Fiction lovers hear from the stars of the crime and fantasy world at SIBF 2019
Gilly Macmillan, Alec Marsh, Ahmad Khalid Mustafa, and Omar Abdul Hamid share the intricacies of their craft at Sharjah International Book Fair
Sharjah, November 1, 2019:The Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF 2019) hosted four acclaimed authors at a panel discussion titled ‘Crime in Books’ yesterday, who delighted book lovers and aspiring writers with a detailed account of what the writing process for crime fiction and non-fiction as well as fantasy – starting with the birth of an idea to seeing it all the way to fruition.
Gilly Macmillan, the international bestselling author of The Nanny, was part of the discussion. She said: “I feel psychological suspense novels are typically detective novels that’ll have a police procedure. Readers are intrigued by what happens next and how ordinary people behave in extra ordinary circumstances. I like to write about domestic suspense, which is centred around families because that’s the place that I inhabit”.
Shedding light on the topic and sharing their perspectives were Alec Marsh, editor of Spear’s magazine who said, “my protagonist is a detective, who finds himself in situations where there is a crime scene”.
Panelist, Ahmad Khalid Mustafa, author of Antichrist said, “I use the genre to send out a specific message to talk about extra ordinary historical events. I deploy fantasy and imagination”.
While crime novels are often about death, many authors take a step further into the supernatural, an area which is often described as ‘fantastical’. Increasingly, it’s becoming an obvious choice for many authors.
Alec opined, “My book has a different journey, throwing up mixed events under the genre of crime. I use political plots and deploy violence to make it compelling. But that’s another challenge”.
The evening’s discussion then progressed to research, references and how sources are documented to create ideas for crime and fantasy. Authors on the panel brought in unique perspectives, with Macmillan saying, “Two of my friends are retired police detectives. They tell me about the right investigation procedures. Through them, I’ve been able to go on prison visits and done police interviews”.
Omar Abdul Hamid, a surgeon and writer by profession, added: “I often get ideas from movies, and follow my reviewers quite closely. Some reviews can be effective. I do a lot of research based on the feedback I receive for my books, and then set my literary direction from there”.
Concluding the session panelists concurred that crime and fantasy are not necessarily mutually exclusive worlds. The storylines usually have a catch 22, and the resolution always entails a hard struggle to solve the trauma and return to normal.