Interview with AJ Lewis, Author of Another Tomb in Algiers

22 Nov 2023

What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write Another Tomb in Algiers?

While researching a historical character of importance in the Algiers of the 1790s, I came across an intriguing name in an Arabic biographical dictionary, Bu Qabrain or Father of Two Tombs. Reading on, I discovered he was revered as a Sufi saint owing to his spiritual, if not corporeal, presence in two distinct tombs. I had to know more, having translated Sufi tracts in the past and retained an interest in their orders.

What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?

Adventure, maybe with a bit of mystery thrown in for good measure. The promise of unexplored vistas has always compelled me.

What books are on your TBR pile right now?

Devil in the Grove, a true crime novel; Starter Villain by John Scalzi, just because Scalzi is so funny and outrageous; The Centre by Ayesha M Siddiqui; On Earth as it is on Television, by Emily Jane; Winds of Change, by Diana K Robinson.

What scene in your book was your favorite to write?

As a student of Islamic Law, I enjoyed presenting the courtroom scenes for the two blasphemy trials that contrast starkly with Western trials and courtrooms. Through the trials, it is possible to flesh out the characteristics of an entire society, so alien and yet so similar to our own.

Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)

I listen to electronic music, the sort without distracting lyrics, much like the music in movie theaters that plays while the closing credits run and people head for the exits.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

Yes. It is simply this. Write when you can. Do what you need to do in your day, listen patiently to those who have things to say, and seize the moments in between, after, or before to be productive.

If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?

Well, remember to read the next book in the series, or listen to the audio version! But the real takeaway is an appreciation for another culture, another time, and another way of looking at the world.


AJ Lewis is the author of the new book Another Tomb in Algiers

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