Third Interview

What gave you the idea to write The Eighth Scroll?

Answer: I, like many people, wondered what was so interesting about the Dead Sea Scrolls. Who cares about a bunch of two thousand year-old scrolls that tell us what we already know? Who cares? I’ll tell you who cares: Every secret service and every revealed religion in the world. When I learned why they care, I simply had to write The Eighth Scroll to explain.

Did you see any of the Qumran scrolls? Did you visit the actual place where the Dead Sea scroll was found?

Answer: I toured the Dead Sea roughly fifteen years ago. Yes, I have seen some of the Qumran scrolls, but few people in the world have seen all of them.

You have a full-time job. So when do you find the time to write?

Answer: I guess you must be disciplined and well organized. When everyone else in my family is watching TV, I’m writing. I prefer to make my own movies than to watch somebody else’s. “Uh, wait a minute,” you might say, “The Eighth Scroll is not a movie, it’s a book.” Well, yes, that’s true. But many readers remark that my writing is extremely visual — the book reads like a movie in the mind. That is my style, and that is what I think readers want these days.

I couldn’t find the name of the publisher? Did you self-publish? And if so, why?

Answer: First time authors have an extremely difficult time breaking into the literary market these days. I self-published hoping that book sales would attract a literary agent or publisher to me, rather than me having to chase them. 

Have you been influenced by The Da Vinci Code?

Answer: This question keeps coming up. The fact is that I wrote The Eighth Scroll before I ever read The Da Vinci Code. For what it is worth, many readers who make this comparison say they like The Eighth Scroll better.

Why are you so interested in religious subjects?

Answer: I have diverse interests, and they all revolve around the concept of saving something: the environment, history, mankind, etc. Religion is concerned with saving the most important element of our existence – our souls.

What has been the feedback from readers and critics?

Answer: It is difficult to publicize a self-published book, which is why I have been humbled and pleasantly surprised to have seen so much positive feedback. On the flip side, it is not surprising that The Eighth Scroll upsets certain religious adherents, and I believe we see their ‘righteous indignation’ reflected in some of the more negative reviews.

Has the book really had an influence on certain of your readers?

Answer: Judging from the reviews, I would say “Yes.” Many say the book challenges their beliefs or leaves them thinking.

The description of the bleeding bodies is so realistic! Do you find that your medical background was helpful?

Answer: I imagine all authors write from a combination of experience and imagination.

Do you have any affinities with the characters in the book? Like Michael and his father?

Answer: I like all of the protagonists of my books, and I dislike all of the antagonists. In any adventure, we side with the characters that represent the values we admire. But do I share qualities with Michael or his father? Not really. Well, except for being really great guys, that is . . .

Are you writing another novel?

Answer: I am searching for an agent to represent all of my novels right now, to include a recently finished action/adventure and another work in progress.

Would you like to become a full-time author? And if so, why haven’t you?

Answer: Why haven’t I? Mmm, there’s this thing called money, see? Few authors have it. If my books take off and start filling shopping carts with cash, ask me this again.

I hope you will not mind me asking but what are your religious beliefs? You do not have to answer if you do not wish to do so.

Answer: I converted to Islam in 1994. However, I stand on the platform of freedom of religious choice, religious tolerance outside of sacred precincts, and the need for mankind to adopt a global ethic that is workable for all.

Have you been living for a long time in Saudi Arabia? Why did you choose “The Kingdom?”

Answer: I have lived in Saudi Arabia since 1999, and I love it. Life has difficulties everywhere, but for the most part I feel the “difficulties” trumpeted in Western media either don’t exist, or are grossly exaggerated by those who have contrary interests/objectives.

You have a full-time job and you write. Do you have time for anything else?

Answer: I eat and sleep sometimes. My family knows I’m home when they find my shoes by the door. I would like to say that I am joking, but some days it really is that bad.