Sunday, May 11, 2014

Spotlight: Exquisite Captive (Dark Caravan Cycle #1) by Heather Demetrios

 Book Description:
Forced to obey her master.
Compelled to help her enemy.
Determined to free herself. 

Nalia is a jinni of tremendous ancient power, the only survivor of a coup that killed nearly everyone she loved. Stuffed into a bottle and sold by a slave trader, she’s now in hiding on the dark caravan, the lucrative jinni slave trade between Arjinna and Earth, where jinn are forced to grant wishes and obey their human masters’ every command. She’d give almost anything to be free of the golden shackles that bind her to Malek, her handsome, cruel master, and his lavish Hollywood lifestyle.

Enter Raif, the enigmatic leader of Arjinna’s revolution and Nalia’s sworn enemy. He promises to free Nalia from her master so that she can return to her ravaged homeland and free her imprisoned brother—all for an unbearably high price. Nalia’s not sure she can trust him, but Raif’s her only hope of escape. With her enemies on the hunt, Earth has become more perilous than ever for Nalia. There’s just one catch: for Raif’s unbinding magic to work, Nalia must gain possession of her bottle…and convince the dangerously persuasive Malek that she truly loves him. Battling a dark past and harboring a terrible secret, Nalia soon realizes her freedom may come at a price too terrible to pay: but how far is she willing to go for it?

Inspired by Arabian Nights, EXQUISITE CAPTIVE brings to life a deliciously seductive world where a wish can be a curse and shadows are sometimes safer than the light.

How I Came up with the idea for Exquisite Captive  

 Believe it or not, the idea for what became EXQUISITE CAPTIVE was the result of a writing prompt. The assignment: create a scene in which a character realizes they have a huge problem. The very first thing that popped into my head was a jinni in a bottle. I have absolutely no idea how I latched onto this idea, but I loved it! I started thinking…what would it be like to have a master you had to grant wishes for? What if you hated him, and hated having to make his dreams come true? One of the reasons writing about jinn appealed to me is that we don’t see much of them in Western fantasy literature. While vampires, werewolves, faeries, and the like have been explored over and over, for some reason the jinn are forgotten about. My only knowledge of the jinn came from watching old episodes of I Dream of Jeannie as a kid—going back and watching those now, I realize that Nalia would absolutely HATE the portrayal of the happy servant jinni (as do I!). Another thing that interested me about the jinn is that they are often portrayed as tricksters and somewhat dangerous. I thought it’d be fun to write a protagonist with a bit of a mean streak. 

Check out these amazing Jinni Couture
More Here

Why am I excited for this?
It reminds me of the Arabian Nights and it is also about "Human Trafficking" 
I have a friend who was trafficked in Bangkok after her vacation about a month ago. Until now she is yet to be found. 

Also the world-building is diverse and colorful. I really can't wait to dive in!

I researched everything I could about these creatures and, of course, delved into Arabian Nights. What I found was fascinating: many cultures are rife with jinn lore. I worked hard to incorporate as much of it as I could into the series and I try to honor the legends and cultures the stories come from in various ways—from making Malek Saudi to having Raif’s evanescence (jinn smoke) smell of sandalwood.   It was clear early on that the story was, in large part, a commentary on trafficking. I didn’t set out to write a book about trafficking—it all came about organically. One day I was writing and I suddenly realized, oh my gosh, Nalia has been trafficked! So began the concept of the dark caravan. It’s been great to use my fiction to better understand and explore issues in our real world that I care about, and I like that this gives young readers an opportunity to consider this issue in a fictive context. That’s part of what I love about fantasy: that we can explore things that are true through our fiction, which, in its own way, becomes another kind of truth.   My experience living abroad and traveling around the world has had an enormous influence on the trilogy. To date, I have been to more than two dozen countries, and traveled to Morocco this past December to do research for book two, BLOOD PASSAGE, which takes place there. (Side note: many Moroccans told me stories about encountering jinn. When I slept out in the Sahara, my driver said a bismillah, a protective phrase which is supposed to keep bad jinn from messing with you). 
You can check the Excerpt Here

All of the segments in EXQUISITE CAPTIVE that occur in international locales are places I’ve been. It was such a blast bringing to life these amazing cities and using them as a backdrop for the quest my creepy ghoul villain, Haran goes on in the novel. Habibi, the underground jinn club in Los Angeles, is based on a wonderful hookah bar I went to in the Arab Quarter in Singapore, some of the gorgeous places I’ve visited in India, and an actual hookah bar in Los Angeles. I want readers to have a sensual experience that evokes the flavors, scents, and imagery of all the cultures I draw from. The first book is set in Los Angeles because I’m a native Angeleno and I rarely see the city featured in YA. I also think it’s the kind of city where the dark caravan would thrive: a place for wishes and wishers, a sexy city with a dark heart. It was the perfect setting for Malek; his power, the decadence of his lifestyle, and the kinds of clients he has Nalia grant for.   Another fun thing about this series is that it has three very distinct segments.

 Book One is about L.A. and the jinn slave trade. Book Two takes place in Morocco and is a journey into the legend of Solomon’s sigil. Book three takes place in Arjinna, the jinn realm, where a civil war is raging. It’s a fun combination of urban and high fantasy. I hope you enjoy EXQUISITE CAPTIVE!   


  1. That is a beautiful cover, but the subject of human trafficking scares me so much!

    Dannielle, that is so horrible about your friend!! I hope they find her soon.

    1. Hi Rachel, Human Trafficking scares me too :c Also, I really hope my friend will be found soon,


  2. Oh my, I love the cover and the synopsis!! :) I'm really looking forward to this book. I hope to get a copy of this some time in the near future.

    Precious @ Fragments of Life

    1. Same! I'm getting this lusty and magical vibes from this book :D WANT!


  3. I'm so sorry about your friend! :(

    Reading a book regarding human trafficking is new to me, so I'm not sure if I'll like this one but the cover looks pretty and the synopsis sounds really good, I might give it a try someday.


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