It’s Valentine’s Day so I decided to get a little lovey-dovey here on the blog. <3 Today I’m shining the Author Spotlight on Shaila Patel and her debut YA romance novel SOULMATED.
Genre: Young adult paranormal romance
Age Range: 12 and up
Launch Date: 1/24/17
Soulmated is OUT NOW!
Please tell us a little bit about your book?
Soulmated is an #ownvoices teen paranormal romance about an Irish empath prince named Liam Whelan who is forced to search for his empath soul mate by his father. The rare union will solidify the Whelan family’s political power and standing, but Liam couldn’t care less. When they come to America in search of this elusive soul mate, Liam falls for a non-empath, Laxshmi Kapadia, and has to decide just what he’ll sacrifice to be with her.
What inspired you to write this story and/or these characters?
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 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.
Everyone says writing is a process. Could you share a little about your writing and/or research process?
I’m a pantser-plotter hybrid. For those of you who don’t know what pantsing is, it’s the process of writing where you just write your story, without an outline and without any plans. The story tends to develop more organically, but it also leads to a lot more editing for me once the draft is done. So, instead, I plan out a rough sketch of the story as a loose outline. Then I “pants” or free-write individual sections, and when my thoughts get too jumbled or the details get too difficult to juggle, I write up a more detailed mini-outline of the next few chapters so I don’t lose all my story threads.
As for research, I’m afraid I’m no different than most who encounter the rabbit hole of Google. Once I search for something it’s like “Oh, look, something shiny…”
We know no writer is created in a vacuum. Could you tell the readers about a teacher or a librarian who had an effect on your writing life?
Easy. My senior AP Lit teacher. She was the first teacher who taught me I could write—and gave me the tools to do so. Even though my love for the written word had started all the way back in fourth grade, she was the one who had me dreaming of writing a book someday. (Thanks, Mrs. B!)
What makes your book a good pick for use in a classroom? Is there any particular way you’d like to see teachers use it with young readers/teens?
Soulmated is an #ownvoices novel, which means it portrays a diverse character like me, an Indian-American. Young readers might assume that if a character doesn’t look like them, they wouldn’t be able to relate. By reading #ownvoices novels, it teaches them that regardless of race, color, or religion—or anything else represented by a marginalized group—people have the same emotions, fears, goals, and needs as anyone else on the planet. Reading diverse fiction is a critical piece in teaching empathy and breaking down the “us vs. them” mentality. Presenting this “lesson” as entertaining fiction rather than a study in diverse characters might make it more accessible to young readers if they’re entertained at the same time.
I’m a little dog obsessed here at www.patriciabaileyauthor.com. Would you tell the readers about your favorite dog (real or imaginary)?
I don’t have a dog right now, but oh my god…I can’t stop watching those adorable videos of teacup puppies! Have you seen them? Drop everything and check them out on YouTube. Now. Go. You’ll thank me later! Lol!
Shaila is a pharmacist by training, a medical office manager by day, and a writer by night. Her debut multicultural paranormal romance, Soulmated, won first place in the Young Adult category of the 2015 Chanticleer Book Reviews Paranormal Awards. A member of the Romance Writers of America, she enjoys traveling, craft beer, tea, and loves reading books—especially in cozy window seats. You might find her sneaking in a few paragraphs at a red light or connecting with other readers online.
Contact Shaila here:
Feel like adding a little romance to your life? You can buy SOULMATED at bookstores or online at:
Thank you, Shaila and Happy Valentine’s Day.