Please welcome the gracious Mina Khan, she is fun, savvy, and is a beautiful writer.
Thank you so much for having me over at your blog, Mary! It’s always a pleasure to visit with you and my Southern Magic chapter mates. :) I’ll be popping in throughout the day to answer any questions your readers might have for me. Giveaway: A signed copy of Wildfire & swag!
Tell us a bit about yourself--by day you are a food writer, by night a fiction writer--How do you change from one writing hat to the other?
Mina: It helps that I do my food writing under my real name -- Rashda, and my fiction writing under my pen name, Mina...of course, sometimes I get totally confused as to which hat I’m wearing, lol! But it also helps that one is non-fiction and the other is fiction to help me keep the two types of writing separate. I think my journalism career with its deadlines and tough editors helped me with my fiction career. However, honing my craft for my fiction I think has helped my overall writing. I’m very fortunate to have two very interesting writing outlets.
M.V: I find this fascinating—being able to write both. And having the deadline training—I’m curious about the editing; which was more stressful the non-fiction deadlines/editing or fiction?
You have a number of books out--tell us about them.
Mina: Lol, okay so I write what I want to write and my interests are all over the place...so I have books in a variety of genres.
M.V: I like the different genres you have; because I think it really rounds you out as writer and a person.
First we have my djinn (genie) stories, which are paranormal romance:
The Djinn’s Dilemma (published by Harlequin Nocturne Cravings) is about a djinn assassin falling for his human target.
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....
M.V: Ah, I love these stories—you have to kill her; but, instead the hero become attracted. Awesome!
A Tale of Two Djinns is a sexy paranormal Romeo & Juliet story with genies, feminists, kickass action & adult fun.
*** This is also my donation story. Fifty percent of every purchase goes to UNICEF in memory of my father***
Akshay, warrior prince of the earth djinns, earns the title of Crown Prince at a high cost when he loses his best friend in a battle against ancient enemies, the water djinns. Heartsick, he escapes to Earth to mourn.
Nothing gets the biological clock ticking (and elders lecturing) like almost dying in battle, so Maya, princess of the water djinns, travels to Earth for some no-strings-attached sex to fulfill her duty and produce an heir. But the beautiful and tough warrior gets more than she bargained for when she meets Shay.
Their not-so-simple one-night stand is interrupted by assassins and the world, as they know it, is changed forever. As Maya and Shay pull together to survive, both are determined to have their
happily-ever-after and bring peace to their worlds -- warring families, shadow assassins, and nosy busybodies be damned.
M.V: This is really neat that you are donating a portion of all proceed in memory of your father—I admire that greatly.
Then I have DEAD: A Ghost Story, which is multicultural literary women’s fiction (and a short story). It examines the life and death of Nasreen, an immigrant woman from India.
M.V: You know this is my favorite story of yours—its bittersweet and evocative. I loved this unique tale. Truly a different type of story—so I am going to give it away to one commentator.
And my most recent release is Wildfire: A Paranormal Mystery with Cowboys and Dragons and it’s a paranormal mystery with romantic elements, some have called it urban fantasy.
Lynn Hana Alexander is a 25-year-old Japanese American shape shifter haunted by guilt. She's been questioning herself and her dragon abilities ever since she failed to save her grandmother.
When her best friend is threatened by mysterious fires burning up acres of West Texas, Lynn rushes to the rescue determined not to fail again. However, with a tempting firefighter, a flirty city developer and dragon pheromones distracting her, how is she going to find the arsonist?
And worse: is her primary suspect a malicious rogue dragon or the love of her life?
M.V: I am *excited* you are giving it away! A fun story—I know at the reader’s luncheon you were at they sold like hot-cakes.
What are you working on now?
Mina: On the nonfiction side: I’m working on two food stories for the Texas Foodways project which is documenting the different food traditions of the state. As well as writing a weekly food column for our local newspaper.
On the fiction side: I’m actually playing in my djinn world right now. I have a short story promised to a paranormal anthology coming out in the summer (I get to work with some awesome authors and I’m so thrilled) as well as part of a trilogy scheduled for later this year and 2015. I have the first draft of another multicultural women’s short story written...I hope to polish that up and release it sometime this year...and yes, I hope to work on a second dragon story as well. Sigh, could we add more hours to the day?
M.V: I love food, the preparation of it and the stories behind it. I think it is fascinating what you are doing. As for the fiction side—sounds like you are busy. I’m with you—more hours in the day would be nice!
What is your writing process--plotting? Pantser? Mixed?
Mina: Definitely a Pantser...though I prefer to go by “Organic Writer.” (It sounds less crazy...)
M.V: Organic writer—this I like. And crazy—let’s face it we are writers it goes with the territory.
Do you write in the morning or evening or whenever you can?
Mina: I prefer early, early morning... 4 or 5 a.m., but since I have a crazy busy life (family, day job, and volunteering), I really try to sneak in some writing whenever I can.
M.V: I’m trying to do that early morning stuff…. *blinks* and *yawns* I’ll let you know that works. Funny how we writers have to get creative to get our writing accomplished.
You are a food writer--and you have a wonderful Tea recipe to share:
Mina: Lol, food is such an integral part of the human existence! My heroine, Lynn, in Wildfire makes herself tea when she needs to think. Similarly, whenever I find myself overwhelmed by the hustle-bustle of life I turn to tea. Making tea and savoring it helps me slow down and find my calm.
M.V: Tea is my go to as well. I wax poetic about coffee, but it’s tea which grounds me when I need it.
Here’s my recipe for
Rashda’s Relaxing Spiced Tea
You can adjust the amount of spices. I like a delicate aroma and sweetness. Others who prefer more bite, may up the cloves and bay leaves or even add a few black peppercorns.
1 small bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
3 cardamom pods (tips cracked open)
4 cups of water
2 bags of tea (English Afternoon, Rooibos, Darjeeling or you can use the flavored teas – Mixed Berry or Pomegranate etc.)
2 tea mugs
Honey and lemon wedges
dash of ground nutmeg or allspice (optional)
1. Place a tea bag in each mug and set aside.
2. Places spices and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a good boil, remove, and pour carefully into each mug. *Note: Either spoon out the spices or strain the liquid before pouring!
3. Cover and let steep for 3 to 5 minutes. Then remove the tea bags. (The longer you steep, the stronger the tea will be).
4. Stir in honey and lemon juice to taste. Add a dash of nutmeg or allspice to each if using. Enjoy!
M.V: I have got to try this—I love spiced tea like this and this looks wonderful!
You are originally from Bangladesh--what do you miss, and what do you love here in the U.S? (I know this question can be a pain..lol)
Mina: Well, that’s a hard one to answer...because they are so different. People in Bangladesh are very colorful – they wear bright colors, they do a lot of public art -- from walls to trucks to rickshaws. (Here’s a cool website for you to check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rickshaw_art_in_Bangladesh). This colorful creativity reminds me that art can happen anywhere, even among the poorest of the poor. I miss being surrounded by that bold creativity and color in everyday life.
And one of the things I love about the U.S. is being able to go for a walk by myself...without attracting unwanted and unpleasant attention. It’s a simple thing, but I cherish the freedom, the autonomy I have here as a woman.
M.V: Color what a glorious thing; I am at heart an artist so this appeals to me. But your comment about being able to walk by yourself touched me; because I think sometimes we forget what we do have. Thank you for reminding me.
All right---something fun; What story/book you ever read would you like to be a part of or meet the characters in real life?
Mina: Oh this one’s easy – Roarke (love his Irish sexiness and confidence, his mysterious shady past, and his bank balance is nice too...) from J.D. Robb’s In Death series (preferably without Eve Dallas who would so kick my ass or shoot me for flirting with her man...)
M.V: Oh this is awesome! I have heard so much about this “In Death” series but have never started it—because of time constraints. I am adding this to my TBR list.
Thank you Mina, for being here today, it was a true pleasure to have you and I hope you stop by again. You are one of my favorite people!
Mina Khan is a Texas-based writer and food enthusiast. She writes about djinns (genies), dragons, hunks and whatever else that catches her fancy. She also writes a weekly food column for the San Angelo Standard-Times as Rashda Khan. Originally from Bangladesh, she is now a proud West Texan.
You can find her here: Blog