Variables of Love
by MK Schiller
Meena Kapoor knows what life has in store for her. She’s in her senior year at Stanford where she’ll graduate summa cum laude, and then she’ll begin her interviews…her marriage interviews. Meena is Indian, and she’s never questioned that she’ll have an arranged marriage like all the generations before her. Not until she meets gorgeous math major Ethan Callahan. Ethan’s sense of humor and free spirit stir feelings in Meena she didn’t know were possible outside of Bollywood movies. It doesn’t hurt that he’s charming and has the uncanny ability to make math sound like poetry, but Meena knows their equation makes no sense in the real world.
Ethan finds himself intrigued by the mysterious, beautiful girl, whose big, brown eyes reflect great pain. His goals are small at first – to make her smile and then to laugh. But he soon wants more, and though Meena is adamant they have no future, he convinces her to share the present. Ethan believes every problem has a solution, but with cultural expectations and family duty among the variables, they will struggle to solve the ultimate equation to find happiness.
Welcome! Please start off by telling us a little about yourself.
Thank you, Harlie’s books, for having me. My name is MK Schiller and I’ve written six books, all steamy romances. My newest book entitled, Variables of Love, is a multicultural love story that deals with a girl struggling between arranged marriage and the hot as sin math major who steals her heart. Yes, it’s a nerdy love story, full of angst, bittersweet moments and a strong kick of spice.
Is Variables of Love a single title, or part of a series?
This is a standalone novel as are all my books.
What were your inspirations for the story?
Variables of Love is a very personal story for me. It’s what happens when cultural expectations and personal convictions collide. I’ve borrowed from my own life experiences and culture to create this novel. It’s a story I’ve wanted to tell for some time, and I’m humbled by the opportunity to share it.
Please share your setting.Have you ever lived or visited there? If so, what did you like most?
The setting is Stanford University where both the characters are students in their senior year of college. I’ve never been there but when I was researching settings, I was intrigued with the rigorous academics and the city of Palo Alto – a place where there is rarely a day that isn’t beautiful. I was extremely lucky because my editor attended Stanford and she helped me to develop the setting so it was realistic. The book also has scenes that take place in New York City, Boston and the island of Mashpee in Massachusetts.
When did the writing bug first bite?
I’ve always wanted to write. In high school, I’d create stories for my friends and the current boy they were crushing on. You’ve heard of fan fiction – this was friend fiction. I didn’t start actively writing though until after I read Fifty Shades. Inspired by EL James, I figured I’d actually try to finish one of the many stories that lived in my head.
Who are you favorite authors, book/series?
This is difficult because there are so many. I’ve always been in love with the idea of love. I suppose as a romance writer that’s par for the course. I am and will always be a reader first. I don’t have favorites per say, but here are a few of my recommendations. I’m thrilled to have read the works of these great ladies.
I love Mia Sheridan because she creates unique heroes. I love Abbi Glines for her innocent and strong heroines. I love Colleen Hoover for creating that sense of emotion when it comes to first loves and the struggle of youth. I love Debra Anastasia for shining a beautiful light in dark places. I love EL James for making me interested in a different side of sex and creating a poignant story from that.
If you could have an author roundtable discussion with any authors, who would you invite?
I think I’d have both romance and other fiction writers there. In other words, a table of many genres. I’d love to break bread with EL James, Stephen King, Janet Evanovich, Jeffrey Archer, John Grisham, Nicholas Sparks, and Sidney Sheldon. Truthfully, I admire so many authors that it would end up being the biggest round table ever.
Do you have any hobbies or special things you like to do in your spare time?
I read and read and read some more. I’m a reader first so if I’m not writing or hanging with my family, I usually have my kindle glued to my hand.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve heard or seen?
That hippos are more deadly than any other animals. All this time, I’ve been frightened of lions and tigers, but it’s hippos you have to watch out for.
“I’m really sorry, Ethan.”
“Don’t apologize anymore. It’s really okay. If that’s the dumbest thing you do in college, you’re better off than most people. I am curious, though, why you got so drunk. That’s not like you, sunshine.”
Her back was to me, and she clutched the covers, moving into a fetal position. I wanted to reach out to her. Her hair was still in a ponytail. Would it hurt to sleep like that? I wanted to pull out her hair band and run my hands through it, but I stopped myself.
“I didn’t want to be me tonight. I thought it would help me forget, but it didn’t.”
“Help you forget what?”
“That I’m not supposed to be here.” She shivered, despite the heavy comforter.
“Where are you supposed to be?”
“Dead,” she whimpered.
My heart froze in my chest, and I struggled to understand what she meant. She started crying soundless sobs that caused her body to shudder, like the emotion was too big for her small frame. I pulled her close. She turned and embraced me, and I held her tightly against my chest. I tugged out the hair band and stroked her silky hair while she cried in my arms.
I didn’t say anything or encourage her to talk anymore. Truthfully, I wasn’t ready for an explanation. I didn’t even know if I wanted one. I just wanted…no….needed to hold her as much as she needed to be held.
She fell asleep like that. I kissed her forehead and whispered quietly, “If you were dead, I’d have no sunshine.”
Let me start by telling you that I’m a sucker for a multicultural romance. I know. Surprised you, huh? I will admit that I watch the show The Mindy Project and while there is a multicultural romance on the show, I never get the interaction with Mindy’s side of the relationship. Like is it okay for to date a white man? Did she have an arranged marriage when she was younger? What do her parents think about Danny? I realize it’s a television show but I need these answers. I’m weird, so sue me.
While reading Meena and Ethan’s story, we get both sides of the story. Why she is marrying Prem. The cultural differences between her and Ethan. Parental expectations, the pressure that Meena puts on herself and lastly Ethan’s struggle with his own issues with his mother and her profession. But while all that is great and good, what really drew me in was Meena and Ethan themselves. Brilliantly written with a fresh voice (not too easy in New Adult). The characters are real and at times I just wanted to hug them and tell them that it would be alright. Yes, I’m old enough to be their mom. You don’t have a lot of the angst that is prevalent in NA. Okay, well in the secondary characters you might think so. Raj and Rachael are your typical secondary characters but bring depth to Meena and Ethan’s relationship.
This book moves fast but it also takes place over 18 months. This isn’t a quick fix romance. The friendship builds first (bravo), romance, conflict and then the ending. Oh the ending…DO NOT skip the final two chapters. READ every word. I didn’t know whether to cry or sigh. I ended up holding my breath until the final word. I love it when a writer use the Epilogue to wrap up a story. Yes, this is a stand alone and I love that. No loose ends for me to worry about later. I got all the answers I needed for Meena and Ethan’s story. Now if I could just get those answers about Mindy and Danny. 😉
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
I am a hopeless romantic in a hopelessly pragmatic world. I have a full time life and two busy teenagers, but in the dark of night, I sit by the warm glow of my computer monitor, reading or writing, usually with some tasty Italian…the food that is!
I started imagining stories in my head at a very young age. In fact, I got so good at it that friends asked me to create plots featuring them as the heroine and the object of their affection as the hero. You’ve heard of fan fiction… this was friend fiction.
I hope you enjoy my stories and always find The Happily Ever After in every endeavor.
love hearing from readers so please write to me!
Website – http://www.mkschillerauthor.com/
FB author page – https://www.facebook.com/MKSchillerauthor?ref_type=bookmark
FB personal Page – https://www.facebook.com/mk.schiller
Amazon Author page – http://www.amazon.com/MK-Schiller/e/B00FE0FGDM/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1407492789&sr=8-1
Twitter – @MKSchiller
Goodreads author page – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7223625.M_K_Schiller
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/variables-of-love-mk-schiller/1120345713?ean=9781623421311
The author will be awarding three separate prizes: a $20 Amazon or B/N GC, a $10 Amazon or B/N GC and an ecopy of Variables of Love, to the randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour.