Where did you get the idea for your most recent book?
Aristotle’s four virtues – wisdom, courage, temperance (moderation) and justice have always appealed to me. I wanted to write a story in which courage was placed at the centre.. So for Aristotle when courage was in the golden mean it came across as valour and being able to control ones anger, so a person would appear dignified. When courage was unbalanced in a person on the side of excess, it became recklessness and arrogance. When on the side of deficit, it led to cowardice and meanness.
So it got me thinking what would happen if the very best people in society, individuals who others looked up to, admired, wanted to be like, what if these people developed a misplaced notion of courage. So rather than being dignified they became reckless and arrogant. What would be the implications for society?
From this concept the idea for the Tasburai warrior emerged. In my mind the Tasburai were the best of the people – an elite selfless warrior class who held deeply mystical beliefs. I like to describe the Tasburai as a cross between Japanese Samurai, with their bushido (the way of the warrior) and Sufi mystics, with their ideas on tasawuf (spiritual development and cleansing the heart).
So the deeper meaning behind the story was the journey human beings take to return to the golden mean, because when we are in the mean, though we’re all different we can connect with other human being. Whereas when individuals go to the extreme, it polarizes and splits society.