29 March, 2014

#SpecialFeature :: An Interview with Andy Paula, Author of Love’s Labor

Now Presenting:
*** SPECIAL FEATURE - March'14 ***

Piali Roy has run away from home and the two stubborn men who love her. One is her beloved Baba; a rigid traditionalist, he refuses to accept anyone from outside her caste and community. And then there is Sathya, the unsuitable outsider. He loves her truly, madly, deeply and has even called off his marriage for her sake. Neither man will budge, and the small town of Jampot, where everyone knows everything, is not big enough for the two of them.
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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An Interview with the Author

Tell us a bit about ‘Andy Paula’ at home :)
AP: Andy Paula at home is a world-class cook(ahem!) who loves her malpua and dahi vada as much as she loves hosting people. She loves the unusual, the quirky, the tant, the tortilla, the torkari. She is your every woman - the one who has henna on her head as she types this – and your gypsy woman – the one who wears her silver anklet as an armlet.

Now tell us a bit about ‘Andy Paula’, the Author
AP: AP the Author cannot write when the TV is on or the mangsho is cooking. She will take ‘earnest measures to secure her solitude and then find endless ways of squandering it.’

Tell us your experience of writing ‘Love’s Labor’
AP: I’m a little tired answering this one. Can I skip? You can read about it here if you really want to know. http://flight-of-fantasy.blogspot.in/2013/07/loves-labor-background-story.html

Do you have some unpublished work that’s lying in some old box or unopened drawers?  
AP: There was a story prompt on a site that claimed to break the Limca records. So I quickly wrote the story and it was only when it was ready that I realised they are asking for 1K to publish it! Now, as a poor author, that was inconceivable to me so I sent my story to an emag. From there it came back with a regret note and feedback. I incorporated the feedback, fleshed out the story and sent it to another portal. Just when I’d forgotten all about it, I get another rejection from this second place.
To my mind, DDS, this story is a masterpiece. I need to find someone who thinks it’s a masterpiece too! Now, that could be a challenge.

From conceiving an idea to marketing the book – it’s a long process. Which part of it did you enjoy the most?
AP: The marketing, un-authorly as that may sound.  The conception, the writing, the endless editing are so harrowing, I don’t even want to think about those!
Some day, when I’ve written enough for posterity, I’ll be a marketer.   

When you write, do you get into the character and decide the course of events or do you shape them as the plot requires them to be?
AP: There is no rule to this one. I start when a story needs an urgent telling and, sometimes, feel like the projector-man. His only role is to play the projector. What happens on screen is not in his hands. It’s uncanny how characters have a mind of their own and want to do their own thing. Is that the subconscious of Andy Paula playing up? Who can ever tell!    

All writers are readers first! So who are your favourite authors and what are some of your all-time favourite books?  
AP: Ruskin Bond for his easy style, P.G. Wodehouse for his comic timing, Louisa May Alcott for her everything, Bernard Shaw for his wit, Oscar Wilde for his philosophy coated in pithy dialogues, Emily Dickinson for her soulful lines, there are just too many to put them in a box. Maupassant’s short stories, Pablo  Neruda’s surrealism, Dicken’s realism – what master craftsmen they were. Closer home, I love Tagore and Sharat Chandra.
The Mill on the Floss, Wuthering Heights, Charitraheen, The Room on the Roof, Many Lives Many Masters, Soul Prints are some of my all-time favourites.

Do you think your favourite authors have influenced your style of writing?
AP: I’m sure they have.

There is always ‘someone’ who doesn’t like your book. How do you handle it?
AP: By reminding myself that there’re also some who don’t like Amitabh Bachchan.

Some rapid fire questions:
Your favourite movie: Shawshank Redemption
Your favourite genre of Music: Country
Your favourite Cuisine: Italian 
Your first celebrity Crush: Dev Anand – har fikr ko dhuen mein udata chala gaya
Top thing on your Bucket List: Visit the Self Realization Fellowship in Encinitas, California and meditate by the Pacific Ocean.

What would you like to say to the people who haven’t read your book yet but are contemplating on whether to pick it up or not?
AP: Get your copy of Love’s Labor – very possibly you feature in it!

About the Author
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. 

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10 Digital Copies of Love's Labor by Andy Paula
5 PDF copies of Love Across Borders, an anthology of twelve heart-warming narratives

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