For the next few weeks I’ll be doing author interviews with some amazing writers! Our first guest on the blog is Shaila Patel. She has a new book coming out NEXT WEEK! She’s been kind enough to give me an interview even though I know she’s super swamped getting prepared for the release of her new book SOULMATED. Thanks a bunch, Shaila!
You have an awesome new book coming out this week called SOULMATED. Can you tell us about it? How you came up with the idea? When is the release date?
Thank you! Soulmated is a teen paranormal romance that’s coming out on January 24th, 2017. It’s Book 1 in the Joining of Souls series about an Irish empath named Liam Whelan who’s forced by his parents to find his empath soul mate. His search leads him to the States where he moves in two doors down from Indian-American Laxshmi Kapadia—who isn’t an empath and whose mother is overprotective and sheltering. Not only is Laxshmi not allowed to talk to her gorgeous new neighbor, but her mom is forcing Laxshmi to either graduate early to go to medical school, or have an arranged marriage right out of high school. As different as Liam and Laxhsmi are, they both struggle with parental and cultural expectations. The conflict really picks up when Liam decides that he wants to be with Laxshmi (whom he affectionately calls Lucky) despite the fact she’s not an empath.
As for how I came up with the story, 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 stands for emotional intelligence), my mom would score through the roof. She’s always had this uncanny ability to read my feelings, so naturally, my writer-mind imagined what it would be like if empaths (people who read emotions) really existed. That was the nugget that inspired the story. Once that thought took hold, I couldn’t let it go!
Tell us about your experience getting into publishing. How long did it take you?
I was actually quite lucky! I began writing Book 1 of Soulmated in January 2013 and hired my own editors to tell me what needed fixing. They taught me A TON. I also began networking, taking online workshops to better my craft and learn the business, joined the Romance Writers of America, and pitched to my publisher—all by mid-2015. I accepted an offer in August 2015, and the rest as they say is history!
What writing advice do you have for someone trying to breakout in the market?
The best advice I can give is two-fold: (1) Treat it like a business—invest in yourself, be professional within the industry, and network, and (2) Never compare yourself to other writers—learn from them and be encouraged by them, yes, but don’t let their successes or failures be the standard by which your judge yourself.
Do you listen to music when you write, if so, what’s your playlist like?
I love to listen to music while I write, but I typically play one song on repeat for a particular scene or chapter. I pick what moves me—it can be classical, alternative, heavy metal, opera, techno—you name it! It helps me create the tone and mood for the characters, and later, when I reread what I’ve written, I can’t NOT hear that song playing in my head. Soulmated actually does have a playlist at the end of the book of songs the characters are listening to or are interacting with in some way. Here’s that list:
Mindy Gledhill – “Bring Me Close”
Splender – “Yeah, Whatever”
Dave Matthews Band – “Crash Into Me”
Ed Sheeran – “Photograph”
Calvin Harris – “I Feel So Close”
Kaskade – “Eyes”
Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams – “Get Lucky”
What are you working on now?
I’m actually working on Books 2 and 3 of the Joining of Souls Series, as well as an adult contemporary romance.
Where can we find out more about you and your upcoming book?
You can visit my website at www.shailapatelauthor.com and sign up for my newsletter, or simply follow the links to my Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram accounts.