Interview: Author Amit Shankar.
Amit Shankar is the author of three books, Flight of Hilsa, Chapter Eleven and Love is Vodka. His main genre of writing is Adult Fiction but he has dabbled into chick-lits too.
- I have a perception from the books about you that you are super sensitive, like to introspect and you belong to a proud Thakur family. How close am I to your real self?
Assumptions could be misleading.
I find it rather overwhelming when anyone categorizes me. I mean I am not worthy of being categorized. I am just someone who blabbers. At times these outbursts end up as my FB post while at times, as a novel.
Black or white? Sensitive or curt? I don’t have the answer. I think I am all this and more. Also, I am very strange with varied and unpredictable reactions and emotions. A hurt puppy can make me cry while the plight of a fellow human can leave me totally unfazed.
- You always have one case of cyber hacking or cyber crime in your book. Is it coincidental or you plan it that way?
In today’s cyber age, Internet crime is a reality. Without even our knowledge, we leave our footprints all over the Internet. No wonder, cyber crimes are rising day by day. However, in my stories, they just happened. Maybe, my sub-conscious mind would have been responsible for the same. For my fourth title, I will make a conscious attempt to keep away from it. How about using Google instead?
- Flight of Hilsa and Love is Vodka have strong female protagonist. Why you chose a male protagonist for Chapter 11?
Stories happen to me. I really want to plan my stories, characters and the flow but unfortunately till now I have not been able to. Before starting every title, I get this compelling urge to share a story. It seems as it flows from a higher source. I just type it.
Few years back, I was working with this Canadian company, a telecom giant. The context, the setting of Chapter 11 was taken from here. Also, depicting the travesty of the corporate circus made more sense through a male POV. To further amplify it, I added the conflict of a ‘bana’ along with the fables and glory of a bygone era.
- Given a chance to live your life as one author other than you, who would you choose and why?
Shakespeare, for sure. And I would choose him for his sheer story telling brilliance, ability to romance the words and his deftness at building the conflict. Dan Brown would be a close second. The reasons being the same.
- You are a huge music fan, is it the lyrics or the music or the combination of both that makes you a fan?
I wanted to be a musician. With my mane and a guitar, I was very close to being one. Too bad, back then rock was an alien concept and I switched to the next thing I was good at, writing. Rock of 70s and 80s is the music I am still into.
Led Zepp, Deep Purple, Satriani, Beck, Bon Jovi, Jethrotull, AC/DC still give me goose bumps. I love the crazy, melodic madness created by 5 guys and their instruments. While being a guitarist, I am more drawn towards the riff, the pluck or the strum part, but the poet in me also makes me appreciate the lyrical genius of songs.
- There are very few authors who have a great sense of humor and in your interviews and books you come across as one. How important it is for one to have a sense of humor?
That is the biggest compliment I have ever received. Thank you for the same. Contrary to what you say, people who know find me to be very curt, a matter of fact person. Surprised? But then truth is always meant to shock you. Cynic would be a kind word to describe me. Please let me know of more people who find me with a funny bone. It will do my ‘funny esteem’ some good.
- Last but not the least, how important are reviews for a book to do well?
Every opinion, every criticism, every word of appreciation counts. I post every review on my FB page. I remember when Chapter 11 was released, there were more than 20 reviews, which masticated my effort, rubbished my writing. But I posted each of them. I also took time to write to each one of the reviewers, thanking them for their time and telling them that I would be trying harder the next time. Most of them were too shocked to react. Well, positive reviews are important. But the author needs to be ready for some negative ones too.
- The interviewer, Alokita Sharma is the Director of Author's Empire India Publication House.