Hypable has an exclusive look at the evocative cover art for the contemporary YA fantasy Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein, and a chance to win an advance copy!
Copyeditor-turned-author Lori Goldstein weaves a tale of magic, servitude, and sisterhood in her debut novel, Becoming Jinn. Bringing the fantasy of genies into the modern world, the novel conjures the spirit of distant cultures while grounding its story utterly human desires.
Check out the elegant cover art for Becoming Jinn right here, and enter our giveaway to win an advance copy of the first book in this new duology!
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 a small community of Zar “sisters,” Azra soon 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.
Interview with Lori Goldstein
Tell us five random facts about yourself.
1. I grew up on the Jersey Shore and had a grandmother named Snookie.
2. I am obsessed with The Vampire Diaries and The Originals. Obsessed. I blame (owe a thanks to?) Anne Rice’s The Vampire Lestat for sucking me into all things vamp as a kid.
3. However, I am a total wuss when it comes to scary movies. Total. Wuss.
4. I can listen to the Downton Abbey soundtrack on repeat 24/7 and never tire of it. It’s the soundtrack to my writing life.
5. I am so short, I need to use a step stool to get the clothes out of my stackable washer/dryer.
What is your favorite element of the cover for Becoming Jinn?
While I am completely in love with the color and the smoky element makes me drool, I’m pretty biased in this answer. It’s got to be the bangle, which I was fortunate to have a hand in choosing.
My main character, Azra, wears a silver bangle that releases her magical powers, and I always envisioned it being part of the cover design. I may have squealed when my editor, Liz Szabla, said Rich Deas, the creative director at Macmillan, had the same idea in mind.
I was then shocked — and thrilled — when Liz recruited my help in finding the bangle to feature on the cover. It’s the perfect representation of both the beauty and the obligation of becoming Jinn.
Why did you most want to write this story?
Becoming Jinn is a modern spin on the traditional tale of wish-granting genies. The genies in my book are Jinn, which are magical beings derived from North African and Middle Eastern lore. As soon as I heard the name Azra, which was during a news report following an earthquake in Turkey, a character popped into my head. I didn’t know she was a Jinn right off the bat, but as I explored what kind of story I could build around her, I was drawn to one that would allow me to add touches from these other cultures.
A fan of contemporary, I decided to merge the fantasy elements with our modern world and drop Azra and her Jinn family into the world in which I live — quite literally into my home state of Massachusetts.
I wanted to write a strong female character who, though not on the run from the government or some evil corporation, has her own battles to fight from within herself as she struggles to discover where she truly belongs. As a teen and even as a young adult, this was something I dealt with, and though I didn’t have to learn to use magic on top of it, the emotions are something I can identify with — something I think most readers can identify with.
Which is easier to write: The first line, or the last line?
The last line. While first lines are hard because so much is riding on them to be the thing that hooks a reader, an agent, an editor, I think there’s another reason why last lines are easier to write.
I’m a firm believer that in order to begin a story, you must know how it ends. If you don’t know where your character will be in terms of his or her emotional arc as well as the story arc, then you have no “finish line” that you are working toward. Your story could spin on and on, you have no way to set markers for your character and plot, you have no way of knowing if you are heading in the right direction or going the wrong way down a one-way, dead-end street.
While I rewrote my first line and first page dozens of times, my last line was written in the very first synopsis I wrote for Becoming Jinn. And it never changed. It was the goalpost I had in sight from day one.
What are you working on now?
Lots! I’m a mentor in two great writing contests: Pitch Wars, run by Brenda Drake, and the Wattpad-Freshman Fifteens short story contest, which I organized. The Wattpad contest was open to teen writers only, and it turns out my Pitch Wars mentee is also a teen. It’s been fantastic to work with these young writers, who are way more advanced than I was at their age — even many years beyond their age.
I recently taught a teen writing workshop as part of the Boston Teen Author Festival, and I’m hoping to do more workshops at festivals, libraries, and schools in 2015 (shout-out to teachers and librarians, hit me up!)
In terms of writing, I just turned in my first pass pages of Becoming Jinn, which means ARCs soon! It was great timing to read through Jinn 1 again because I’m about to dive into my revisions on the sequel, which I wrote over the first half of this year.
Azra’s world is full of characters I love. I talk about them like they are real people, which they are – to me, at least. When I don’t have them in my life, I miss them. There’s been a few weeks break while my editor has been reading Jinn 2, and I’m dying to get back into their world. The sequel will be released in Spring 2016.
For more information…
Enter to win an advanced copy of Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein.
Giveaway open to readers in the U.S. and Canada.
Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein will be released on May 12, 2015.