Lori Goldstein is stopping by the blog today as part of her Summer of Jinn Blog Tour and she has a special announcement: Azra has a real, live voice! The audiobook for Becoming Jinn is fresh off the production block, and Lori’s giving away one Audible digital download exclusively on this blog. Enter to win below!
We also have a fun interview with Lori all about the main character in Becoming Jinn. If you can’t tell by the title this is a young adult paranormal story featuring genies! Becoming Jinn was released on April 21, 2015 by Feiwel & Friends!
If that wasn’t enough there is an exciting tour wide giveaway! Enter the SUMMER OF JINN Blog Tour Giveaway at the end of this post! Lori’s giving away two $20 gift cards: one to her local indie Harvard Bookstore and one to B&N! Redeemable in person or online. Open internationally. And she’s also running a special promotion in honor of the summer season. Buy #BecomingJinn by July 30 and receive free bracelet temporary tattoos. More info on Lori’s blog.
Born into an Italian-Irish family, Lori Goldstein earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and worked as a writer, editor, and graphic designer before embracing her love of fictional people. Lori is the author of the young adult contemporary fantasy series Becoming Jinn (Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan, April 21, 2015; Sequel, Spring 2016). When not writing or reading (preferably from a sandy local), Lori can be found chatting books and perfecting the art of efficient writing through Twitter (@loriagoldstein).
Want to read more from Lori Goldstein?
DFT: For those of us who haven’t yet had a chance to read Becoming Jinn will you give us a short synopsis of the book?
Lori: 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. And learning to use her magic, learning to grant wishes, and keeping it all hidden from humans is just as difficult as Azra expected it would be. There’s flirtations and a budding romance, strong friendships and betrayals with her human and Jinn friends. And there’s a mystery surrounding her powers and especially surrounding the father she’s never met. The more she learns the more she realizes there’s a much darker side to becoming Jinn.
DFT: Can you tell us a little more about your protagonist?
Lori: Azra Nadira is descended from a long line of Jinn. On her sixteenth birthday, like all the members of all the generations who have come before her, she receives the powers that allow her to grant wishes for humans. But for the fifteen years before that, she’s masqueraded as a human. The transition proves just as difficult as she always feared it would be.
DFT: Azra is a spunky girl and unlike most of her kind she doesn’t want to be a genie. She would prefer to just be a normal girl, but that’s not in the cards for her. Because of this, she has had a hard time fitting in with others of her kind, but I liked that she was different. What do you think is the best quality she possesses? What do you think is her worst quality?
Lori: Azra’s best quality is her loyalty. When you break through the front so fiercely puts up, which isn’t easy to do, and enter her world, she will do anything for you. This quality, however, is also tied to her worst quality, which is being stubborn. Being so loyal to Jenny, a friend she lost when she was younger, makes it hard for Azra to give herself over to her Zar sisters. She was hurt by them and in some ways feels like opening herself up to new friendships is disrespectful to Jenny’s memory. Being stubborn means it takes Azra far too long to accept the love and help of those in her Jinn world.
DFT: Azra has some great moments throughout the story and I was wondering if you can, without spoiling anything, tell us what Azra scene was your favorite to write?
Lori: My favorite scene to write was the ending. I knew what was going to happen from the very beginning, and once I got there, it was so much fun to get it on the page. It’s the one scene I’ll say “wrote itself.” And it matched what I had in my head from the very first one-page, plot-point outline I wrote, which is rare and pretty amazing—especially since it basically stayed the same from initial draft through final draft save for some very minor edits.
The ending is full of so much emotion and so much has built toward it. It completes Azra’s character arc while also opening the door to book two. While the ending isn’t easy and clean for Azra, it feels right for the book as a whole.
DFT: I have to ask a few questions about Henry because I just adored him. He grew up next door to Azra, and they have a very interesting relationship. What do you like best about his character? Does he remind you of anyone from your real life?
Lori: I love Henry’s humor and the way he grounds Azra. He is in awe of her and yet at the same time is the only one who can be real with her and cut through her, at times, self-pity and self-centeredness. He brings out the best in her, and she knows it. While he’s not based on anyone in particular, there are certainly elements of my husband in him—especially that notion of unconditional support. That’s definitely a trait they both share. As is cutting through the B.S.
DFT: Becoming Jinn is your debut novel, what was your reaction when you found out that you were going to be published for the first time?
Lori: If only I had a gif of me jumping up and down, Tom-Cruise-on-a-couch style…..there is no other part of this process that matches that feeling. When the call from my agent came in, I think I said two words to her in response. She probably thought I wasn’t happy about it! But I was so in shock, I couldn’t figure out what to say. The moment where your dream stops being a dream and becomes a reality is so surreal that you can’t actually feel it in that moment—at least I couldn’t. It took days for me to truly get it. Sometimes, I feel like I still haven’t.
DFT: Lucky for us this is just the first book in your series! Can you give us any hints as to what we can expect to see in book #2?
Lori: Book 2 has been done since November, which makes it hard to keep quiet about it! I can say it picks up shortly after book 1 ends, with Azra dealing with the aftermath of the wish made at the end of Becoming Jinn. It brings back all the characters from book 1 and introduces a couple more. It’s a big cast, which I love. It goes deeper into the Jinn mythology, and since the introductions to the Jinn world have already been done, it’s a fast-paced plot but still full of humor and heartache, like book 1.
Follow all the stops on the Summer of Jinn Blog Tour:
July 2: B&N Teen Blog: My Favorite 2015 Debut Beach Reads
July 6: Fangirlish: Exclusive Chapter Reveal
July 7: Dark Faerie Tales: Q&A, Special Announcement, and Exclusive Giveaway
July 8: Adventures in YA Publishing: A BECOMING JINN Debut Lesson: The Trouble with Measuring Success
July 9: Patchwork Press: Write All Year Pep Talk: Breaking the Rules
July 10: YA Books Central: Exclusive BECOMING JINN excerpt with a signed book giveaway!
July 10: Fangirlish: 2 for 1 Friday
July 13: Comfort Books: Q&A
July 14: Bewitched Bookworms: Azra and Henry’s Favorite Beach Reads
July 15: Freshman Fifteens: The 15ers share their favorite beach reads
July 16: Children’s Book Review: All-Time Favorite Beach Reads
July 17: Katie’s Book Blog: Guest Writing Post
This contest is provided by Lori Goldstein
One lucky reader will win an Audible digital download of Becoming Jinn!
Available April 21, 2015 by Feiwel & Friends
About this Book:
Forget 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.
Click HERE to read an excerpt