Ahmed Murad and A. J. Finn reveal their secrets to writing a successful thriller at SIBF 2021 session

Celebrated thriller writers participated in a panel held

 at the 40th Sharjah International Book Fair

For immediate release,

Sharjah, November 5, 2021

Egyptian novelist Ahmed Murad and American author A.J. Finn revealed the bag of tricks thriller writers reach into to pen stories that keep their readers hooked till the last page at a compelling panel discussion titled ‘Create the Thriller’ at the 40th edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF). The panel was moderated by Nada Al Shibaani.

Speaking about the challenges in crafting stories that hold readers’ attention, Ahmed Murad said: “In this era, when cybercrimes are commonplace and suspense has become a part of readers’ lives, it is very difficult to surprise readers with regular plotlines. That is why it is crucial for writers to concentrate on and amplify every small detail. It is a big challenge, but it is worth the risk.”

Murad pointed out that essentially thrillers and suspense novels succeed by manipulating the minds of readers who are willing to embark on a journey into an unknown world. That is the reason opinion polls always reveal that thriller novels top the list of readers’ choices, he opined.

“Every person has something which is worth writing, but before penning their idea they must conduct a lot of research, which is like quicksand that pulls the writer in deeper with each move. The successful thriller author is one who knows how and when to escape from the quicksand at the right time,” he said, adding, “Thriller authors write for fun and what they write is not necessarily right or factual. Their intention is to make the reader feel insecure.”

For his part, American novelist A.J. Finn, author of the bestselling The Woman in the Window, which was adapted into a blockbuster movie, linked his writing thrillers to the state of his mental health during adolescence and early youth. He revealed that he had suffered from depression and bipolar disorder, and this had influenced him to choose the thriller genre.

Once, while still suffering from depression, Finn had seen a woman looking out of a window from across his apartment. He said the sadness he saw on the woman’s face sparked his imagination and that coupled with his psychological state, resulted in The Woman in the Window.

He emphasised that thriller writers do not necessarily have to experience what they describe in their novels. “The joy associated with writing thrillers is the driving force behind the author. This genre requires extensive research before the writing commences. Furthermore, real-life events and characters add value to a story of this genre. A successful thriller would persuade readers to suspend their belief, become a part of the story and tie up the loose ends in their minds.”


  • Images during the session