India, Sept. 24 -- I try to concentrate more on the characters and what their journeys would be once I find an interesting setting and premise," says bestselling author Bilal Siddiqui, on how he crafts his narrative. Siddiqui made his name in the Indian literary world when he wrote the bestselling espionage thriller, Bard of Blood, when he was just 19. His new work Phoenix is "another spy-thriller after Bard of Blood, but with a different setting and a different conflict".

The author divides the genre in two, "the slow-burn, prose-heavy kind and the fast-paced, easy-read kind". Adding both are equally interesting in their own way, he recounts the advice his mentor, journalist-author Hussain Zaidi gave him: "For the Indian audiences, he sai...