I'm so happy to be a part of Amy Bird's blog tour. I've been getting to know her quite a bit over the past few months and she is lovely! Her book, Yours is Mine, released digitally yesterday so be sure to check it out!
Can you swap a soul?
In her fantastical debut, my lovely host Katlyn lets us enter the world of a ‘soul collector’, who reunites ‘True Souls’ with their human forms. It is not a good idea, as any soul collector knows, for the wrong soul to get into the wrong body.
So how about outside the alternate reality that Katlyn creates? In our everyday existence, can you successfully exchange souls or identities? And what are the dangers if it goes wrong?
In Yours is Mine, my protagonist Kate agrees to what seems to be a three-month-long, no strings attached, identity exchange, with another girl, Anna. The idea is that they will masquerade as each other – Kate will take over Anna’s London flat, her proofreading job, her internet dating obsession. In return, Anna will take over Kate’s rural Northumberland base, her long distance relationship with her military husband, and her work editing legal books. Kate signs up to this to get her spark back, thinking the change will do her good. Unfortunately for Kate, Anna has her own, very different, motivation.
But what does it really mean to exchange identities with someone? Who ‘are’ we, really? What gives us our ‘soul’? Some people might argue that our actions make us who we are, others that we have some pre-determined essence – that somehow, whatever we do or think or say, we are acting from the inner core of being. How often have you found yourself saying, whether defending a friend or challenging a character in a book or a film: ‘But so-and-so just wouldn’t do that – it isn’t who she is’? Or in defending your actions ‘I’m sorry - I wasn’t myself that day.’ We all fall in from time to time with the notion that there is some blueprint identity that we are able to fall back against, some Platonic ideal of the true ‘form’ of ourselves.
Kate, too, is driven by a sense of getting back to her true self. She thinks that she can do that by temporarily inhabiting someone else’s identity, to have a bit of a break from her own. But she soon discovers that when she moves to London, she responds to the environment that she is in – gone is the girl moping around her house, unable to face her future. Welcome instead the confident Londoner. So far, so much sparkier. But then by inhabiting Anna’s world, she finds herself committing actions that the old Kate would never dream of. Meanwhile, all that Kate has built up through her own projects is at risk of destruction by Anna. It’s no good Kate saying ‘It wasn’t me’ when Anna was acting on her behalf – actions, here, have more impact than a sense of identity.
For me, the idea of someone else masquerading as me makes my blood run cold. Think of yourself like a house: as with your home, every object in your life is so perfectly ordered, or at least in a state of organised chaos. Imagine somebody coming in and reordering all those life objects so that they look completely unrecognisable – is what you’re left with at the end still your home, your life? And if not, how far would you go to get your life back?
Wherever you stand on the concept of souls and whether we are made of a pre-determined ‘essence’, one thing is clear: you might take ‘yourself’ for granted, seeing as you’ve been with you for your whole life. But in someone else’s hands, your ‘self’ becomes a lot more vulnerable.
And so the question is not really can souls be swapped, but should they. The answer: plainly not. In Yours is Mine, Kate only finds that out too late.
Yours is Mine is available now from Carina UK, the new digital imprint of Harlequin, at and via Amazon, Kobo, and iBooks. You can follow Amy’s progress, on twitter and on Facebook.
On her last blog tour stop on 7 August, Amy will be doing a giveaway of a MIRA goodiebag, filled with some great titles from that Harlequin imprint. So be sure to catch her there!