Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
After many years of doing peacemaking work between Muslims and Christians in the world's largest Muslim nation, and seeing people from radically different backgrounds come together for peace, I felt inspired to pursue similar paradigm changes for my home nation of America through my novels. My first thriller, SOMEONE HAS TO DIE, exposes the roots of the Muslim-Christian conflict and offers hope for healing Abraham's broken family. The sequel, A WAY OUT OF HELL, tackles how we can respond to ISIS, promoting non-violence as more effective than perpetuating the cycle of killing each other.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
A WAY OUT OF HELL was inspired by my town's front page newspaper headline announcing "ISIS is here!" As I wrote the book, ISIS started popping up in cities all around us–bombing a Starbucks, collecting 23 bombs to be unleashed in a city where I found this out while at that city's airport–then hearing about the San Bernadino and Orlando attacks affirmed to me that we in America need to be ready as well.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Fueled by chocolate!
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Here are a few of my favorites–all of which are hopeful, peace-oriented books, not the doom-and-gloom some authors present:
Carl Medearis and Ted Dekker’s book Tea with Hezbollah, Mark Siljander’s A Deadly Misunderstanding, Brother Andrew’s Secret Believers, Christine Mallouhi’s Waging Peace on Islam, Dave Andrew’s The Jihad of Jesus, and Ed Husain’s The Islamist
What are you working on now?
My new book, A VIOLENT LIGHT, should be out by Christmas. It's about prejudice and terrorism in America. It's easy for Americans to point the finger at those nations on the other side of the world and not take an honest look in the mirror at our own dark side. But in the acknowledging of our darkness, we set the stage for the brightest light to shine.
This book will be much heavier than the previous two, but I think that especially in the fear-crazy environment of our nation facing this presidential election, it will hit home for Americans deeply and profoundly.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I travel and speak a lot on Muslim-Christian issues. People need hope and courage to take a risk to build authentic friendships, and after they hear me speak, buying a book is maybe their first step in the right direction.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
I always let several people with different perspectives take a look at my manuscripts, including those with professional editing skills, before I do my finalfinalfinal rewrite. My books are better for it.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
It's not advice so much, but hearing about other famous authors whose first few books never got published but they kept improving their craft has given me encouragement to keep writing.
What are you reading now?
Brad Meltzer's The Book of Fate
What’s next for you as a writer?
My books tend to start with a paradigm change that's happening within me, then imagining how best to share it with others. So right now I'm open and listening for what I need to learn next.
What is your favorite book of all time?
That's too tough! But one that has impacted me deeply recently is Father Gregory Boyle's Tattoos on the Heart. Nearly every chapter I cried. I cried in the airport, I cried on the airplane, I cried in the hotel room–every time I picked it up it touched something deep inside me, and I hope it increased my capacity to love.