Both of my books, in some sense, have been about the loss of innocence. I think of my own childhood with a very fond heart. I had a beautiful childhood growing up in Afghanistan, and I'll always think of being a child in a very romantic way because of my own particular circumstances. So I always find myself drifting back to childhood, and writing, I guess, about my own childhood in some way.
JM: One of the reasons your books have been so beloved by readers, I suspect, is that, while you're writing about a culture that may not be familiar to non-Afghans, your ability to broadcast so clearly, if you will, from a child's wavelength strikes some universal chord that is evocative for many people; as a result, we're immediately linked to the protagonist more strongly than we might be if you had started with a teenager or a young adult whose experience might be more narrowly circumstantial and less broadly recognizable. I think of Dickens, who often takes us from the earliest consciousness of a child all the way through the adulthood of his or her central character. Following that thread is consoling, in a way, because we've shared something of the journey it marks ourselves.