Interview with Mina Khan + Giveaway goodness!

Filed in featured , Giveaways , Interview , Mina Khan , The Needy Lover Posted on March 27, 2012 @ 7:00 am 37 comments

Author Mina KhanGreetings, fellow book gobblers! It’s my pleasure and honor to welcome back author Mina Khan to BLI today. We get to have a chat about her latest paranormal romance, A Tale of Two Djinns, as well as discuss some of her favorite bookish themes and influences. Mina also talks a bit about the very special connection that her latest book has with UNICEF and its efforts to promote literacy in developing regions. Please give her a warm welcome!


Alisha: Welcome, Mina! So glad to have you back at Book Lovers Inc!

Mina: Thanks so much for inviting me again! I always enjoy visiting with fellow book lovers.

Alisha: Can you describe A Tale of Two Djinns for us–Twitter style (140 characters or less)?

Mina: A Tale of Two Djinns is a sexy paranormal Romeo & Juliet story with genies, feminists, kickass action & adult fun.

Alisha: What is it about the djinn that interests you?

Mina: I grew up on djinn stories and I love them. What’s not to love? Djinns are dark & dangerous supernatural beings, they are intense and powerful, and when they fall in love, they fall hard.

Alisha: The story in A Tale of Two Djinns touches quite a bit on women’s rights, and highlights women’s role in male-dominated society. What inspired you to have the issue feature into the plot?

Mina: Stories are personal and come from the writer’s heart. Being a woman and growing up in a third-world country, marginalization of women was a fact I encountered daily. Not just the overt in-your-face marginalization, but also the more dangerous insidious marginalization that comes cloaked in “for her own good.” Women’s issues have always been important to me and they spilled into A Tale of Two Djinns.

Alisha: That makes perfect sense, then, that you’ve decided to have this book release help positively impact women and girls in various regions of the world. How did UNICEF in particular come into play with this book release?

Mina: My father suddenly died while I was in the middle of the second draft of A Tale of Two Djinns. And my mother moved in with me. Both events made me stop in my tracks and reflect on my life, my writing, and my parents. I wanted to honor and thank my parents for the love and education they gifted me, and I wanted to use my writing to make a difference. So, I decided to donate 50% of the proceeds of A Tale of Two Djinns to UNICEF.

Alisha: The book is set in a djinn world not located on earth. We get a glimpse at some of the types of locales and terrains. From where do you draw inspiration for the djinn-world setting?

Mina: Actually, the djinn world is a parallel dimension to the human world, separate for the most part, but sometimes intersecting. My inspiration comes from part childhood stories, part imagination, part my travels and part Google Earth.

Alisha: What kinds of stories, characters, and themes do you like as a reader? as a writer?

Mina: I was a reader before I became a writer, and I write stories I enjoy reading. I like stories that are complex and layered. A good story shouldn’t just entertain, but affect the reader at different levels. I like strong, intelligent heroines and heroes who are worthy of them & appreciate them. I love heroic themes and rooting for the underdog, also universal themes.

Alisha: Do you have plans to write more tales in your djinn universe?

Mina: Yes, I have djinns on my brain. In fact, I have a few story ideas already sketched out on my computer.

Alisha: Oooh, very cool to hear! What are some other themes you’d like to explore, perhaps even outside of your normal writing zone?

Mina: I’d like to explore themes of identity and labels, the human family, maybe in a literary or nonfiction format.

Alisha: You’re really big on cooking, and even have a blog featuring your culinary adventures. Any chance you might someday put a food-related book out into the world? ^__^

Mina: My day job is working as a food columnist, and my foodie readers have been urging me to put together a book of recipes and essays. I’m definitely keeping that in mind…and I’m toying with the idea of putting food and djinns together in a future story. So yes, there’s a big chance that you’ll see a food-related book from me one of these days.

Alisha: Looking forward to it! Until then, we’ve got to know: what’s your favorite dish to prepare? And how about the most challenging to prepare?

Mina: Khichuri, which is a spiced lentil and rice stew often with bits of veggies. It’s a comfort food from my childhood & actually makes an appearance in A Tale of Two Djinns.

Challenging: Sushi, especially in terms of getting the right quality of ingredients…given that I live in wilds of West Texas. So when I’m traveling I love going for sushi. Plus, watching a Sushi Chef is a Zen experience.

Alisha: Mmmm. Tasty foods all around. It’s hard to go wrong with either of those two dishes. ^_^ Thank you again for your visit, Mina. It’s been wonderful chatting!


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. Her second novella, A TALE OF TWO DJINNS, was released in early March 2012.

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


As Mina mentioned in the interview, half the proceeds from A Tale of Two Djinns will go to UNICEF, in support of women’s literacy centers in Asia. UNICEF (the United Nations Children’s Fund), operates in over 150 countries to protect children and their rights. It works on myriad projects to improve not just the lives of children, but also the communities around them. UNICEF relies on funding from governments and private donors, which is why it always makes a difference to contribute to these causes in any small way. Isn’t it kind of cool to think that your own love of reading can have an impact on efforts to help others learn to read? I think it is. ^_^ Click here for more information about UNICEF-supported literacy centers for women and girls.


Mina has very generously offered a neat swag pack for one lucky commenter! The prize pack includes: a signed post card with the book’s cover art, a genie key chain & a delicious recipe for Khichuri…and of course, a copy of the e-book A Tale of Two Djinns!

All you have to do is leave a meaningful comment on the interview, or leave a question for Mina!
(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, 7 April 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
  • Mina Khan March 27, 2012 at 9:48 am

    Thank you Alisha & Book Lovers Inc., you’re the kindest hosts. I’m looking forward to meeting fellow book lovers & chatting away 🙂

    • Alisha March 31, 2012 at 2:27 am

      It’s been an absolute pleasure. Thank you for taking time to visit the blog!

  • Cynthia Woolf March 27, 2012 at 10:11 am

    I loved the interview. I don’t know much about Djinn’s. Don’t we call them genie’s, as in I Dream of Jeannie the old TV show? That’s probably before you time, but it’s the same thing as the genie in Aladdin. Anyway, I think it’s so wonderful of you to be giving to Unicef. Thanks for the great interview.

    • Mina March 27, 2012 at 12:36 pm

      Thanks for visiting Cynthia & your kind words! And yes, genie is the more familiar term to many… either way, they are intriguing creatures 🙂

  • Anju Gattani March 27, 2012 at 10:39 am

    What an interesting read and I know all about ‘khichadhi’ too. It’s a last-minute meal if nothing else comes to mind at our place and goes great with yoghurt. Your books continue to interest me and now that I’ve learned more about the djinn dilemma, I’m sure I’ll download it asap for a summer read!

    • Mina March 27, 2012 at 12:37 pm

      Thank Anju…in our house any excuse is a good excuse for khichuri 🙂

  • Jeanne Guzman March 27, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Wonderful interview. Your book is now on my To-Be-Read list

    • Mina March 27, 2012 at 12:38 pm

      Thanks Jeanne! I hope you enjoy Shay & Maya’s story!

  • M.V. Freeman March 27, 2012 at 10:47 am

    My two favorite things–literacy and food. AWESOME. I like that you’re donating to Unicef.
    I also find it fascinating about how you took stories you grew up on and made them your own.
    Who is your favorite character in your story and why? (Don’t we all have that one character we love?) 😉

    • Mina March 27, 2012 at 5:44 pm

      My favorite character…*grin* the villain! 😀

  • aurian March 27, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Wow, being a food columnist sounds so good. Does that involve checking out all kinds of restaurants and trying new foods and favourite foods? I would so love that job!
    Good luck on the new release. I love book swag, so thanks for the chance to win. And thanks you for the interview, I enjoyed reading it.

    • Mina March 27, 2012 at 5:47 pm

      Good luck! And yes, it does involve checking out restaurants, trying new foods, reviewing cookbooks, interviewing chefs, & experimenting in the kitchen …in other words, lots of fun! 😀

  • C. K. aka Kathy Crouch March 27, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Hey Mina your book sounds fascinating a paralell world would be interesting. Does it ever intersect with the real world and does it create problems for the two worlds? I am a picky eater so I’d never make it in your job as a food columnist. Does your job include rating service and things as well as the food?

    • Mina March 27, 2012 at 5:49 pm

      Hi Kathy! So good to see you here. Yes the worlds do intersect from time to time and yes there are problems…one of my WIPS definitely delves into that more :)…as for the food job, I do tend to focus on the food more than other things 😀

  • Linda Thomas-Sundstrom March 27, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Lotsa luck with the new book, Mina. Love the cover. Nice interview.

    • Mina March 27, 2012 at 5:35 pm

      Thanks so much Linda!

  • Karen Duvall March 27, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    I love Djinns, too! Congrats on the new book. Woot! 🙂

    • Mina March 27, 2012 at 5:36 pm

      Thank You!

  • June March 28, 2012 at 6:49 am

    Congrats on the release! These Djinns do sound like great characters. I would love to read more about them. And Fred’s suggestions were great! I was chuckling and LOL with them.

  • Victoria Zumbrum March 28, 2012 at 7:45 am

    Thanks for the giveaway. I love the sound of your book and I would love to read it. Please enter me in contest.

  • Mina March 28, 2012 at 7:59 am

    Thanks for stopping by June & Victoria! Good luck 🙂

  • L. j. Charles March 28, 2012 at 9:56 am

    Hi, Mina. Isn’t Google earth the best!? I can’t find some of my pics from Sand Island and had to use GE to peruse the scene for my latest WIP. Great stuff.

    I own A Tale of Two Djinns, so please don’t enter me in the giveaway, but…about that recipe for khichuri…*grin*

    L. j.

    • Mina March 28, 2012 at 11:31 am

      Thanks Lucie! I’m going to have to cook you khichuri one of these days….:)

  • erinf1 March 28, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Thanks for a fun post and giveaway! I haven’t really read much about Djinns but your book sounds fantastic! Definitely adding to my wishlist 🙂

    • Mina March 28, 2012 at 11:33 am

      Hi Erin! You must remedy this because there are some really fun djinn stories out (mine included ;D). Hope you get to read one soon!

  • Filia Oktarina March 28, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Congrats on the release! Your book sounds great and I would love to read it. Please enter me in contest. thanks for fun post and giveaway!!

  • Yadira A. March 28, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    That’s awesome what Mina is doing through her writing to help support UNICEF! I can’t wait to dive into her world of the djinn… I’m sure it is a fascinating universe and Congrats Mina on your latest!!!

  • Mina March 28, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    Thanks Yadira & Filia! Good luck! 🙂

  • Na S. March 29, 2012 at 1:22 am

    I think it’s great that you write the kind of stories you like to read. It should make writing them fun and readers can see that. Congratulations on your release.

    • Mina March 29, 2012 at 10:06 am

      You’re very right, I think the joy does come through and make a story so much more than just typed words on paper. Just like a dish made with care tastes better than one made with only precision.

  • bn100 March 29, 2012 at 2:18 am

    I enjoyed the interview and liked that you included an important issue in your book. The book sounds very good.

    • Mina March 29, 2012 at 10:07 am

      Thank you bn100. I hope you try Shay & Maya’s story and enjoy the read 🙂

  • Justine March 29, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    Oh, I should check out Mina’s food blog! I would drool over a novel including both food and djinns.

    I love sashimi and other raw seafood like oysters, clams, and scallops. I have yet to master making sushi rice with the perfect texture, stickiness, and flavor.

    • Mina March 30, 2012 at 6:47 am

      Thanks Justine! I know djinns and food in one book would be awesome…working on it 🙂

  • Vonda Sinclair March 30, 2012 at 10:45 am

    This is fascinating, Mina! I enjoyed reading about your inspiration–stories from your childhood and very cool that you include issues important to you. I think it’s awesome you are donating to UNICEF. Way to go!

    • Mina March 30, 2012 at 12:20 pm

      Thank you Vonda for your visit & kind words 🙂

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