If you remember, I read Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein back in March, and adored it! It is about a teen girl who, on her 16th birthday, receives magical powers and a wish-granting duty. This book is a roller-coaster, and I cannot wait to read the sequel.

Today I have the author, Lori Goldstein, on the blog for an interview! Thanks so much to Lori for participating. 🙂

The Interview:

• What inspired Becoming Jinn? Do you ever draw inspiration from real-life people/ events?

Perfect question, because the answer is a big YES! Becoming Jinn started with a character. I knew her before I knew the story I’d put her in. A few years ago, there was a devastating earthquake in Turkey. A mother and her infant daughter were pulled from the rubble and both miraculously survived. That baby’s name was Azra, which is my protagonist in Becoming Jinn.
When I heard this beautiful name, I began to picture the world this girl would live in. YA paranormal and supernatural has always been a genre I loved, and in hearing this name and thinking of what would be a cool story for this girl, somehow it all sparked the idea of writing a book featuring Jinn, which for some reason I knew was the term for spirits derived from North African and Middle Eastern lore.
A fan of contemporary, I decided to merge the fantasy elements with our modern world and drop Azra and her Jinn (genie) family into the world in which I live—quite literally into my home state of Massachusetts.

Lori-Goldstein-Author-2-682x1024•Congratulations on your book release! Could you tell us a little bit about how Becoming Jinn was published? What has been the most exciting part of the publishing process so far?

Thank you! It’s been wild! As for how Becoming Jinn was published, I worked on a manuscript for three years that essentially taught me how to write by letting me make mistakes—and I made many!

By the time I started writing Becoming Jinn in the fall of 2012, I was able to write it in two months instead of three years. I entered many contests with it, lost a lot, received great feedback, revised, and was able to get my agent, Lucy Carson, in February of 2013. She had savvy insights into the manuscript and I revised for two months before going on submission in May of 2013. We sold in less than two weeks to Feiwel and Friends for Becoming Jinn and it’s sequel.

It’s been a bit of a longer wait to publication than most, but I’ve had the chance to learn a lot in that time and feel – mildly – in control and prepared for what’s to come. Mildly. The most exciting part is meeting readers who love the book, like you! Thank you!

• Did you always want to be an author? What got you interested in writing?

I’ve always been in the world of the written word. I was a journalism major in college, and my early jobs had me doing a bit of everything: writing, design, and copyediting, but all in the nonfiction world. While I’ve been an avid reader since I was a kid, I never thought of myself as a creative writer. I was a newspaper girl.

Then one day, my husband suggested I write something about being short. What’s frustrating to me is pretty funny to everyone else: like climbing a step stool to reach the clothes in my stackable washer/dryer; wedging my toes in between cans of beans on the bottom shelf in the grocery store so I can lay a finger on the olive oil at the very top (quite the dangerous balancing act); shopping for a pair of heels to fit my tiny feet and only finding ones with sparkly hearts because all I fit into is kids’ shoes). 

That might turn out to be the best idea my husband ever had because in writing that “memoir” of sorts, my creative side was coaxed out. I went from that to writing my first fiction manuscript, which, over three long, hard years, taught me how to actually use those creative juices to write a novel, and then came Azra and Becoming Jinn and the rest is history!

•Becoming Jinn involves magic, genies and more! Was there anything you had to research when writing Becoming Jinn?

I wanted a flavor of Jinn, which are a type of spirit creature in North African and Middle Eastern culture, in the book. Because it’s a contemporary fantasy and I mix up the genie tropes we know and toss in some magic, I didn’t want to go completely true to any specific lore or stories of Jinn.

But I read through Legends of the Fire Spirits: Jinn and Genies from Arabia to Zanzibar, a very academic examination of Jinn, and pulled bits and pieces to add to the book. The same with a book called Encyclopedia of Spirits, which, completely opposite of the first book, details how to summon particular spirits, including Jinn. While nothing is overt, they both added some backbone to the Jinn history I made up.

•Can you tell us about any current/ upcoming writing projects?

Becoming Jinn has a sequel releasing in Spring 2016, and I’ve just put the finishing touches on that. I’m currently spinning a few new ideas, but I’m not ready to share them yet. They are still tentative, and it’s too early to say where they will go. But there’s one I’m dying to have the time to try my hand at after the fun (and craziness!) of Becoming Jinn’s release is behind me.

• What’s your favourite writing snack?

Tea. I drink lots and lots of tea while writing.

About The Book:

jinnForget everything you thought you knew about genies!

Azra has just turned sixteen, and overnight her body lengthens, her olive skin deepens, and her eyes glisten gold thanks to the brand-new silver bangle that locks around her wrist. As she always knew it would, her Jinn ancestry brings not just magical powers but the reality of a life of servitude, as her wish granting is controlled by a remote ruling class of Jinn known as the Afrit.

To the humans she lives among, she’s just the girl working at the snack bar at the beach, navigating the fryer and her first crush. But behind closed doors, she’s learning how to harness her powers and fulfill the obligations of her destiny.

Mentored by her mother and her Zar “sisters”, Azra discovers she may not be quite like the rest of her circle of female Jinn . . . and that her powers could endanger them all. As Azra uncovers the darker world of becoming Jinn, she realizes when genies and wishes are involved, there’s always a trick.

5 Comments on {Interview} Lori Goldstein, Author of Becoming Jinn

  1. Keionda@Keionda Hearts Books
    May 13, 2015 at 12:27 am (2 years ago)

    All this talk about genies has me really wanting to watch Aladin. I always love it when an author takes the time to explain their journey of writing because it helps writers, lIke me, not feel so alone and stuff. Lovely interview Jess. 🙂
    Keionda@Keionda Hearts Books recently posted…Discussion #3: Eh… So this is awkward…My Profile

  2. Brooke
    May 13, 2015 at 8:52 am (2 years ago)

    This book sounds very interesting. I’ll have to check it out. Genies always make me think of Aladin.
    When are you going to announce who won your giveaway?

    • Jessica
      May 14, 2015 at 8:48 pm (2 years ago)

      I will email the winner this weekend!

  3. Ana @ Butterflies of the Imagination
    May 13, 2015 at 2:29 pm (2 years ago)

    I loved this interview so much, Jessica! It was interesting hearing about Lori’s inspiration for Becoming Jinn-especially because she was able to weave in so many cultural influences and elements from the news. And Lori’s publishing journey sounds both frustrating and encouraging. Frustrating because it took so long, but encouraging because once she started submitting to publishers she sold it really quickly.
    Ana @ Butterflies of the Imagination recently posted…Interview With Anne Blankman, Author of Prisoner of Night and Fog and Conspiracy of Blood and SmokeMy Profile


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