Shahan Mufti’s The Faithful Scribe is one of the fall selections for “Indies Introduce Debut Authors,” where independent booksellers present their favorite new books of the season. In a Q&A, Shahan talks about his inspiration for writing the book and his favorite indie bookstore.

From the Q&A:

What inspired you to write this book?

Shahan Mufti: Living my entire life between parallel, often conflicting, worlds — Pakistan and America, Islam and the West — propelled me to write this book. I wanted to translate one of my homes — Pakistan — to my other home: America and the West. When I found my family tree, written centuries ago by an ancestor who was a British colonial subject, and which tied my blood to the Islamic prophet Muhammad’s inner circle, I realized that this story literally runs through my veins.

If you were handselling your debut, how would you pique a customer’s interest?

S.M.: I would ask readers about their own ancestry and the history of their surname. What does it all mean to them? And then I would tell them the story behind my surname, “Mufti.” It means the “giver of fatwas,” and I found that my ancestors issued fatwas or Islamic rulings in the courts of Muslim emperors. My surname, like many others’ names, is a portal into a rich past full of stories.

Read the full interview here.