Wednesday 18 May 2016

Carol Riggs tells us about the birth of Bottled, her about-to-be-released genie novel for Clean Reads.

Hello, and many thanks to Denise for inviting me to do a guest post on her blog!

THE (long, extended) BIRTH OF BOTTLED

 On a winter’s day in February of 2011, I happily finished my YA sci-fi, SAFE ZONE…the novel that will release in October of this year, 2016. That very same night, I tossed and turned with a brand new idea for a novel. It would be a story about a genie, a light fantasy that would be mostly contemporary with a twist of magic. It could have a dual point of view, one from the genie and one from the master. There would be romance! adventure! danger! but I’d have to make it different enough from Disney’s “Aladdin” and the old TV show, “I Dream of Jeannie.”

At the time, I didn't know of any genie novels being published, so it was fresh and different from the vampires, werewolves, angels/demons, fairies, etc. that were popular then. Time passed while other stuff happened. I signed with an agent for my debut (THE BODY INSTITUTE) and worked on that. She suggested that one point of view might be better, so I dropped the dual POV idea. I wrote on BOTTLED  when I could, mostly in 2012 and 2103. My agent preferred another novel over BOTTLED, so we shelved it for a while.

After my agent and I amicably parted ways in 2015, I dusted the manuscript off and shaped it up. By that time, there actually were genie novels being published, about a dozen of them (rats, so much for being unique and beating the trend). In 2015 I tried out a Twitter pitch during #SFFpit to agents and editors, and got some responses that didn’t pan out. In December of 2015 I threw out some more tweets during another Twitter pitch: Transformed into a genie by a scheming man, Adeelah searches for her human love while protecting her new intriguing master. #PitMad #YA

One small press showed interest, and I submitted to them. I then remembered another small press I’d heard about, Clean Reads, and looked them up (not to be confused with Clean Teen Publishing). I loved their policy of no graphic violence, profanity, or sex. I submitted via their online form, and viola! FOUR DAYS LATER I found a contract in my inbox. Whoa! I emailed the first press (as is professional/courteous to give them a chance to offer), and ended up signing with Clean Reads. 

As a girl, I used to watch "I Dream of Jeannie" all the time (yes, I am that old), along with "Bewitched." I loved those shows. Except sometimes Jeannie drove me NUTS with all the scrapes and tangles she got her master into. Such chaos! I wanted my novel to be a more serious tribute to the enchantment of the show. Unlike Jeannie, my genie has limited powers and isn't able to use her abilities to reach her own goals. Having limitations with the magic made things more fun and challenging plot-wise.

YOUR WISH. If you had a genie like Adeelah, what would you wish for? Tell me in comments. Here are her limitations:

1. The wish must be tangible. No wishing for abstract things like world peace, true love, or happiness.
2. The wish cannot directly change another person or deal with them against their will (NO healing, making people fall in love with you, bringing someone back to life, giving you long life, materializing the perfect boyfriend/girlfriend/chef/bodyguard/parent, etc).
3. The wishes are not limited to three like some genie stories. They are unlimited.


At seventeen, Adeelah Naji is transformed into a genie and imprisoned in a bottle. For a thousand years, she fulfills the wishes of greedy masters—building their palaces, lining their pockets with gold, and granting them every earthly pleasure. All that sustains her is the hope of finding Karim, the boy she fell in love with as a human. When at last she finds a note from her beloved, she confirms he has access to the elixir of life and that he still searches for her. 

But someone else also hunts her. Faruq—the man who plots to use her powers to murder and seize the life forces of others—is just one step behind her. With the help of a kind master named Nathan, Adeelah continues to search for Karim while trying to evade Faruq. To complicate matters, she begins to experience growing fatigue and pain after conjuring, and finds herself struggling against an undeniable attraction to Nathan.

As Faruq closes in, Adeelah must decide just how much she’ll risk to protect Nathan and be with Karim forever. How much power does she really have to change her future, and what is she willing to sacrifice for an eternity of love? If she makes the wrong choice, the deaths of many will be on her hands. 

Carol Riggs is an author of fiction for young adults (and adults!) who lives in the beautiful green state of Oregon, USA. Her debut novel, The Body Institute, released Sept 2015 from Entangled Teen, exploring body image and identity. Her fantasy YA, Bottled, will release from Clean Reads on July 7, 2016, and her sci-fi YA, Safe Zone, will release from Entangled Teen in October 2016. She enjoys reading, drawing and painting, writing conferences, walking with her husband, and enjoying music and dance of all kinds. You will usually find her in her writing cave, surrounded by her dragon collection and the characters in her head.



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Thanks Carol for lighting up my blog today with your genie Adeelah!
  • How about you, dear reader. Are you into genies? Do you remember Bewitched or I Dream of Jeanie?


Carol Riggs said...

Thanks for inviting me here to gab on your blog, Denise! You are awesome. :)

Denise Covey said...

My pleasure Carol. Sorry I was a bit late getting it up.

Ann Carbine Best said...

Ah, how lovely to see Carol Riggs again. So glad you're hosting her, Denise, so I can re-connect. The synopsis of Bottled is well written/intriguing. Even at my age I love teen fiction, and clean reads. And I Dream of Jeanie and Bewitched are in my daughter Jen's DVD stand; she has watched them and watched them and .... I have enjoyed them over the years too.

Congratulations, Carol, on your previous and soon to be published novels. I'm hoping for your success in reaching appreciative audiences, and cheering you on.

Carol Riggs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carol Riggs said...

Thanks so much, Ann! Nice to "see" you here; I appreciate your well-wishes and your comments about BOTTLED.

Chrys Fey said...

Hi Denise! Hi Carol!

A genie novel? I love that! Carol is right. I've never heard of a book about a genie (or genies) before. This is a unique concept. I am a fan of all of the fantasy creatures/characters she listed, and I am definitely intrigued by Bottled.

Cherie Reich said...

Congrats, Carol! There are a few genie books out there now, but yours still sounds unique. Man, with those limits, it's hard to pick something to wish for. Money will do, though. LOL!

Carol Riggs said...

Hi Chrys, fellow fantasy creature fan. :) Funnily enough, the sequel to BECOMING JINN just came out on Tuesday. My genie isn't that kind of genie though. My story is different! LOL

Carol Riggs said...

Hi there, Cherie! Thanks for the congrats. Yep, money would cover a LOT of things, wouldn't it?? :)

DMS said...

I am definitely curious! I loved (and still watch on Netflix) I Dream of Jeanie and Bewitched. I want my magical powers! :) It was interesting to read about Carol's steps to publication. Wishing her all the best! :)

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Congrats to Carol :)

dolorah said...

I do love genies, and loved I Dream of Jeannie. Yes, she sure got the Major is trouble a lot. But it was fun. I miss the innocence of my youth, lol.

So cool you are getting another book out there. Pretty soon you will be a best seller Carol.

Hey Dx; hope you are having a lovely time this weekend.

Nas said...

Congratulations Carol! I remember Bewitched!

Hi Denise!

Denise Covey said...

Hi Nas! Those were the innocent days of sitcoms!

Denise Covey said...

Thanks Donna for coming by! I'm looking forward to reading a genie story too!

Nilanjana Bose said...

Hi Carol,

Great to hear about Clean Reads - no sex or profanity sounds brave and unusual in today's world! Congrats on Bottled!

My wishes would include a treasure chest somewhere :)

Hi Denise, and have a great week ahead both!

Denise Covey said...

You have a great week too Nila!

cleemckenzie said...

Bottled! Now that's a perfect title for a genie story. I love that you've come up with something we know and love, but put a new twist on it. I also love that there aren't any vampires involved.

Carol Riggs said...

Cool, I didn't know those shows were on Netflix! Thanks for your best wishes, Jess!

Carol Riggs said...

Thanks much! I'm excited. :)

Carol Riggs said...

Hi Donna! Thanks for the best-seller confidence. ;o) I'm just happy having people read my books! It's great.

Carol Riggs said...

Thanks, Nas! And Denise--you are so right. Much more innocent sitcoms. :)

Carol Riggs said...

Yes, the Clean Reads philosophy is great, Nilanjana, and thanks for your congrats. Wishing for a treasure chest would be great!

Carol Riggs said...

Ha! No vampires. Yes, I'm hoping BOTTLED as a story is fresh and new-twist enough. I'm surprised the title hasn't been nabbed before now. :)

Yolanda Renée said...

Hi, Carol! Such an interesting premise. I wish you all the best with Bottled, love the title. I remember I Dream of Jeannie, can't say I liked it, but Robin Williams really made the Aladdin genie come to life. It sounds like a great YA novel!
Hey, Denise, where has the time gone? Are you gearing up for the cold? We've had a lot of rain and cool weather, but they say the 80's are on the way. I'm not looking forward to it.

Denise Covey said...

Time is ridiculously short. My days are chokka and I have trouble getting it all done! And yes, a little cool weather is happening here at last! Out with the boots and coat before it's gone!

Deniz Bevan said...

Congratulations, Carol!

Ooh, a wish. I wish I had an extra room that was wall and ceiling bookshelves and that I could put my entire library in it and stop crowding the rest of the house and hearing snide comments about how I keep buying more books!

Carol Riggs said...

Thank you, Yolanda, for the best wishes! YES, I love what Robin WIlliams did with Disney's Aladdin. So great. :)

Carol Riggs said...

Thanks, Deniz! and Ooooh, I agree with your wish!! I'll add that I'd wish for books already IN the shelves so I wouldn't have to spend $$$ on them. ;o)