had grown up with my father's friends. As a world traveler, he was
drawn to people of different ethnic backgrounds, customs, and
mannerisms, with strange accents and almost indecipherable names.
So, it was no surprise, that when I met my very dear friend, Ali
Nazim, in his garage dojo in Stamford Connecticut, that our karate
sessions, evolved into long conversations and stories about his
At the time, I was considering a series of novels that would allow me to take my protagonist into exotic, if not obscure, countries and learn of their cultures, their traditions, their politics, and their spirituality. I had always loved stories by such authors as Nelson DeMille, James Clavell, Jean Auel, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Robert Ludlum. I also enjoyed reading and hearing Thomas Friedman, a journalist, and Houston Smith, a professor of religion.
Most of my life, I've been captivated by the traditional cultures of the Middle East and Central Asia through history books, literature, and even cheesy Arabian movies with bad dubs. So it made sense, during my discussions with my friend, Ali, that I became intrigued with the dynamics of his country and recognized it as a foreign and mysterious part of the world worthy of some fresh literary exploration. But it was not until the research began in earnest that the dimension of the story in terms of both character and action began to take shape.
Researching the Face of Jinn