighbor. But hiding their relationship can’t keep them from becoming targets of dark and ancient group determined to destroy the soulmated.
What will these two risk to choose their own fate?
Amazon | B&N | BAM | BookDepo | IndieBound | Goodreads | Google Play | Kobo
What’s up for Grab?
- Copy of Soulmated by Shaila Patel
- Open International where Book Depository ships
- There will be one (1) winner
- Winner will be chosen and announced through rafflecopter
- Winner will be contacted thru email & should response within 48 hours
- Ends July 16th, 2017
- Prize will be sent by the author
To enter fill out the rafflecopter form
Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2017 experience. Click the image below for the full list of schedule and links to each feature post or check out twitter and facebook using #CelebratingDebutantes2017.
I’m looking forward to reading Soulmated. Thank you
Love the different cultures & the cover.
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Liam’s powers sound interesting, I think I’d enjoy reading this. Thank you for the giveaway 🙂
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a story centered on empath? never encounter like this one before. Sounds promising though. I would love to try this one. Thanks!