Interview with longlisted author Amir Tag Elsir
When did you begin writing Flowers in Flames and where did the inspiration for it come from?
I started writing it in late 2015, but I left it and became immersed in writing another novel. This was The Resort of the Enchantresses, which was longlisted last year.
In 2016, I got a message from a reader called Sarah who had read my novel The Copt’s Worries, saying that within it she found all the harm that inflicted men, but no attention had been paid to what ailed the woman. The message motivated me to go back to my abandoned novel and address this smart reader’s question.
Did the novel take long to write and where were you when you finished it?
I usually write quickly when the idea is fully formed in my mind, this is why I finished Flowers Consumed by Fire in about two months and sent it directly to the publisher. I wrote it in my favorite place: a hotel in Doha which I associate with inspiration. I sit there and write for four hours a day.
How have readers and critics received it?
The novel received attention from critics at a time when critics had stopped write about fiction, due to the increasing number of books and novelists in the Arab World. Six articles were written about it, as well as some reviews from readers, which were decent.
What is your next literary project after this novel?
In 2017 I finished a long historical novel about a serial killer; this is the first time I have written about this topic. The novel is called, A Painful Part of a Story, and it will be published this year by Hachette Antoine in Beirut.