We had a great opportunity to ask Jessica Khoury, who is the author of The Corpus Trilogy (Origin, Vitro and Kalahari) some questions about her newest novel, The Forbidden Wish.
The Forbidden Wish, is Jessica’s take on a popular figure, Aladdin. The book will be released on February 23, 2016 and the first five chapters are available through Jessica’s website. Read the synopsis for the book below below:
She is the most powerful Jinni of all. He is a boy from the streets. Their love will shake the world…
When Aladdin discovers Zahra’s jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn’t seen in hundreds of years — a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra’s very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes.
But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity—only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?
As time unravels and her enemies close in, Zahra finds herself suspended between danger and desire in this dazzling retelling of Aladdin from acclaimed author Jessica Khoury.
Here’s our interview with Jessica:
Nerds and Beyond: What are you watching/reading right now?
Jessica Khoury: I’m on a Masterpiece kick right now, and am currently racing through Mr. Selfridge. Think Downton Abbey meets Macy’s Department Store. It’s very good! Though basically every TV show I watch is just a way to pass time until Game of Thrones comes back. (JON SNOW LIVES!)
N&B: What book have you read that you think had the best adaptation into film?
JK:I’m a huge fan of both the film and book versions of The Neverending Story, The Princess Bride, and The Martian. I think these are great examples of movies that have nailed the tone of the original story. My favorite YA book, Tomorrow When the War Began, also had a really good movie adaptation! I’d love to see the rest of that series on film.
N&B: What inspired you to create a version of Aladdin we’ve never seen before in The Forbidden Wish?
JK: This story began with the simple question, “What if Aladdin’s genie were a girl?” And immediately I saw how that one twist could change everything! I became obsessed with the idea and knew I had to tell it.
N&B: Was Zahra’s character pulled from any real-life inspiration?
JK: In preparation for this story, I did a lot of research into the ancient queens of Persia and Syria. I drew a lot of inspiration from powerful women like Zenobia and Artemisia who were not only great rulers, but also strong military leaders. They inspired many of the female characters in The Forbidden Wish, like Zahra, Caspida, and Roshana.
N&B: What is one characteristic of Zahra’s that you admire the most?
JK: Her resilient compassion. Despite thousands of years as a slave to a succession of mostly cruel, greedy masters, she retains the ability to empathize with and care for humans. Though she’d never admit that, of course! Her heart is not as hardened as she believes it to be, and that has the potential to either save or destroy her.
N&B: Are you working on anything else right now (besides the upcoming release of The Forbidden Wish?)
JK: I am working on a few new ideas, still very much in the early stages, but I’m quite excited about them and am hopeful that I’ll get to share them soon! I’d love to work on another fantasy novel, with more unique world building and powerful girls.