I arrived to Porter Square Books fairly early and was able to meet up with Molly before the event started. Lori of course looked fantastic in her amazing sage green and white patterned dress adorned with a Jinn bangle around her left wrist. Lori can't grant everyone a wish like Azra can unless it's an amazing book about genies. I loved how she encouraged the audience to write their wish on a white board and take selfies of themselves. They can post them on Instagram and Twitter with #BecomingJinn.
Lori showed the audience a picture of herself when she was younger and showed us multiple inspirational images. One of the inspirational pages had some well known books such as The Outsiders and The Vampire Lestat. When it comes to television, she enjoys watching shows that have magical elements in a contemporary world. It gives a modern spin to something supernatural and paranormal. Some of her favorites include The Vampire Diaries and Charmed. I was super excited when I heard Charmed. I knew Lori is a big Vampire Diaries fan but I was ecstatic when I found out she loves Charmed too. I grew up on Charmed during my middle school and high school years and it's my favorite TV show of all time. She also likes 90210. Just like 90210, Becoming Jinn has a large ensemble of characters.
Before writing Becoming Jinn, her husband encouraged her to write a memoir about being short. She used to write a lot of non-fiction since she majored in journalism and was a copy editor and graphic designer at one point in her life. When Lori saw the words "In Pursuit of Magic" written into the sidewalk, it sparked the beginning Azra's Journey. Lori set a weekly writing goal for herself instead of a daily one. She likes to make a outline of novel before writing. Lori starts early at 8 in the morning but her best time to write is around 3 or 4 in the afternoon since she needs the long lead up time before writing. Lori's editor helped develop the identities of Azra and also the five Zar sisters. Originally, the identities weren't completely flushed out beforehand.
When someone asked about whether the bangle that Lori was wearing is the same one on the cover of the book, she said yes. Lori actually found the bangle at Ten Thousand Villages in Cambridge, MA. She only found two at that location and was able to locate four more at a Ten Thousand Villages store in Portland, ME. Fortunately a friend from San Francisco was visiting Portland at the time and was able to pick up the bangles for her. The bangles are perfect for what Lori envisions Azra and her Zar sisters' Jinn bangles to look like. Speaking of Azra and her Zar sisters, Lori surprised the audience with a small play with teenage girls acting out the birthday scene in Becoming Jinn. I enjoyed the mini play and it was a nice way to incorporate different forms of art during the launch party. Lori's advice to debut authors is to love what you write. You will read what you've written over and over again so choose a topic that you love. Also, don't give up.
Currently Lori is working on two contemporary standalones. Becoming Jinn is part of a duology and the second book's title is something on the lines of Circle of Jinn. However, this is not set into stone. Lori would love to write a spin off with Yasmin being the main character which I would love to read if Lori ever decides to pursue writing in Yasmin's point of view. Lori was certainly not kidding about food, wine and genies being present at the launch party. There were platters of cheese, crackers, strawberries, grapes, olives, wine, water and sodas. And the genies of course were the six teenage girls as Azra and her Zar sisters.
I was able to meet up with Ellie and her friend Lauren before leaving Porter Square Books. I definitely enjoyed the atmosphere of the launch party. It was welcoming and comforting. It was a great way to celebrate Becoming Jinn and to meet new people.