Q: You are an American convert to Islam. What lead you to become Muslim?
A: To begin with, you have to understand what it means to be Muslim. As I go down this list, ask yourself what you don’t agree with: The first of …
Q: We see so much tragedy and slanted viewpoints on the news about the Middle East. Are things really as tragic there as the news portrays?
A: That depends on your viewpoint. If you support the Zionist state of Israel, you will have a very different outlook than if you hold basic humanitarian values and sympathize …
Q: What led you to write The Eighth Scroll?
A: The Eighth Scroll was simply a slam-dunk of an action/adventure novel. The Dead Sea Scrolls are the greatest archeological find of the twentieth century – a library of scriptures …
Q: What kind of research did you do when writing the novel?
A: Uff. Tons. Sometimes you have to read a hundred books just to write one good one. I read everything I could on the subject, beginning my education in the …
Q: You have been very open about using an editor to help you through the writing process. What role did they play?
A: Most of my professional writing experience was in the field of non-fiction. My first four books, The First and Final Commandment, MisGod’ed, God’ed, and Bearing True Witness were all …
Q: Do you recommend working with an editor before submitting your work to agents?
A: Nah. Why bother? It’s only the difference between life and death in the literary world. Seriously, unless you are an unusually skillful writer, a good editor can make the …
Why did you decide to write The Eighth Scroll?
I couldn’t resist. It was the setting of the greatest adventure I could imagine. The scrolls’ keepers hid the Dead Sea Scrolls away in the incredibly bloody period of the Jewish Revolt. Then the Romans massacred them in the most horrific manner, laid siege to Jerusalem, wiped out the insurgents and destroyed the Jewish Temple. Jump to present day when my story, The Eighth Scroll, unfolds, and the intrigue is no less dynamic, the real-world concerns vivid and viable, and the tension no less intense.
1) Explain how you came to write The Eighth Scroll, including any interesting experiences in doing so or getting it published:
About seven years ago, I was researching material for another book I was writing at the Library of Congress. An Arab gentleman was sitting next to me at the reading tables, and we fell into conversation. Eventually, I asked what he was working on. Now, anybody who has spent time in the reading rooms at the Library of Congress knows that it is a tense environment. ..
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.