Ripped From His Mind
Posted by Literary Titan
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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