I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on blog tour for CIRCLE OF JINN by Lori Goldstein! I have an interview with Lori to share with you today! And make sure to enter the awesome pre-order giveaway!
Haven't heard of CIRCLE OF JINN? Check it out!
Being Jinn is Azra’s new reality. As she grants wishes under the watchful eye of the Afrit council, she remains torn between her two worlds—human and Jinn. Soon, secrets spill. Zars are broken. Humans become pawns. And rumors of an uprising become real as the Afrit’s reach extends beyond the underground world of Janna.
Straddling the line becomes impossible. Aware of her unique abilities, Azra must not just face but embrace her destiny. But when the role she must play and those she must protect expand to include a circle of Jinn greater than her own, Azra will be forced to risk everything. A risk that means there’s everything to lose, and at the same time, everything to gain—for herself and her entire Jinn race.
In this dramatic sequel to Becoming Jinn, Azra’s story comes to a heartfelt and thrilling conclusion.
Now on to the interview!
Hi Lori! First I want to say welcome back to Two Chicks on Books! I’m so happy you could stop by and can’t wait to read CIRCLE OF JINN!
For the readers: can you give us a little recap BECOMING JINN and the characters?
First of all, thanks so much for having me back! I can’t believe it’s been a year since BECOMING JINN released!
BECOMING JINN is a modern spin on the tale of wish-granting genies. It’s a contemporary fantasy, set in my home state of Massachusetts, and follows the main character, Azra, from the day she receives the magical powers that turn her into a Jinn. On the one hand, magic is great (teleportation, hello!), but on the other, she’s now tied to the harsh rulers of the Jinn world, the Afrit. Book one centers on Azra learning to use her magic, reconciling where she fits in the Jinn world and with her Zar sisters, especially Laila, her best friend, and Yasmin, the opposite of her best friend, as well as what her role in the human world is including her relationships with Henry, her neighbor, and Nate, the lifeguard at the beach where she works for the summer on whom she develops a serious crush. Stakes are raised by the end of the book regarding who the Afrit—and Azra—really are.
So what can we expect from CIRCLE OF JINN?
CIRCLE OF JINN picks up two weeks after BECOMING JINN ends. It deals with the aftermath of the tragic incident that closes book one and sees Azra uncovering a lot more about the Afrit, her father, and herself. If book one is about Azra learning about the Jinn, book two is about her learning about the Afrit and the underground world of Janna.
Now that the series is over what are you working on?
I’m sad to not be writing Azra anymore as I love her voice. I needed a complete change in order to transition out, so I’m working on a contemporary YA that’s been an idea I’ve had for more than a year and am just coming to the close of writing the manuscript. No one tells you how hard it is to keep writing while also promoting! But slow and steady wins the race, right?
Were any of the characters in the book inspired by people from your real life?
No. I may take a name (my old cat, a friend, grandmother) from my real life and sometimes a quirk or two, but there’s no one who’s fully someone I know. The characters come to life on their own.
Who was your favorite character to write? What about your least favorite?
Azra is my favorite. Her voice comes so naturally to me, I don’t even have to think about it. She’s just there, ready and willing to leap onto the page. I’m not sure I have a least favorite, though sometimes channeling Laila, who is so very different from Azra and in some ways more like me than Azra is, can take some time. Hard to write someone closer to yourself, I guess!
What is your favorite passage/scene in CIRCLE OF JINN?
There is a scene at the end of CIRCLE between Henry and Azra that is my absolute favorite. It had me bawling while I wrote it, while I revised it, and just about each time I re-read it. It’s the culmination of all they’ve been through together and the uncertainty of what’s to come. It might be my favorite scene of the entire series, but that’s all I can say because it’s a major spoiler!
What kind of research did you have to do for the story?
I didn’t have to do much for CIRCLE OF JINN because the groundwork was laid in BECOMING JINN. Though I did some browsing online at photos of areas in Morocco and the Middle East to inspire me to write certain scenes, but that’s getting spoiler-y. For BECOMING JINN, I did a lot of research into the Jinn, both from an academic standpoint and a spiritual one. Much of what I learned and read found its way into the story and mythology of the Jinn, from their love of sweets to their dislike of salt to the ancestry that Azra begins to discover in CIRCLE OF JINN. It’s great fun for me to integrate these nuggets even if most people won’t recognize them as being actual pieces of Jinn lore. Like my own Easter eggs!
What are you reading right now? Or what do you have on your TBR that you’re
dying to read?
I am about to start the first Outlander book, based on the recommendation (ahem, shoving) of my friend, Trisha Leaver, author of the terrific The Secrets We Keep.
Who is your ultimate Book Boyfriend?
I’ve got to go with my boy, Damon Salvatore!
What inspired you to write YA?
YA is simply a great fit for the story ideas I have and the characters traipsing through my head. It’s less a conscious genre decision and more about the stories I want to tell.
Since we did lightning round questions last time I thought we could do some “would you rathers”
Would you rather wear a prom dress for the rest of your life or sweats? Prom dress, I like dressing up!
Would you rather have the ability to fly or teleport? TELEPORT!!! I hate riding in cars.
Would you rather have the ability to read minds or to heal? To heal, for sure.
Would you rather change the past or be able to see into the future? The future. (And it’s not about lottery numbers…well, not JUST about lottery numbers.)
Would you rather read one awesome book for the rest of your life or a hundred mediocre books? A hundred mediocre because then I can spin the ways I’d write them and change them.
Would you rather have a dragon or be a dragon? Ooh, have one, though I know from Game of Thrones the challenge that would be!
Would you rather speak every language in the world or play every instrument? Speak every language. Wow, how cool would that be? I love to travel and without the language barrier, would feel so free to do so.
Would you rather take a vacation on an exotic island or in a romantic city? Exotic island, love the beach!
Would you rather live in the city or the country? Both—city house and country vacation house!
Thanks so much Lori for answering my questions! It was a pleasure to have you on the blog!
Thank you for having me and being such a great JINN supporter!
The sequel to BECOMING JINN, which VOYA Magazine named one of the Best Science, Fiction, Fantasy or Horror of 2015 in a starred review, releases on May 17, 2016.
Advance praise for CIRCLE OF JINN from Booklist says “book two takes a sharp turn into high fantasy . . . Romance and wish granting take a backseat to friendship, political intrigue, and Azra’s maturation and ongoing discovery of her heritage. Fans of the first book should be satisfied by this conclusion.”
Preorder or buy a new copy of CIRCLE OF JINN by May 27, 2016, and you’ll automatically become a genie* yourself!
Every preorder, including signed preorders from Lori’s local indie, Porter Square Books (both books available for signed orders), will be mailed a signed bookmark, signed bookplate, and metallic bracelet tattoos.
But wait, there’s more! You’ll also be entered into the grand giveaway to win one of the exact shiny silver bangles featured on the cover of both Becoming Jinn and Circle of Jinn. Details: http://www.lorigoldsteinbooks.com/2016/04/18/preorder-time/
* Swag includes temporary bracelet tattoos; the power to become a Jinn must already be inside you.
My debut novel, the Young Adult Contemporary Fantasy Becoming Jinn, is a modern spin on the traditional tale of wish-granting genies. It will be released on April 21, 2015, by Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s. The sequel will follow in Spring 2016. I am represented by Lucy Carson of The Friedrich Agency.
Too much of my day involves chatting books, obsessing over The Vampire Diaries, and perfecting the art of efficient writing through Twitter. Find me at @loriagoldstein and follow my blog at www.lorigoldsteinbooks.com or my Tumblr at http://lorigoldsteinbooks.tumblr.com. Like my author page on Facebook for fun book-related photos, tidbits, and happenings as well as news on Becoming Jinn.