Amit Shankar is a firebrand author. He has written three books till date, which are Flight to Hilsa, Chapter Eleven and Love is Vodka. He chooses bold female protagonists who both inspire and give you a sense of awe. In conversation with Amit Shankar, to know more about him and what he thinks of his books and what made him choose a female protagonist to male ones.
Hello Sir, Love is Vodka is your third book. You have been widely appreciated for your first two books. Tell us about how an advertising Guru became a write?
Guru is a mighty word. I was just a keen learner who loved the craft of advertising. But then over the years writing for brands, telling their bit of story and selling cars to milk powder, laptops to dog food thorough my words, I got trifle suffocated. I wanted to tell my story. Something meaningful that could impact lives, thoughts and touch hearts. Also, I wanted to tell it on a large format. Writing a novel was the most logical way ahead.
Be it Flight of Hilsa or Love is Vodka, you have strong female protagonist. Why you choose woman to tell a story?
Coming from a feudal setup, I always saw women as an epitome of sacrifice and patience. This made me respect them more and side up with them. Also, women in my life have been a driving force. From my grand mother to mother, English teacher to few of my bosses, all of them have inspired me. Also, it is the role of women in our society which makes me tilt towards them. I believe that even after all the talks of liberation, our society is still biased towards them. They are so much more than a man. They deserve so much more. Dedicating my books to them is just a small way of showing my respect towards them.
How different it is to advertise or market a product and write a book?
Good advertising and writing a good book are the same. Both require immense discipline, talent and acumen. Both try to sell a concept, a story a central thought. Both are powerful and emotive. Both are born out of necessity to reach out to people.
Your first two books are on serious subjects, why you decided to write about teenage issues?
This generation bred on Google and Youtube fascinates me. They are so different; in the way they think, articulate or even respond to a situation. I always wondered if someday I could write for them in a lingo they would understand, comprehend and relate to. Love is Vodka was a challenge. It intensified as I was writing from a girl’s perspective. Being a keen observer helped me. But then nevertheless I had to get under her skin. But once I was able to, the expressions were easy. It is heartening to know that a lot of readers and reviewers could not believe that LIV was written by a man.
If you had to relate to one of the three protagonists of your books who that would be?
None. I just move on to the next.
In an interview with the newspaper you said that you never edit your book. I find that fascinating. Can you tell why you decided not to read any of your books once it is written?
I’m too restless and get bored very fast. A plot excites me but by the time I would wrap it up, I would start drifting. No wonder, I can never read my own work as I know I would never approve of what I had written. Also, the urge to edit and rewrite it would take the edge out of it. So neither do I edit it nor do I let anyone else do it.
Lastly, any message for our readers and your fans?
Live like a rock star, with no regrets.