Who better to unveil the cover of a digital book than IDMA’s (Indian Digital Media Awards) Digital Person of the Year? Dr. Shashi Tharoor, writer, diplomat, politician, inaugurated author Andy Paula’s first e-book at his office in Shashtri Bhavan, New Delhi, on 18th July 2013. In a private ceremony with the author’s husband, Prakash Chandra, a software professional, Dr. Tharoor unveiled the cover of Love’s Labor, and autographed it, much to the author’s delight.
An e-book published by Indireads, a Toronto-based publishing house, Love’s Labor targets a South Asian audience. The conflicts that the protagonists face stem from their strong traditional upbringing, and a sometimes illogical deference to authority over one’s own pursuit of a dream. Andy Paula answers some questions about Love’s Labor and her meeting with Dr. Tharoor.
Why an ebook, and not a traditional hard copy, we ask Andy?
“A friend told me about Indireads and connected me to its founder Naheed Hassan, who lives in Boston. The concept of South Asian stories appealed to me, and this whole idea of working with a team spread all over the globe got me hooked. Indireads is launching authors from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, ex-pats from these countries who are based in US, UK, Canada, and the best part is that we are all connected to each other and learning about our neighbouring cultures along with writing tips.”
What prompted Andy to present the book to Dr. Tharoor?
“Dr. Tharoor is a literary person and he is the recipient of the first ever Digital Person of the Year award; did I need more reasons?” smiles Paula. “As this is a digital book it is apt that someone of Dr. Tharoor’s standing should present it to the world.”
What was Dr. Tharoor’s reaction to your book?
“When I requested an audience, he replied from his Blackberry. Can you imagine—a personal reply, not routed through his office! When we met, I was amazed at his detailed questions like, ‘are you happy with the way the book has turned out?’ He autographed the cover of Love’s Labor and wished it success. Coming from an author of over a dozen books, what else does one want?”
What prompted you to write, considering you also hold a full-time job?
“In 2011, I quit my corporate job and followed my husband to the UK. Days can be lonely in a foreign land and that’s when I found enough free time first to start blogging and eventually, writing.”
How long did it take to finish this book?
“(Laughter) Oh God, embarrassing question! Let me tell you though, I’d given up even before I’d started. The first round of feedback that came from the editor was so shattering that all my grandiose ideas about my own capability were jolted to the core. It was Naheed Hassan, the founder of Indireads, whose persistence egged me on and I managed to finish it in…eight months, I think.”
Probe her about Love’s Labor and the author smiles. “Yes, I know what you mean. Every first-time author faces the trap of writing an autobiography, so a tight rein is important, unless, of course you want to write one!”
So is this an autobiography?
“No, I’m not Piali Roy. Nor am I Sathya Nair. If anything, I am Mussoorie in the book.”
When is the next book coming?
“The second manuscript is underway; let’s see when it’s ready.”
Will it be set in Banaras, you being an alumnus of B.H.U?
“You’ll have to wait for that,” smiles Andy.
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