Title: SOULMATED (Joining of Souls, #1)
Author: Shaila Patel
Pub. Date: January 24, 2017
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook
Two souls. One Fate.
Eighteen-year-old Liam Whelan, an Irish royal empath, has been searching for his elusive soulmate. The rare union will cement his family's standing in empath politics and afford the couple legendary powers, while also making them targets of those seeking to oust them.
Laxshmi Kapadia, an Indian-American high school student from a traditional family, faces her mother's ultimatum: Graduate early and go to medical school, or commit to an arranged marriage.
When Liam moves next door to Laxshmi, he’s immediately and inexplicably drawn to her. In Liam, Laxshmi envisions a future with the freedom to follow her heart.
Liam's father isn't convinced Laxshmi is "The One" and Laxshmi's mother won't even let her talk to their handsome new neighbor. Will Liam and Laxshmi defy expectations and embrace a shared destiny? Or is the risk of choosing one's own fate too great a price for the soulmated?
~AUTHOR INTERVIEW with Shaila Patel~
1) What gave you the inspiration for the storyline?
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 like psychics read minds) really existed. That was the nugget that inspired the story. Once that thought took hold, I couldn't let it go!
2) Are there any hidden themes in the book that you hope readers will discover?
Mostly, that you always have a choice—even if you don't think you do. It's just that sometimes the choices you have aren't the ones you want, or they are, and you have to accept the consequences. To a lesser degree, I touch upon the theme of appearances vs. reality. I use several quotes from A Midsummer Night's Dream by Shakespeare to allude to that. While Laxshmi and Liam navigate the world of expectations and free will, they have to decide which of their choices are real, and which are illusions. You could also say that as the reality of their relationship and connection is explored throughout the series, it's their differences—their race, religion, and nationality—that are the true illusion.
3) Are any of the characters based on real people you know?
I can safely say Laxshmi and her mom were inspired by experiences in my own life, as well as the experiences of my Indian friends. My mother was never as strict as Laxshmi's mom, but I had friends whose mothers issued harsh ultimatums. (Of course, as a teenager, I couldn't see how lucky I was!) Laxshmi's mom's obsession about staying away from boys though? That was ALL my mom! Lol!
4) Who has influenced you most as a writer?
Probably my high school English teacher, Mrs. Bevilacqua. I wrote my first short story in fourth grade, but it was Mrs. Bev who taught me I could write. I chose a different career path in college, though, because my parents wouldn't have accepted an English degree—and I didn't have the courage to defy them. Despite all that, the dream to write persisted. It's only taken me—ahem—X number of years to achieve that dream, but I'm not complaining!
5) If you could have any three literary characters over to your place for game night, who would you invite, what would you play, what would you serve, and why?
Easy! Harry, Ron, and Hermione. We'd play Scrabble (think of all the extra legit words we could use!) and eat tortillas and guacamole. There's something casual and easy-going about the trio that lip-smacking tortillas and tangy guacamole would suit.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
As an unabashed lover of all things happily-ever- after, Shaila’s younger self would finish reading Cinderella and fling her copy 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. She enjoys traveling, craft beer, and teas, 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 at: www.shailapatelauthor.com
(1) winner will receive a Perfectly Posh, Posh To Meet You Set ($20 value), US Only.
(10) winners will receive a SOULMATED Swag Pack, US Only.
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