*** SPECIAL FEATURE - March'14 ***
Away from their unreasonable demands, Piali strives to find peace in the mountains. But within six months, her lover tracks her down. Once again, she betrays the one by trusting the other.
Will her labor in the name of love be in vain, or will love transcend all differences?
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Minister of State, HRD, Dr. Shashi Tharoor unveils Love’s Labor
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, sometimes, from an 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?
“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.
Andy Paula is a corporate trainer, an avid reader, a near-passionate blogger, and now, a writer. When she met her editor during the writing of Love's Labor, she realized how ruthless she may have appeared to all her enthusiastic trainees who nurtured creative dreams. "Never again," she thought, "am I going to correct another article." And she proceeded to make corrections in her own manuscript.
She confesses to never having made a kaleidoscope with broken bangles or taken apart a clock and put it back together, in her childhood. Two things that she did cherish were reading and falling in love. To the question, ‘What prompted you to write?’ Andy gives a tongue-in-cheek reply. "They say there's a book in each of us. Just wanted to check if they were right!"
When she is not making stories in her head, this Thinker does her pranayam and tries to meditate to keep a grip on her wandering mind.
10 Digital Copies of Love's Labor by Andy Paula
5 PDF copies of Love Across Borders, an anthology of twelve heart-warming narratives