Welcome to the second to last interview until my event is over until next year!
Crazy how time flies!
If you’d like to see any past interview I’ve done so far go to the MFBLFest page >>> here!
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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.
Agent Amanda Leuck of Spencerhill Associates
Now let’s get to know Shaila Patel!
ABOUT SHAILA PATEL
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.
1-How long have you been writing?
In one form or another, since the fourth grade! That was when I wrote my first short story with a passion I didn’t recognize as career-worthy until the twelfth grade. I pursued different things in college and have been writing “on the side” for years. It wasn’t until I fell in love with my characters in Soulmated that I considered writing a series and publishing it.
2- Is there a certain genre you’d like to get into?
Historical romance—probably because I love reading it. The amount of research I’d want to do for such a story, however, sounds like it would be overwhelming. I plan to write a companion historical novella for my young adult paranormal series (Soulmated is Book 1), and it both thrills and scares me to death! A tiny part of my brain wonders if I can pull it off, would I dare attempt a full-length historical. One never knows!
3- Who designed your (latest) book cover?
My publisher, Georgia McBride, is the brains behind the concept. It was really important for my cover to represent both cultures of the hero and heroine in my novel. Laxshmi Kapadia is Indian-American, and Liam is Irish. When the initial cover concepts didn’t work for me because of the lack of representation, Georgia came up with the idea of the hands. Laxshmi’s hand and arm has henna on it, and Liam’s has a Celtic band on his wrist. The idea to just show their hands worked in other ways too. The sense of touch is very important in the story, and my publisher’s idea captured the magic of what happens between them beautifully.
4- Where do your ideas come from?
They come from so many places, it’s hard to say. Mostly, they’re random thoughts that I ruminate on, coaxing them to grow over time. If nothing comes of it, so be it, but if I can’t stop thinking about it, the idea grows and demands attention. I become obsessed with whatever it is—a character trait, a plot idea, or a scene, and that’s usually how my ideas are born. Anything in your life can be an inspiration if you let it!
5- If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing?
That’s easy…it would be what I’m already doing, which is managing our family business. I’m an entrepreneur at heart, and the business side of writing/publishing is just as exhilarating as the creative process of writing.
6- Do you ever experience writers block? If so how do you get over it?
I don’t think I believe in writers’ block exactly. What I do believe happens—to me, anyway—is that I may not be in the mood to write. When that happens, I don’t try to fight it. I do something else instead, like catch up on my reading, work on promotion, or plan out future stories. When I have to fight a blasé mood because of a deadline, I write whatever garbage comes out, but I don’t worry over it. I simply make sure I don’t wait till the last minute for any writing obligations, and that gives me several days before any deadline to revise the “garbage” into something I’d be proud of. Bottom line, I don’t fight my moods because who needs the extra pressure?
7- How did you come up with your title?
My title, Soulmated, came from what it is my hero, Liam, is trying to become. In his empath community, becoming a soulmated empath is a very big deal, and when his psychic father foresees that Liam becomes part of such a rare and legendary union, finding his empath soul mate becomes a driving force in the story. I worried that the title might conjure up images of shifters, but when my street team, publisher, agent, and I tried to think of other titles, nothing impressed us as much as Soulmated—so it stuck.
8- What is your perfect writing spot?
To me, that’s a two-part question. I need quiet to write fresh material. My bedroom is my writing office, and whether I’m at my desk or on the bed with my laptop, I can spend hours upon hours writing there. Editing, however, requires a different discipline for me. If I try to edit in my bedroom, I’m likely to get distracted or even fall asleep. So when I edit, I leave my house and go to my local sports bar. (Yes. Yes, I do.) For some reason, all the distractions become white noise in the background, and since I can’t do anything else but work, my brain focuses on what I need to do and viola! I get more work done.
9- What do you do in your free time?
Besides working on what I bring home from work, I spend most of my time reading. It’s my escape from the stress of running our family business and the downtime I need to recharge for writing. I also like traveling where I can visit local breweries, art galleries, and restaurants.
10-Anything you’d like to add?
I’m a HUGE fan of time travel romance! I think it’s that juxtaposition of historical and contemporary fiction that gives me a dose of both when I’m in the mood to read. Romance is my primary reading pleasure, but what subgenre I read—paranormal, fantasy, young adult, historical, time travel, or contemporary—depends solely on what mood I’m in. I’m a happily-ever-girl through and through.
11- Do you write friends, family, or even strangers you met into your novels?
There’s always a bit of someone I know in my characters—not all, but definitely a few. It’s hard not to be inspired by the people around me—whether it’s a quirk of their personality, a tic, or a physical attribute. Sometimes it’s a conscious decision to model a character after someone I know, but other times, it’s unintentional. There are only so many personality traits out there. Similarities are bound to occur, but that’s the beauty of fictional characters. You can take traits from different people you know and put them together in a way that makes them unrecognizable from the real people in your life.
12- If you were a superhero what would your name be?
Ugh! Where are those Facebook memes that give you your superhero name when you need one?! You know—the ones that base your name on the first letter of your last name and your birth month? Lol! Hmm, if I had to come up with my own name, it would have to describe what people didn’t see about me when they did see me. I play a good extroverted game, but I’m an innie at heart. One of my favorite Shakespeare quotes is, “And though she be but little, she is fierce.” Considering I’m all of five feet tall and introverted (for the most part), I’d probably take on the moniker of Fierce Wallflower Girl. (Eh. I might have to wait for a meme.)
HAHAHA I like both of your superhero names! And also love those name memes! I know Epic Reads did a few . . . but I see them EVERYWHERE and always have to find my name.
I have never read Travel Romance! but I think Passenger by Alexandra Bracken is Travel Romance? and I’m hoping to read that soon 🙂
Thank you so much Shaila for letting me interview you today! I loved your answers!
Luvs! Make sure to go stalk her on her socials! 😛 (;
HOPE YOU ALL ENJOYED THIS INTERVIEW!