Molly Odintz in Crime Reads:
Molly Odintz: The premise for this novel is wildly inventive. What was your inspiration?
Zarqa Nawaz: When my memoir, Laughing All the Way to the Mosque, didn’t make it to the New York Times Best Seller list, I became a little cynical towards life. It was 2014 and ISIS had just emerged and was dominating the headlines. Muslims are forever fighting the PR war when it comes to their image. Political pundits were opining that radical Islamic jihadists were the norm in Muslim culture. I knew there was a deeper story behind ISIS, especially from the one the media was portraying. I started doing research and the novel began to emerge—a bitter writer, reeling from professional failure, gets embroiled in an ISIS like group and a series of unfortunate events ensue.