Monday, December 3, 2012

A Sealed Fate

Title: A Sealed Fate
Author: Lisa Gordon
Available on: Amazon (including Kindle) and in other online stores and bookstores

Gist as available on GoodReads: Upbeat and contemporary in style, this riveting narrative features an eclectic mix of characters awash with local color. To escape the pain of failed relationships and careers, both Valda and Larissa take themselves to the exotic locale of Dubai, seeking not only success but a general purpose in life. Valda does indeed find fulfillment--and, to her astonishment, love--but all is threatened when she is introduced to a billionaire Sheikh. Her clandestine relationship with the Sheikh propels her into a murky web of deceit, and she turns to her friend for help. As an astrologer, Larissa predicts that Valda and the Sheikh's destinies were decided from the moment of their first meeting, but she keeps the dire outcome foretold in the charts a secret. Together, the two women soon find themselves gambling in a game of cosmic Russian roulette where the stakes are their lives and their adversary is fate itself. Bravely merging genres and sensitively embracing personal relationships, this spiritual and gritty thriller illustrates the complex theme of choice versus chance.

My views:
For everyone who believes in friendship at first sight, this book is a must read. The characters are well conceptualized and the author's knowledge of the settings, be it South Africa or even Dubai are excellent. I do believe settings also have a very important role to play in any novel.

Fate brings Valda, a singer - who has taken up a job in Dubai - to escape from a failed relationship and Larissa (Lara) - an astrologer who is perhaps searching for her own self, together. The client-astrologer relationship fades away in the very first meeting and a true, trusting friendship is born.

There are so many snippets of wisdom in this book. I quote two of my favourite paragraphs here:
In one scene, Lara tells Valda - Success is ephemeral and when it ceases to be, you cease to be with it. We are all more than our date of birth, our martial status, and our successes and failures. It's all ashes and dust, but the lessons we learn stay within our soul for eternity.

I've been a firm believer that we are in the driving seat of our life's chariot. True, unexpected painful things can happen. Not being able to find a soul mate, separation, illness, loss of a loved one, and so on. It is up to us how to handle such obstacles and overcome them, as we continue to drive on life's pathway. But then, does fate have a say in how things pan out? This is a question I've often asked myself and it was answered by Lara.

"When we can't decide or fail to choose, or if we believe we have no choice, fate chooses for us. I believe that we fail to decide or commit to something totally due to a battle raging between our conscious will and our spiritual will; this produces a frustrating stalement of depression and torment. We stumble along until our higher conscious and ego come into alignment, then anything is possible."

But, let me not digress. Valda is trapped in the web set down by a Sheikh who owns many hotels, including the one she works in as a singer. There is perhaps no escape or perhaps Valda is also dilly-dallying a bit in the quest for riches, which her job in Dubai offers. Lara - comes to her rescue and Valda manages to escape from the web she was trapped in, just in time. While this Sheikh meets a justified end... the ending of the book is not perhaps what I had visualised.

Lara and Valda meet for one last time in New York, and Valda is eagerly anticipating a visit from Brett - perhaps this romance would blossom? There is an unexpected twist, even as both Lara and Valda are able to move on, albeit in different dimensional spheres (let me not say more, for this you have to read the book).

The last sentence in the novel, aptly is: The End, and The Beginning.

Let me clarify that there is no romance brewing between the Sheikh and Valda, instead the Sheikh is attempting to entrap Valda in devious business deals - as perhaps he has done with many former employees. It is about misuse of power, and instead of the Sheikh it could be just be any other powerful scrupulous employer anywhere else in the world.


1) Tell us something about yourself, how and why did you become a writer?

Actually my best friend at school wanted to be an author and at that point I had no idea I could write and no intention of becoming an author.

At school writing was actually my weakest subject and it was not until I was seventeen that my English teacher, Mrs Worth noticed that I had talent and gave me some really good advice; advice I still follow today. A great teacher really can make a difference and Mrs Worth was one of those gifted teachers who made a difference to so many of our lives.. As an only child I spent most of my time by myself and so developing characters in my imagination and creating a fantasy world was second nature.

At the age of thirty and with the advent of email; I became a prolific email writer to my friends all over the world. Many of them said that they enjoyed my emails so much; that I should consider writing professionally. I didn't take them seriously. I happened to go for a psychic reading at that time and the psychic said, "You are going to be a writer!" - I was amazed that she had picked up on my ability and I took it as a sign that writing was indeed for me. I started my novel A Sealed Fate the next week.

2) Do you still practise astrology? What are your clients actually seeking in terms of advice?

I still do astrology, but my time is now taken up with writing, promoting other writers and accounting.

My clients wanted definitive answers most of the time; I think they thought I was an emotional and spiritual satnav - "To meet Mr Right take the next left; straight up this street for the perfect job"etc. But should fate be taking all the credit, or blame for everything in people's lives or is it free will, our own choice, however influenced by our surroundings, which govern our actions? My clients and their questions about their lives really got me thinking – astrology is all about freewill, encouraging clients to use the impetus the planets are giving them at any one time to make positive changes in their lives. However it seemed that most people almost wanted to believe that they had NO choice and that it was all written out for them and what they wanted me to do was just tell them how it would all work out, rather than what they needed to do to get the result they wanted. Astrology gives you the ingredients; you still have to ‘make the cake yourself’.

I hope that the storyline in A Sealed Fate will get people debating in their heads whether Lara’s prediction became a self-fulfilling prophesy, whether Valda’s choices alone determined her fate or if it all would have happened regardless of ‘the reading.’ A Sealed Fate will make readers think about how much we all put down to fate and how much we could change our lives by taking more control.

3) Who is your favourite character in this book?

I had a soft spot for Valda - she is such a risk taker and so cool - I am such a conservative nerd. I experience my wilder side via her. Lara is very much like me and her experiences strongly mirror my own in terms of her life path and philosophical outlook...NB. I have not be on the wrong side of law though LOL!

Valda and Larissa clicked instantly and were alike in many ways; however I often think that although Larissa genuinely grew to love and care for Valda, Valda’s feelings for Larissa did not run as deep and she perhaps used Larissa.

4) What are your future plans.

I have written two more thrillers: one set in the UK and Japan and one in Italy. I now adhere to more traditional thriller genre guidlines. I am so proud of A Sealed Fate as when I started it, I had not idea that I would have the ability to take it right to the end. A Sealed Fate is a story with many elements and it is hard to catagorise as one genre; it is a thriller, but it is many different things to different people. Perhaps for those who never question their life path and who never wonder how many strings fate is pulling, it does not have the same meaning. A Sealed Fate was different, a little too different and out the box for conventional publishers.

I still make sure my novels contain originality, intriguing diverse characters, peppy dialogue and the unexpected. Location remains an inspiration and I do research my settings thoroughly.

Novels should make a reader think and those questions and thoughts should remain long after the story has been read.

I have written a play and two screenplays and hope to master the screenwriting genre one day.

Writing give one endless possibilities!!!

As was once said, "No one has lived only once if they have a read a book!"

Author's bio:

An only child to a single Mum, Lisa was born and brought up in Johannesburg, South Africa. Despite a lifelong ambition to act, she enrolled at the University of the Witwatersrand to do a BCom Law. She later moved to UK, where she achieved a BSc Industrial Economics Hons Degree from Warwick. Still wanting to be a star - her Mum encouraged her to study 'The Stars' and Lisa became an Astrologer. Lisa worked on hospital radio for many year, before becomming a regular Astrology guest on BBC local radio. As an Astrologer Lisa was always asked by her clients to make black and white definitive predictions about their futures: this made Lisa ponder the role of fate in our lives and how much freewill we really had. Hence the plot for her philosophical thriller, 'A Sealed Fate' was born. Choice versus chance - which prevails?
Lisa wrote her book while also writing the ACA Chartered Accountants exams. She hopes to become a successful writer, not an accountant! Lisa is grateful to the wonderful support of both strangers and friends and their inspiration. Lisa is also grateful for having a 'power-house' Mum; who is her biggest supporter and best buddie.

Source of the photograph: Dubai Online White Pages


Susan Cooper said...

Being a story by nature this snippet you mention form the book very much resonated with me. "We are all more than our date of birth, our martial status, and our successes and failures. It's all ashes and dust, but the lessons we learn stay within our soul for eternity". I couldn't agree more. This is an awesome review and a book worth checking out.

Jeannette Paladino said...

I do believe you make your own fate and that there is an irristable chemistry that ignites when you meet a soul-mate. This can be your future spouse or simply a very dear friend. I feel you know almost right away which is why I'm always surprised when some people are in romantic relationships for years but neither is willing to make the ultimate commitment to marriage.

Kelly Wade said...

Wow, thats so cool that a psychic told her she was going to become a writer as she was considering it as a career path- you really cant ignore something like that! My favorite question you ask these authors is who their favorite character is. Because they create them themselves, I think its so interesting to hear their perspective on their own connections with their fictional beings.

Catarina said...

Interesting interview Lubna. And well done by Lisa to write her book whils taking her ACA Chartered Accountants exams.

AK Andrew said...

The book sounds pretty great Lubna. Here again I am hearing about a novel that doesn't 'fit' the categories. It seems that unless one us writing literary fiction where there are basically no rules then people want boxes to tick so they know what they are selling/buying. This really sounds like a character driven thrilled with plenty for us to ponder in our own life interpretation. Excellent review & interview.

JeriWB said...

As always, a great review and interview. I'm especially intrigued since the book takes place in Dubai.

Scott said...

I think it's great that the author has a passion for astrology but wants readers to debate whether the prophecy was self fulfilling or not, it shows she has an open mind and is willing to let the reader take their own lessons from the story, a good sign in an author.

Leora said...

I enjoy reading about her drive. 'and the psychic said, "You are going to be a writer!"' - a teacher last night told us our daughter is a great writer. I never thought of her that way. Glad this author listened to her friends and the psychic.

Bethany Lee said...

Sounds like a good book Lubna. And especially appealing to me right now, as, I once made an instant friendship with a woman back in 1994. Fate took us our own paths, and since 1996, I have been looking for her online, off and on. Last night, I put a word out on Facebook, and boom! I am now waiting on her to accept my friend request. I'm making my fate here, a little bit, I guess. :-)

Anonymous said...

I am so grateful for the supportive and enthusiastic comments from Lubna's followers. Lubna almost rejected my review request, but I think it was fate that she accepted. I must mention that A Sealed Fate is now available in Kindle, which may be easier for you guys:









AlleyCK said...

I like the snippets of wisdom mentioned. Fate works in magical ways and Lisa's book is worth checking out :) An enjoyable review and interview.