We are excited to welcome author Shaila Patel to the Introvert Problems blog! Shaila’s debut novel, Soulmated, is an #ownvoices YA paranormal romance, which the author began writing in early 2013, and has recently been published by Month 9 Books. #Ownvoices is a designation for novels with diverse characters written by authors of the same background. Book one of a planned series, Soulmated is receiving fantastic reviews, and is already the winner of the 2015 Chanticleer Book Reviews’ Paranormal Awards in YA. Learn more about Shaila below and at her website http://www.shailapatelauthor.com.
- Congratulations on your debut! Tell us about Soulmated.
My debut novel, Soulmated, told in dual points of view, is about an Irish empath prince who is forced to search for his empath soul mate. The rare union will solidify his family’s power and political standing, but when he finds Laxshmi Kapadia, a non-empath, he must decide just what he’ll sacrifice to be with her, while she must decide if he’s worth going against her own parental expectations.
- Can you tell us about the challenges you faced getting your first novel published?
I was one of the lucky ones. My manuscript was accepted by the second publisher I’d sent it to, but only after making some gut-wrenching revisions and slashing my 120,000 word manuscript by 22,000 words. Soulmated is the very first novel I’ve written, so all the issues most debut authors struggle with plagued me as well—namely, over-describing, writing unnecessary dialogue, and having scenes that didn’t advance the story. It was a tough lesson to learn.
- Soulmated is a YA paranormal romance novel. How did you capture the feeling and mood of falling in love?
By pulling from my own memories, mostly, and those of my friends. Who doesn’t remember the awkwardness, the insecurities, and the joys of first love? While my teenage years may not have been as melodramatic as scenes in my novel, it’s not hard to remember how, as teenagers, we always felt like it was us against the world. Writing about young adults does make for some great drama, and placing my characters’ story in a paranormal setting allowed me to add a bit more tension to the typical teenage angst of ‘first love.’
- Last week on the Introvertprobs Podcast we talked about times and places we write. When and where do you get most of your writing done?
To me that’s a two-part question. Writing new material requires silence for me, and that’s best accomplished in my bedroom with the door closed and (eventually) a harshly-worded holler for my family to turn down the televisions in the house! But when I edit, I can get very distracted unless I’m under deadline, so that’s when I go out to my favorite restaurant/bar and sit in the corner to work. I’m not one for coffee shops. They’re too quiet, and I tend to get distracted by the conversations around me. The loud atmosphere of a restaurant becomes white noise and helps me focus on what I need to do—and keeps me from falling asleep! I may only do that on the weekends, though, and it helps the writing side of my life from becoming too isolating. My natural tendency is to lock myself away, so this forces me out of the house too.
- What do you do when you are not writing?
Other than reading, I manage our family business. It makes it difficult to juggle the work-life balance, but I don’t really have a choice. I know when the buzz gets too loud in my head, I can reach for a book and go into a sort of seclusion. I also enjoy hiking at a local nature preserve. It’s my recharge for such a hectic life.
- Is there anything you can tell us about Book 2?
Book 2 in the Joining of Souls Series undergoing revisions right now, and I hope to pitch it to my publisher sometime this year. Fingers crossed!