1. Becoming Jinn is your debut novel. For those who don't know much about it, could you tell us more about your novel?
- Becoming Jinn is a modern spin on the traditional tale of wish-granting genies. So there are no lamps or bottles, no flying carpets, and no three wishes. The genies in my book are Jinn, which are spirit beings prominent in North African and Middle Eastern cultures. Becoming Jinn mixes the lore of the genies we know with that of the Jinn and is set in our contemporary world, in my home state of Massachusetts. The story follows my main character, Azra, from the day she wakes up on her sixteenth birthday and receives the magical silver bangle that forces her to start granting wishes. And I say force because the tradeoff of being able to use magic is that she’s now also tied to the Afrit, the dictatorship-like council that rules over the Jinn world. There are five other Jinn girls who Azra’s grown up with who feature strongly in the novel. There’s also Henry, a human and Azra’s next-door neighbor; the two share a past and rekindle their friendship at the start of the novel. And there’s a love interest, Nate, who, despite his underwear model exterior, is as unsure of himself and struggling to find his way as everyone else is.
2. How did you come up with the idea of Becoming Jinn?
- I had the idea for the main character, Azra, before I had the story in which she would live. When I heard the name as part of a news report—a baby by the name of Azra survived an awful earthquake in Turkey--I began imagining the world in which she would live. As a fan of young adult novels, I knew that was the genre I wanted to write. I will say, however, I did think of a Jinn/genie story almost right away. But before heading down that road, I did do some looking into other paranormal, supernatural, and myth retellings, but nothing else grabbed me like the world of the Jinn. At that time, there weren’t any other YA Jinn books on the shelves so that also spurred me to go forward with the story I wanted to tell. And I’m so glad I did.
3. Azra, the main character of Becoming Jinn, seems like an interesting character based on the synopsis. What trait of Azra do you love the most?
- She doesn’t take things at surface value. She demands true answers and isn’t satisfied with the idea that just because things have always been one way means that have to stay that way. She’s strong and strong-willed.
4. What's the best thing about writing Becoming Jinn?
- Being able to come up with a character and a story that I have loved spending the past two years with—immersed in!—has been incredible. I never tire of this world!
5. Recommend your novel [Becoming Jinn] to the readers.
- If you like your fantasy grounded in the real world, then Becoming Jinn might be for you. It’s for readers who love an escape and a sense of humor, kind of like The Vampire Diaries or Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
6. What's next for Lori Goldstein?
- I have a very busy spring full of exciting events, festivals, and bookstore visits to support the launch of Becoming Jinn. I’m looking forward to all of it! A full list of my events can be found on my Web site (http://www.lorigoldsteinbooks.com/news-events/). In terms of writing, Becoming Jinn has a sequel, tentatively titled Circle of Jinn, and I’ve just put the finishing touches on it. I’m sad to leave Azra and this Jinn world, but I also have many other stories and characters running around in my head, and once the release of Jinn is a bit behind me, I can finally start paying attention to them and get one of them on the page. I have a favorite now and I’m in thinking mode about it, which is a very fun place to be because anything’s possible.
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• Once the giveaway ends, I'll contact the winner right away. If the chosen winner doesn't respond within 48 hours, I'll have to choose a new winner.
• This giveaway is made possible by Lori Goldstein.