Author Spotlight: Shaila Patel Talks About Fighting Fate

fightingfate_ebook-amazon-mediumToday I’m shining the Author Spotlight on Shaila Patel and her latest novel Fighting Fate.

Title:  FIGHTING FATE (Book 2 in the Joining of Souls series)

Genre:  YA Paranormal Romance

Age Range:  14+

Launch Date:  April 5, 2018

 

FIGHTING FATE, Book 2 in the Joining of Souls series is a YA paranormal romance novel. How did you capture the feeling and mood of falling in love?

Mostly by pulling from my own teenage memories and those of my friends—both good and bad—and dramatizing them to capture the crux of all those “feels.” Who doesn’t remember the awkwardness, the insecurities, and the highs of first love? My teenage years certainly weren’t as melodramatic as scenes in my novel, but it’s not hard to remember how, as teenagers, we’d always felt like it was us against the world. Placing the story in a paranormal setting allowed me to add a bit more tension to the typical teenage angst of ‘first love,’ and I hope I struck the right balance between expressing the authentic teen experience and adding the spice of drama.

What kind of research went into crafting the world for the Joining of Souls series?

The largest bulk of the research went into learning Irish-English—its syntax, grammar, and slang. I went to Ireland twice for background 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, though.

When creating a character’s personality do you use your friends/family/people around you as a base, or do you go in blind and develop it as you go?

Unlike some authors who develop a deep character profile from the start, I usually begin with a few basics and a general idea about where and how the character arc will go—starting with some emotional wound and determining how that’s affected the protagonist over the years. As for where I get my inspiration, there’s always that little something I take from the real people in my life. It could be a quirk that stands out to me, like how they smile, their speech patterns, or even a nervous habit. It might even be their personality and how it affects me. Does that person being talkative make me uncomfortable or does it put me at ease? Does my friend who over-analyzes everything become the voice in my head or does it irritate me—or both? As the characters develop, they dictate how they’ll react to different scenes, and I trust them enough to follow their lead. In the end, the resemblance to the real person who may have given me the inspiration is nowhere to be found. (Whew!)

 

Shaila Patel | Author Spotlight: Shaila Patel Talks About Fighting Fate | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comAs an unabashed lover of all things happily-ever-after, Shaila Patel’s younger self would finish reading her copy of Cinderella and chuck 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 and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, she’s a pharmacist by training, a medical office manager by day, and a writer by night. SOULMATED, her debut novel and the first book in the Joining of Souls Series, was the winner of the 2015 Chanticleer Book Reviews Paranormal Awards for Young Adult. Book 2, FIGHTING FATE releases April 5th, 2018. She loves craft beer, tea, and reading in cozy window seats—but she’ll read anywhere. You might find her sneaking in a few paragraphs at a red light or gushing about her favorite books online.

You can find Shaila on her website or on social media at these sites:

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads | BookBub

You can pick up a copy of FIGHTING FATE online at:

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

And you can learn more about SOULMATED (Book 1 in the in the Joining of Souls series) right here.

Thanks, Shaila!

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Class of 2k17 Books New Year, New Library Giveaway!

It’s time for another Class of 2k17 GIVEAWAY!

This time we’re giving away a huge prize package! Start your year with a library full of books. We’re giving away 28 Middle Grade and Young Adult books and swag signed by the authors.

class-of-2k17-new-year-new-giveaway

 

Click here to enter to win this awesome prize package!

~Contest ends 12/18/17~

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Author Spotlight: Joanne O’Sullivan Talks About Between Two Skies

Author Spotlight Interview | Joanne O'Sullivan talks Between Two Skies | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comToday I’m shining the Author Spotlight on fellow Class of 2k17 member Joanne O’Sullivan and her debut novel BETWEEN TWO SKIES.

Title:  BETWEEN TWO SKIES

Genre:  YA

Age Range:  12-16

Launch Date:  April 25, 2017

 

Please tell us a little bit about your book?

Most kids her age can’t wait to get out of tiny Bayou Perdu, a fishing town way, way down in Louisiana. But for sixteen-year-old Evangeline Riley it’s home. She has her best friends, Kendra and Danielle; her wise, beloved Mamere; and back-to-back titles in the under-sixteen fishing rodeo and above all peace that only comes when she takes her skiff out to where there is nothing but sky and air and water and wings. Then Hurricane Katrina comes, and everything changes. Exiled to Atlanta, she longs for home. But when she meets—and falls for—fellow “refugee” and budding bluesman Tru, she has to decide if home is a person or a place.

What inspired you to write this story and/or these characters?

I went to college at Loyola University in New Orleans and that area holds a special place in my heart. After Hurricane Katrina hit, I really wanted to do something to help. However, I was expecting my son, so I wasn’t able to volunteer for rebuilding. Instead, I read a lot about what was happening: a lot of first-person narratives. I was struck by the teens whose lives were interrupted by the storm. School had either just started or was about to start for many. The year that they though they would have—and for some the life they thought they would have—never happened.

I first read Wordsworth’s “Evangeline” when I was in college in New Orleans. This sweeping, melancholy love poem tells the story of a girl in Acadia (now Atlantic Canada) separated from her true love Gabriel on the eve of their wedding as the British forced French speakers out of Canada and they resettle in Louisiana. She relentlessly searches the frontier of the US for him, only to find him when it’s too late. The heroine of this story, Evangeline, is legendary in Louisiana.

When I read about the many people displaced by Katrina, I couldn’t help but connect the Acadians—exiled hundreds of years before—to this new catastrophe, this new exodus for some of their descendants. A new Evangeline and a new Gabriel took shape in my mind: Evangeline Riley, whose family’s fortunes are so entwined with the land and sea, and Tru Nguyen, whose family has endured exile before as war pushed them out of Vietnam. Like characters in the story that inspired them, they are caught up in circumstances beyond their control and driven out of the diverse and soulful place that is Southern Louisiana. Their lives are broken and bent into new shapes. The way they respond to this upheaval will determine their futures.

Everyone says writing is a process. Could you share a little about your writing and/or research process?

I typically start with a certain character or scene that’s intriguing to me and build out from there. I am a journalist as well, so I love research; so much so that I need to stop myself at some point so that I don’t lean to far into non-fiction! Once I’ve got some scenes written and the characters have introduced themselves to me I start to think about plot- where are we going with this? This may not be the most efficient way to write a novel, but that’s the way it happens for me!

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?

My elementary school librarian Mrs. Johnson was a big influence in my life! At my school, being athletic was much more the norm than being bookish. Mrs. Johnson always welcomed me and found new books that she knew I would like, so the library felt more like home to me than any other part of the school. My second grade teacher Mrs. Hale also encouraged me to write and her encouragement stayed with me for a long time!

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?

BETWEEN TWO SKIES helps to show the more human side of one of the biggest natural disasters in American history, Hurricane Katrina. While reading nonfiction and historical accounts helps us understand it on one level, fiction helps readers to understand it on the emotional level. I would love it if teachers used BETWEEN TWO SKIES to show how historical events can be brought to life in fiction. But it’s also an all-around coming-of-age, family and love story!

I’m a little dog obsessed here at www.patriciabaileyauthor.com. Would you tell the readers about your favorite dog (real or imaginary)?

I’m a little dog obsessed, too! My favorite real dog is, of course, my family dog Biscuit. He adopted us one weekend when we were visiting a friend’s weekend house. He arrived on the driveway and basically never left us again. We tried to find an owner, but no one came forward so he became our pup. He’s a bit shy with strangers, but he’s such a loving guy with us. He’s not the smartest dog in the world, but we think he’s the sweetest!

Author Spotlight Interview | Joanne O'Sullivan talks Between Two Skies | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

 

Author Spotlight Interview | Joanne OSullivan talks Between Two Skies | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comJoanne O’Sullivan introduces fascinating people and places to readers through books, articles and blog posts. Her award-winning science, sustainability and travel books for kids include “Migration Nation” (Charlesbridge, 2015) and the 101 Before You’re 12 series. She has lived in a sixteenth-century Italian palazzo and a modern Korean high-rise, but now calls beautiful Asheville, North Carolina home. When she and her environmental activist husband and artistic kids aren’t out in the woods, she’s usually planning her next big trip to faraway places. Visit her at www.joanneosullivan.com or on Twitter and Instagram at jkosullian1.

Thanks so much, Joanne!

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2017 Debut Book Love – The Shadows We Know By Heart

the shadows we know by heartFellow Class of 2k17 Books member Jennifer Park’s incredible YA debut, THE SHADOWS WE KNOW BY HEART, releases today and it is quite simply the book you did not know you have been waiting for all of your life.

Leah Roberts’s life has never been the same since her brother died ten years ago. Her mother won’t stop drinking, her father can’t let go of his bitter anger, and Leah herself has a secret she’s told no one: Sasquatch are real, and she’s been watching a trio of them in the woods behind her house for years.

Everything changes when Leah discovers that among the Sasquatch lives a teenager. This alluring, enigmatic boy has no memory of his past and can barely speak, but Leah can’t shake his magnetic pull. Gradually, Leah’s life entwines with his, providing her the escape from reality she never knew she needed.

But when Leah’s two worlds suddenly collide in a deadly showdown, she uncovers a shocking truth as big and extraordinary as the legends themselves, one that could change her life forever.

Jennifer handles this Tarzan retelling perfectly. She tells this story about love and loss beautifully – with just the right blend of heart and mystery.

THE SHADOWS WE KNOW BY HEART is one of my favorite all-time YA reads. I cannot wait to share it with everyone I know.

The Shadows We Know by HeartThe Shadows We Know by Heart by Jennifer Park
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved every word of Jennifer Parks’s debut novel. The story is captivating from page one. Park plunges you into the East Texas woods until you feel like you’re part of the story and never want to leave. Great characters, a great setting, gorgeous writing and exactly the right amount of action/tension to keep you turning the pages. A haunting look at love, hope, and the lies we tell, this is a book I can’t wait to read again.

View all my reviews

For readers

  • An original love story.
  • A great, true-to-life sibling relationship.
  • A compelling mystery

For teachers

  • A beautifully drawn setting.
  • A unique retelling of a classic.
  • Flawed and likeable main characters.

THE SHADOWS WE KNOW BY HEART is on sale today. You can pick up a copy at your local bookstore or online at:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Powells

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Author Spotlight: Shaila Patel Talks About Soulmated.

author-spotlightIt’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.

Title: SOULMATED

Genre: Young adult paranormal romance

Age Range: 12 and up

Launch Date: 1/24/17
Soulmated is OUT NOW!

 

SoulmatedPlease 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 Patel SoulmatedShaila 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:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads

Feel like adding a little romance to your life? You can buy SOULMATED  at bookstores or online at:

Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Kobo | Google Play | Books-a-Million

 

Thank you, Shaila and Happy Valentine’s Day.

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Happy Book Birthday – ALLEGEDLY

Happy Book Birthday | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

Happy book birthday to fellow Class of 2k17 member Tiffany Jackson!

Her YA debut, ALLEGEDLY, launches today!

Publisher’s Weekly called ALLEGEDLY “…intensely relevant, addressing race, age, and mental illness within the criminal justice system. Well conceived and executed, this is an absorbing and exceptional first novel.”

Kirkus described it as “Searing and true.”

 

I found it simply amazing.


allegedlyhc-003-285x430Nine-year-old Mary B. Addison killed a baby. Allegedly.

She didn’t say much during the trial but the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A three-month-old white baby had died under the care of a church going black mother and her daughter.
After spending six years in prison for the unthinkable crime, sixteen year old Mary discovers she is pregnant. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary must find the voice to fight her past while surviving life in a Brooklyn group home. But her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her mother.

Check out Tiffany at her website – and be sure to sign up for her Newsletter of Dopeness.

Then head over to you local bookstore or to one of these online vendors to pick up a copy.

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Powells

Congratulations, Tiffany!

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Class of 2k17 Book Love: Allegedly

Class of 2k17 Books | PatriciaBaileyAuthor.comIt’s hard to believe that Class of 2k17 member Tiffany Jackson is a debut author and that ALLEGEDLY is a debut novel.

It’s just so good.

Which is why I was thrilled when Tiffany’s e-ARC ended up in my inbox. Just one of the many perks of being part of the super terrific debut group, Class of 2k17. Have I mentioned how lucky I am?

I read ALLEGEDLY over the course of a week – trying to make it last. It’s simply amazing. Dark and twisty and totally mind-bending. Thriller fans are going to eat this novel up – and people who don’t usually read thrillers are going to love the complex and heartbreaking character of Mary and the girls in her group home.


Allegedly
Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A stunning debut. Dark. Heartbreaking. Powerful. Mary is a wonderfully complex character. Her story will catch you by the throat and not let you go until you’ve read the entire novel – and she’ll stay with you long after you’ve finished. The author, Tiffany Jackson, paints a unflinching portrait of our juvenile justice system while telling a compelling story – drawing you into Mary’s world, and making you question right, wrong, and everything in between.

A true thriller from the start.

View all my reviews

For readers:

  • Page turning suspense.
  • A complex and compelling character.
  • A thrilling read that will keep you second guessing what you know.

For teachers

  • A great example of building suspense and maintaining it.
  • An examination of complex narrators.
  • A rich jumping off place for discussion about juvenile justice, good, evil, and all the places in between.

Lucky for all of us, we won’t have to wait long to get this book in our hands. ALLEGEDLY’S launch date is January 24, 2017, and it’s available for pre-order now.

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2017 Debut Book Love – Wait For Me

Book Review | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comI love historical novels. Always have. Historical fiction is what sparked my interest in history. It’s what led me to the library to learn more about the people and events that have shaped our world when I was a kid, and it’s what help me decide on my minor in college when I was an adult. Best of all, it was my love for history that inspired my own 2017 debut, THE TRAGICALLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF KIT DONOVAN.

Which is why I was so excited to see another 2017 debut historical on the ARC list. I’ve wanted to read Caroline Leech’s YA novel WAIT FOR ME since I first read the summary. There’s just something about being transported to another time and another place that gives you a fresh perspective. WAIT FOR ME’s beautiful Scottish setting and characters did just that.

Wait for MeWait for Me by Caroline Leech
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A touching war story – well told. Caroline Leech’s WWII romance, WAIT FOR ME, is filled with angst and empathy as enemies become friends – and fall in love – even as they are forced to face their own fears, prejudices, losses, and desires. Romance lovers will appreciate the slow burn of forbidden first love, while history lovers will be drawn to the detailed depictions of time and place and the unique setting. And everyone will love the characters – from Lorna’s pluck to Nikki’s cheerful desperation, from Jock’s quiet strength to Paul’s tragic kindness.

WAIT FOR ME is a strong debut. The author, Caroline Leech, has an eye for romance, and and an elegant hand with detail – and suspense. A great YA read.

View all my reviews

For readers:

  • A swoon-worthy love story.
  • Great historical detail.
  • Spunky and brave characters.

For teachers

  • A fresh historical perspective and setting for WWII.
  • Discussion about empathy, fear, and loss.
  • A WWII story with a strong female protagonist.

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Class of 2k17 Book Love: Poison’s Kiss

Class of 2k17 Books | PatriciaBaileyAuthor.comI was lucky enough to get another ARC in my mail this week. I never knew getting a sneak peek at soon-to-be-published books would be this fun. It’s like a whole year of Coming Attractions! I have to admit, after reading fellow Class of 2k17 member Whitney Gardner’s awesome YOU’RE WELCOME UNIVERSE last week and Breeana Shields’ amazing POISON’S KISS this week, I am truly humbled that my little book is getting to hang out with these guys. I feel like the weird kid who ended up sitting at the cool kids’ table my mistake. Part of me is scared to death while another part kinda wants to jump up and down and scream like the fangirl I am. Neither reaction is very professional, I know, but right now, that’s all I got – and I’m okay with it.

And I totally fangirled Breeana as I read this book. I tweeted her regular updates, letting her know just how amazing this story is. Amazing and unique and freaking spell-binding.

She may have made me a fantasy junkie with this debut and I’m not even sorry. It’s that good!

Poison's Kiss (Untitled, #1)Poison’s Kiss by Breeana Shields
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Beautiful writing, riveting plot, engaging characters – Breeana Shields manages to combine all three in her engaging debut. Shields captures your attention from page one – with gorgeous description and an empathetic character. She carries it through the twists and turns of this page-turner, as Marinda struggles with her duty, her self, and her fate. A story of deceit, betrayal, friendship, and ultimately love, Poison’s Kiss will stay with you long after you finish the book and leave you longing for the sequel.

View all my reviews

For readers:

  • Fast paced adventure.
  • A touching sibling relationship.
  • Complicated friendships and loyalties, and a sweet romance.

For teachers

  • Beautiful, descriptive language.
  • A great example of world building – using mythology and lore to enhance a story.
  • A compelling character who is easy to empathize with.

If this is Breeana’s debut, I can’t even imagine what she’s got up her sleeve for the next book. Lucky for you, it’s available for pre-order right now. And you can always add it to your Goodreads list to remind you of the amazing book that’s coming for you in 2017.

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My First ARC: Pre-reading MG and YA Books – You’re Welcome Universe

Class of 2k17 Books | PatriciaBaileyAuthor.comOne of the coolest things about being a debut author is that you get to meet other debut authors.

And one of the best things about meeting other debut authors – other than their incredible kindness, generosity, and downright Swankiness – is that you get to read advanced copies of their upcoming MG and YA books.

That’s right. You get a sneak peek at next year’s best MG and YA books. How cool is that? For this bookworm, it’s a little like my visions of heaven. Books just arriving at your doorstep like magic, waiting for you to read them.

My very first Advanced Reader Copy showed up in the mailbox right before the Fourth of July weekend. And if that’s not cool enough, it was fellow Oregonian and Class of 2k17 member Whitney Gardner’s amazing debut, YOU’RE WELCOME UNIVERSE.

And it was awesome!

So awesome, I read it in two days. So awesome, I rushed over to Goodreads to write a review. So awesome, I tweeted about it, then tweeted again. (And Intagrammed, and Facebooked…and, well, you get the picture).

MG and YA books - You're Welcome, UniverseYou’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There is so much to love about Whitney Gardner’s debut. It’s heartfelt – full of anger and hurt, hope and beauty. Set against the backdrop of a graffiti war, YOU’RE WELCOME UNIVERSE challenges our assumptions about art, belonging, and friendship in new and interesting ways. The characters are compelling, the art work is captivating, and the twists and turns make this an impossible book to put down.

View all my reviews

For readers:.

  • A friendship story that’s not all sunshine and happiness.
  • A real character  – complex and diverse – that’s not easy to pigeon-hole. .
  • The art work!

For teachers

  • A complex and diverse character – who doesn’t always make the best choices.
  • Discussion about art and vandalism – expression and destruction.
  • Excellent world building from the character’s point of view in a contemporary setting.

The world is going to saying THANK YOU, WHITNEY when it gets its hands on this book next year. In the meantime, the lucky few who get a pre-read will just have to urge you to add it to your To Read lists.

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