Thriller author Thomas Booker joins me today. We’re chatting about his new novel, The Persian Woman.
Thomas Booker has roughnecked in the oilfields of Texas, dined with royalty in Europe, forded crocodile-infested rivers in Africa, and trekked the backwoods of Canada, among many other adventures. He currently is helping to build a children’s clinic in Southeast Asia.
Welcome, Thomas. Please tell us a little bit about your current release.
The Persian Woman traces the struggle of an American man to overcome his prejudice against Muslims. Main male character Jeffrey Quinn is a former Navy SEAL whose wife was killed by a jihadist. Perhaps understandably, he is embittered toward all Muslims. His attitude is challenged when he comes into possession of information that a terror attack is being trained on the United States. When he takes this information to the FBI he is chagrined to learn that the agent assigned to the case is Parvin Sassani, the Persian woman of the title. He refuses to work with her because she is Muslim. He continues his recalcitrance until she puts her own career on the line to save him from a false charge of homicide. From then on he helps her every way he can, in the process discovering that she is a woman of great warmth, culture and courage. He concludes that “she had been the best human being of us all.”
What was your inspiration for this book?
This book began with a disconnect between what I was seeing in the media about Iranians (i.e. Persians) and what I was seeing in my travels. The media invariably focuses on the rabid zealots such as the ruling mullahs and the Revolutionary Guards. They make good villains for the daily narrative. But the Iranians I was meeting were among the most cultured and hospitable people I ever encountered. I decided to tell their story in The Persian Woman.
Excerpt from The Persian Woman:
I was not a bigot, I told myself. A bigot is a person who dislikes another because the other is different: Catholic, Jewish, black-skinned or copper-skinned or yellow skinned, or simply from a part of the world where not all the buildings are air-conditioned. A bigot burns crosses in front yards, lynches innocent men, and blows up churches filled with children. A bigot wears goofy uniforms and comic book masks and attends secret meetings late at night to hear other bigots spout conspiracy fantasies or just tell snide and nasty little jokes. A bigot takes a bath once a week in a galvanized tub and brushes his teeth with his fingers. A bigot is a classless jerk who hates for no reason. Well, that wasn’t me. I wasn’t a bigot. I just wasn’t going to have anything to do with the woman, that’s all.
What exciting story are you working on next?
A venture by mercenaries into Mexico to capture a wanted terrorist.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When a publishing executive in New York phoned me and said they wanted to publish my book. She said, in a complimentary way, that it was “unbelievable” anyone could write a first novel like The Persian Woman. Nevertheless, independent spirit that I am, I elected to go the Kindle self-publishing route. It’s my belief that traditional book publishing, like traditional newspaper publishing, is fading into the past. This belief has been bolstered recently by Kindle’s new service to make e-books available in print-on-demand paperback format. The Persian Woman is now available in paperback on Amazon. It has a great book design. Check it out.
Do you write full time?
Yes. In the mornings I do research and general background boning-up. I write in the afternoons.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
My mother wanted me to be a priest; I wanted to be anything but.