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Ripped From His Mind

J. L. Sullivan Author Interview

From Brick & Darkness follows a young man whose life turns dark when he unleashes a sinister demon in search of his fantasies. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

I always wanted to write a fairy tale retelling. As I researched original fairy tales and folklore, I stumbled upon the original Aladdin’s Lamp story from One Thousand One Nights. I loved it, so decided to tackle a retelling, but as my version unfolded, it evolved further and further from the source material. The themes are the same, but this novel became less of a retelling and more of a dark reimagining of Aladdin’s tale.

Can you discuss the themes of temptation, guilt, and redemption in the book and how they play out through the character of Bax?​

Everyone has fleeting thoughts and irrational ideas that peek out every now and then before we clear our heads and move on. We are consciously aware that we cannot take action on every thought or impulse without facing real-world consequences. Society is fortunate that, as humans, we have this ability. We can’t always control our thoughts, but we can control our actions.

In my novel, a djinn pulls Bax’s wishes from the depths of his subconscious, using whatever means necessary to make those desires real. The demon brings to life the momentary impulses floating in Bax’s mind without regard for repercussions or consequences, no matter how greedy, selfish, or cruel they are. Essentially, Bax loses his ability to “clear his head and move on,” as his fleeting thoughts fuel the djinn’s actions and hurt those around him. Bax is then forced to confront the consequences of those ideas that the djinn ripped from his mind.

How did you approach world-building in the book, particularly in creating the mythology surrounding the djinn and the use of the ring as a magical artifact?​

 Djinn have a long and storied history. The jolly blue guy who tells jokes and sings is a rare interpretation. Most djinn—and there are many kinds—pride themselves as mischievous tricksters or dangerous demons. And because djinn legends have evolved alongside human cultures, their influence can be felt in societies around the world. Many believe a type of djinn called Shaitaan is what early Christians came to know as the devil, while another type called a ghul, is where the word ghoul originated.

With the plethora of djinn myths, legends, and stories, creating my own mythology was easy in some ways, and overwhelmingly daunting in others. However, once I read Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp from 1001 Nights, I knew I’d grounded my story. In it, Aladdin unleashes a genie from a ring, and I knew immediately that however my story turned out, the ring would be a central focus.

 What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

 I’m working on a sequel that will pick up at the end of FROM BRICK & DARKNESS. There were a few plot lines I intentionally didn’t wrap up, so the next book will revisit Bax and the djinn-verse a few weeks after this book. It is still in draft form, but I’m hoping for an early 2024 release.

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Bax always fantasized something remarkable would happen in his life. So when a decrepit man with glowing purple eyes offers him a ring intended for his estranged father, Bax accepts.

The ring speaks to Bax in a dream, tempting him with a vision of a powerful djinn. Desperate to make his fantasies a reality, Bax unleashes a creature called Ifrit, but soon learns this djinn isn’t what the ring led him to believe. Feeding off the depths of his subconscious, the sinister demon fulfills what he thinks Bax wants by manipulating, threatening, and murdering. With everyone he loves in danger and a trail of crimes pointing back at him, Bax must scramble to solve the puzzle that will banish Ifrit forever.

From Brick & Darkness

From Brick and Darkness by J.L. Sullivan is a fascinating youth-adult fantasy novel that captivates your attention and feeds your imagination. This story involves a young, fatherless boy searching for a place to belong. When a disheveled man suddenly appears with a magic ring, claiming to have known his father, he reveals that the ring contains a genie that can grant his deepest desires. The man also cautions the boy to be careful what he wishes for, as he and his friends are thrust into unexpected situations beyond their control.

This thrilling story will take you on an intense emotional roller coaster with well-developed, likeable characters. Each scene is skillfully thought out, so the reader can understand and visualize the characters’ living. As I turned one page after another, I eagerly wanted to learn more about Bax, his desire to learn about and know his dad, and the ring’s power over him. Should he embark further, despite the risks, or turn back? The vivid narration made it easy for me to get immersed in the storyline.

J.L. Sullivan’s book is both adventurous and chilling, with unexpected twists and turns throughout the story. It’s a fun read that’s ideal for fans of fantasy and fiction, with a sense of mystery.

From Brick and Darkness by J.L. Sullivan is a thrilling young-adult novel ideal for a weekend read. It’s a visually engaging book, and I look forward to reading more from this author.

ASIN 150924008X | Pages: 362

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