Guest Post: Djinns on my Brain by Mina Khan + Giveaway

Filed in featured , Giveaways , Guest Post , Mina Khan , The Needy Lover Posted on February 20, 2012 @ 7:00 am 41 comments

We’re excited to welcome paranormal romance author Mina Khan to BLI today! She stops by to talk a bit about her childhood in Bangladesh, including one particular summer during which she had a brush with an unexplainable and magical occurrence. Those experiences helped later shape her storytelling and inform the mystique of her tales about djinns! So without further ado…welcome, Mina!


Thanks Alisha & Book Lovers Inc., for inviting me to share my favorite paranormal creature with your readers.

My debut novella, The Djinn’s Dilemma (Harlequin 2011), featured a djinn-human hybrid assassin who falls for his human target and must keep her alive from the bad guys. My second novella, A Tale of Two Djinns (coming out March 2012), is a Romeo & Juliet story involving warring djinn families, feminists & a happy ending! ☺

So yes, I have djinns on my brain. They are part of my story-psyche.

“Djinn,” pronounced “gin,” are the same as genies. They are supernatural creatures of “smokeless flames” with deep roots in the Middle Eastern mythology that preceded Islamic culture, and their stories spread not only in the Middle East, but far into Asia and Africa.

Growing up in Bangladesh (located on the Indian sub-continent), I was surrounded by the idea of djinns. I grew up in a house supposedly built at a crossroads of the djinn and human world, nourished on skin-tingling tales about these otherworldly supernatural creatures with awesome scary powers–stories of djinns falling obsessively in love with human women and stealing them away from their families, stories where humans inadvertently insulted invisible djinns and paid dearly for their mistake, and stories of djinns granting wishes and making impossible dreams come true.

My imagination has always been very active, and after such stories I’d see shadows looming on the walls and catch flitting movement from the corner of my eye. In other words, I’d be deliciously scared silly. And I would beg for more stories from my grandmother and aunts.

But for a long time, the stories remained stories. Then one summer my family visited Faridpur, my mother’s village in Bangladesh. Only one or two houses in the neighborhood had color television back then. So, though we were invited to dinner at an aunt’s house, my cousins and I (we were about 11 or 12) remained at another relative’s house to watch an episode of MacGyver (yes, I’m dating myself).

After the show, we trekked our way to dinner. While the village had electricity, street lights didn’t exist at every corner and it was very dark. We had a kerosene lantern to light our way, and some of the older cousins gleefully told stories of djinns and ghosts.

At one point we had to pass a small family graveyard. As we walked past, two fiery balls hurtled out of the dark and crossed our paths, merely inches from our faces. Absolute silence held for a long moment. Without any discussion, we broke into a run and screamed all the way to my aunt’s house. To this day, I don’t know what exactly we saw that night…but I can recall the bone-liquefying terror.

Since then, I believe there are many things in this world we can’t explain. I believe stories can hide a greater truth and words have power. I write to explore the depth of my nightmares and the breadth of my imagination. I write to make sense of the world.

So what stories did you grow up with? Have you ever had a brush with something extraordinary?

Author Bio:
Mina Khan is a Texas-based writer and food enthusiast. She daydreams of hunky paranormal heroes, magic, mayhem and mischief and writes them down as stories. Between stories, she teaches culinary classes and writes for her local newspaper. Other than that, she’s raising a family of two children, two cats, two dogs and a husband.
She grew up in Bangladesh on stories of djinns, ghosts and monsters. These childhood fancies now color her fiction. Her debut novella, THE DJINN’S DILEMMA was published November 2011. A second novella, A TALE OF TWO DJINNS, will be available March 2012.

Where to find Mina:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

The Djinn’s Dilemma

Rukh O’Shay, half-djinn and assassin, is used to taking out the bad guys. But his latest assignment, Sarah White, is nothing like he expected. A glimpse of her bright aura reveals her gentle spirit, while her luscious beauty clouds his mind and makes him long for only one thing—to taste her.

Sarah shares the feeling of raw desire at Rukh’s touch. He can turn her on with a glance, and satisfies desires she didn’t even know she had. But Rukh had been hired to kill her—and the only way to save her is to find out who wants her dead before someone else finishes the job…

Find it at Goodreads – AmazonPublisher Website – Barnes and Noble



To celebrate Mina’s visit to BLI, two lucky commenters will win an ebook copy of The Djinn’s Dilemma!

All you have to do is leave a question for Mina or answer her own question to you, noted abovewhat stories did you grow up with? Have you ever had a brush with something extraordinary?

(You can read our full giveaway policy here)

Please be sure to include a valid email address in the comment form (need not be in the actual body of the comment).

This giveaway is open to all!

Giveaway ends on Saturday, February 25th, 2012; we will announce the winner on Sunday.

Good luck!

About Alisha

Alisha, the bespectacled and ever nerdy California girl, simply won't leave home without a book in hand. She loves language learnin' and is working toward becoming a bonafide grammar ninja. On any given day you'll find her haunting local libraries or baking scores of cupcakes and sweet treats.

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Join the Discussion
  • aobibliophile™ February 20, 2012 at 7:12 am

    thanks Alisha for introducing me to Mina Khan and her work. thanks as well for hosting the giveaway.
    my Father regaled us with stories about elves, dwarves and fairies. we had a neighbor who told us scary ghost stories every time he came on vacation from the seminary.
    as for a brush with the paranormal, i never had one when i was growing up. i did have a couple now that i’m an adult – i briefly saw the spirit? of my late Aunt at home a few months after her death and a glimpse of a tall dark shadow peering over me while i was up late one night. my Aunt did not scare me but the dark one did…

    • Mina February 20, 2012 at 11:17 am

      Thanks for visiting! And yes, it’s very kind of Alisha & BLI to host this giveaway 🙂

      I love hearing tales of loved ones revisiting us…I recently lost my dad and hearing of such experiences is a great comfort.

  • Gaby February 20, 2012 at 7:29 am

    It must had been awesome to grew up with stories about genies! I don’t think I grew up listening to any particular stories…I was very easy to scare and then I couldn’t sleep at nights xD

    My only brush with something extraordinary was a couple of years ago. I was reading, it was very late at night and suddenly I felt like someone was watching me. I turn my head and I saw a woman wearing a dress, like a maid. I was so scared, I turned on the lights and of course there was nothing. I didn’t say anything, but the next day my mother was telling about a kid at school who was angry at her because she was making him do the homework or something, and told her he was going to send her a ghost at night. O.o Weird kid!

    • Mina February 20, 2012 at 8:51 am

      Hi Gaby, thanks for visiting & sharing your story of the extraordinary…gave me the shivers! I love scary stories of djinns and other things that go bump in the night 🙂

  • aurian February 20, 2012 at 10:38 am

    I never had someone telling me stories. I did read a lot of faery tales from all over the world though, my library had one whole bookcase full of them. Loved that.

    Thanks for the guestpost, and your story. I am looking forward to reading about your Djinns.

    • Mina February 20, 2012 at 11:14 am

      I love libraries! I’m so glad you could travel the world through books 🙂 Reading is a precious gift. Thanks for visiting!

  • Adrienne Giordano February 20, 2012 at 11:01 am

    After my Dad died, I had several things happen (one of which was the television station turning itself to my father’s favorite show) that I’m now convinced were his way of telling me he was still around. It’s a gift really.

    Can’t wait for your new release! Even though I’ve already read it, can’t wait to read it again!

    • Mina February 20, 2012 at 11:12 am

      Thanks for visiting Adrienne! And you’re right…it is a gift. I cherish every dream, every reminder, every feeling that my recently departed dad is near. (((hugs)))

  • Laurie Garnes February 20, 2012 at 11:10 am

    The most clear brush with the paranormal I had wasn’t so much external. My best friend in college and I became so close that we almost seemed to know what the other was thinking most of the time. Once, it was quite literal, rather than a general understanding. We were staying at my grandfather’s and he apparently couldn’t sleep, so he was singing in the kitchen – well into the night. I wasn’t sure if my friend was asleep, yet & I considered apologizing. I know I never actually said anything, although I do tend to think in conversational tones. She responded immediately, as though I’d spoken aloud. This happened a couple of times with us.

    I’d love to read some of the stories from your home, Mina! I’m dying to read “A Tale of Two Djinns”!

    • Mina February 20, 2012 at 12:49 pm

      That’s so cool ~ you’re very lucky to have such a special friendship. Thanks for visiting Lauri & I can’t wait for you to read A Tale of Two Djinns!

  • Sam Bradley February 20, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    I love the Djinn and the magic around them. Mina, thanks for sharing the story of the graveyard. I’ve had weird things like that happen too. You have to believe there’s more out there! Can’t wait to read this!

    • Mina February 20, 2012 at 6:46 pm

      Thanks for visiting Sam! I hope you enjoy the read 🙂

  • Jan February 20, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    I’m too easily scared for my family to tell me stories!
    We lived across from a marae though, with an ancient burial site attached. Construction of a motorway was being fought for and we had warning stories of things being built over burial sites.
    I don’t even like walking over grves in a cemetary as it seems disrespectful.

  • Carla Swafford February 20, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Hey, Mina. Leave me out of the drawing as I already have your wonderful book.

    Until his stroke, my dad use to tell us all kinds of stories about growing up in the South during the thirties and forties, but none were scary. My sister loved scary shows/movies and I would watch them with her (cuddled up to her – the only time you could get us together without fighting).

    Over the years, I’ve had several experiences with the unknown. The most recent creepy one was a couple years ago I was reading late into the night. I started to doze, my eyes still open, and I felt a cold breeze lift my hair on one side and then someone said my name. It wasn’t my husband (I could hear him snoring in the other room). Needlessly to say I quickly got up and went to bed.

    Sorry to hear about your dad. Hugs.

    • Mina February 20, 2012 at 6:55 pm

      Thanks Carla for your kind words & for visiting. I just knew you grew up on stories b/c of the wonderful imagination you bring to your books 🙂 Y’all if you like hot assassins of the human persuasion, Carla’s your gal!

  • Na February 20, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    I grew up surrounded by books and most notably are Anne of Green Gables, Little House on the Prairie, Nancy Drew and Sweet Valley. I also read a lot of classics and recall Little Women as a favortie.

    I like the idea of writing to make sense of the world and I find reading does make my world better.

    • Mina February 20, 2012 at 6:57 pm

      Hi Na! It’s always nice to meet a fellow reader 🙂 Thanks for visiting!

  • Mina February 20, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    Hi Jan, yes every place has its own personality & feel. I love visiting graveyards…esp. old ones, but like you I don’t like walking over graves, and will take the long way around.

  • Cathy February 20, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    Your stories of the djinns sound fabulous!

    I grew up in the South – a land of story-tellers. The most pervasive ghost story I can think of is the Grey Man – the tale of two lovers; he died attempting to see her after a long absence. Heartbroken, she wandered the beach where they used to walk. A figure appeared, warning her about an approaching hurricane.
    Legend has it he appears to warn coastal residents of approaching storms – best to heed the warnings and head for higher ground!

    • Mina February 21, 2012 at 9:46 am

      Oh what a lovely, heartwrenching story…I love when the mix of supernatural & romance…thank you for sharing!

  • June M. February 21, 2012 at 4:09 am

    I grew up with the traditional fairy tales but I don’t think any involved Djinns. I guess the first stories with Djinns I can remember are movies from the 80’s in the horror section. Great movies but it paints Djinns as evil.
    The book looks really good and I would love to read it. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

    • Mina February 21, 2012 at 9:52 am

      Lol, yes I think a lot of time movies portray djinns as evil or cutesy (I’m thinking of certain Hollywood/Disney ones!), but my childhood djinns (and those in my books) are powerful beings who can choose to be good…very, very good…or bad…very, very bad.

  • meninaiscrazy February 21, 2012 at 5:35 am

    I grew up in Texas and there are lot’s of stories here. I remember one of my friends from school talking about her home town and how one of her relatives had been involved in it and when I was home I was telling my and then my Mom was a little freaked out because our family had a similar story. Turns out our families used to know each other about a hundred years ago. LOL

    • Mina February 21, 2012 at 9:54 am

      Hi there! I live in Texas now & love it…the people have so many wonderful stories 🙂 Thanks for visiting!

  • Tamsyn February 21, 2012 at 8:56 am

    The stories I hear when young mostly involves gods and goddesses, the spirit world and magic. One of the most popular stories is about The Monkey God who accompanied a priest on a journey to get the sutras and they encounter a lot of spirits and deities along the way. My favourite!

    • Mina February 21, 2012 at 10:01 am

      I love Hanuman 🙂 and growing up I devoured comics that featured Hindu gods and goddesses and legends of the spirit world. Loved them. What a wonderful rich story foundation to grow up with!

  • sienny February 21, 2012 at 10:10 am

    when i was a kid i read any kind of book i can get my hands on. from donald duck, to the epic of mahabarata 🙂 then i got to know the journey to the west and other chinese legend.

    • Mina February 21, 2012 at 11:17 am

      I love the diversity of legends the world has to offer. I think every culture has its creation myths and explanations and in reading you can discover new takes and common threads.

  • erinf1 February 21, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Thanks for a great post and giveaway!

    As the only reader in my household, my fondest memories are of being dropped off at the library and spending my Saturdays there 🙂 I remember reading J.R.R. Tolkien, Madeleine L’Engle, C.S. Lewis and just getting lost in the fantasy worlds. I was *in* the stories and my little mind would come up with all kinds of scenarios with me and the main characters. Wish I still had that kind of imagination now!

    • Mina February 21, 2012 at 11:20 am

      OMG, I love your profile pic! What a cute pup 🙂 My father was a ship’s captain and I spent the early part of my childhood sailing with books for my playmates…and loved getting lost in fantasy worlds. Now the library is my second home, lol.

  • Victoria Zumbrum February 21, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    My parents weren’t big on reading stories when I was younger and nothing extraordinary happen to me. But this never stopped me from developing my love of reading. I would love to read your book. It sounds very good.

    • Mina February 21, 2012 at 10:43 pm

      Thanks Victoria! Good luck 🙂

  • Yadira A. February 21, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    I wish I’ve had a brush with something extraordinary! Since I haven’t I tend to like reading about others who have:) Wasn’t much of a reader growing up unless it was school required, but now I love it and have a lot of time wasted to make up for.

    • Mina February 21, 2012 at 10:44 pm

      Lol, yes, I love going on adventures via books 🙂 Fortunately, there’s so much to choose from. Happy reading!

  • bn100 February 22, 2012 at 2:28 am

    I enjoyed your post. I grew up reading fairy tales. I haven’t encountered anything extraordinary yet.

    • Mina Khan February 22, 2012 at 9:41 am

      Thank you! You never know what’s around the next bend of life or in the next book!

  • Naima February 22, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Hi, Mina!
    Wow!! How wonderfully scary!! LOL! I’ve never had a brush with the unknown but I LOVE ghost tours. Every city my husband and I visit we find the ghost tours and go to the graveyards and old buildings where murders, betrayals, etc happened and the ghosts still hang out. You would think we would have encountered something–or someone–by now, but not yet! Awesome post and your books rock!!

  • Mina February 22, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    Thanks Naima! Speaking of ghost tours & graveyards…have you read Casey Daniel’s Pepper Martin series? The heroine is a cemetery tour guide & has wonderful run-ins with ghosts 🙂

  • Rachel Vessar February 22, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    I grew up in what I consider it to be a haunted house but other than that I havent really had a brush with anything extraordinary. The book and the series sounds like a good read. Thanks!

    • Mina February 24, 2012 at 11:02 am

      Thanks Rachel! Good luck!!!

  • Mina February 25, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    Thanks Alisha & BLI, for the giveaway! I had fun visiting with your readers 😀

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