Lisa Gardner is a No. 1. New York Times bestselling thriller novelist. A self-described research junkie, she has transformed her interest in police procedure and criminal minds into a streak of internationally acclaimed novels, published across 30 countries.

Lisa’s books have received awards from across the globe including Best Hardcover Novel from the International Thriller Writers, the Grand Prix des Lectrices de Elle in France, the Daphne du Maurier Award, and the Silver Bullet Award from the International Thriller Writers in 2017 for her work on behalf of at-risk children and the Humane Society.

Is this your first time in Sharjah?

Yes, and I’ve heard such rave reviews from fellow authors I can’t wait!

You are a prolific author, with a number of different crime series, as well as romantic novels written under a pseudonym, to your credit. You started a new series last year with Before She Disappeared, starring missing person specialist Frankie Elkin. What prompts you to start a new one?

I feel one of the secrets to success in a career that has now spanned 30 years is to change things up. I started my career with serial killers and FBI agents, migrated to classic crime novels with a Boston cop, then psychological suspense featuring a special investigator. Now I have Frankie, an everyday average woman obsessed with finding missing people the rest of the world has forgotten. Frankie doesn’t have any special computer skills, access to forensic labs or physical aptitudes. She is, however, a very good listener, which is a super power in its own way. And she is very clever, certainly way smarter than me, which makes writing the novels extra challenging!

It’s been announced that One Step too Far, your latest book, has been optioned for a TV series with Hilary Swank as the star and a co-producer. How involved are you in this project?

I just got to meet with the producer to review the vision for the project. It was fascinating! Adjustments to Frankie’s backstory there, a new character here. Learning the particular challenges and needs for a TV series vs a novel was so much fun. I can’t wait!

Can you tell us a little about the inspiration behind your annual “Kill a Friend, Maim a Buddy” sweepstakes, where someone can nominate a spouse, friend, or even themselves to meet a sticky end in your next novel. Do you get a lot of people entering each year?

Yes! The Kill a Friend contest is quite popular, and a highly original way of immortalizing someone you love. I’ve had people nominate themselves, including a woman who organized all of her friends and family to enter her name, resulting in over thirty entries! Then a wife who nominated her husband for a grand death, with the added request he be a bad ass villain as well. It’s all in fun and my little way of including my readers in the latest novel.

You have just come back from the Artic; were you researching a new book?

I’ve actually spent the past year focusing on global travel, after years of being stuck at home due to the pandemic. I started in Antarctica playing with penguins, then spent time on the equator swimming with sea turtles. Now I’m in the Arctic where I hope to keep a respectful distance from Polar bears! Generally, international adventures are a way for me to refill the creative well, versus researching a specific book. This time around, however, it did spark an idea for a new Frankie Elkin novel. Stay tuned for next year!

What are you hoping to gain from your visit to the Sharjah Book Fair?

I love to travel so I’m looking forward to checking out Sharjah and Dubai. I also love to meet readers and other authors, as well as the opportunity to pass along the love of writing to others during the school visits. It all sounds amazing!