Desi inKonversation from Videsh: A Talk With Ankita Kapoor

Once a desi, always a desi – for the heart knows just one beat!

We get inKonversation with the very much desi in videshAnkita Kapoor. The debuting author and artist talks about her first book, the trials and time pass that writing has become for her. An author published in the US of A, a story about the exotic modern Indian on our super talent of gossiping and ranting. That’s some recipe with the spices ! Read on:

05_artyfacts_web1_naCongratulations on the writing debut Ankita. A very interesting mix – the blurb suggests a light read but the title is arty and facts.
Thanks!! Arty Facts is actually a chick lit, targeted at young college graduates who join their first jobs with dreams of professional success, which are often marred by horrible bosses, who coach them to resort to unethical means and dishonesty to secure some profits for the company. The book highlights the struggle of a young protagonist, Aarohi, who faces such oddity upon joining her first job as an Arts Coordinator with a modern art gallery in New Delhi, India.  The novel highlights the protagonist’s struggle to maintain her ethics and principles without actually being disloyal to her bosses. The book gives interesting insights about behind the scenes working of a modern Art Gallery in New Delhi, India hence the title Arty Facts as it is closely associated with the interesting happenings in the Indian Contemporary Art world.

Tell us how did this foray into writing happen?
Writing is my passion. I am an ardent reader since my childhood and have always aspired to write well. However, my education is in Fine Arts and not mass communication as is the case with most writers who possess a degree either in mass communication or English Literature. My first tryst with writing happened in 2008 while working as a contributor (freelancer) for Lucknow Times (The Times of India) and there has been no looking back since then. Later on, I worked as a Fashion Retailing Correspondent with a Fashion & Retail magazine for a year in 2010 and that’s when I started penning down, Arty Facts, as there was ample free time and my boss was always busy playing solitaire during office hours, which in a way proved to be a blessing for me as I had less work and loads of time to write this novel. I looked back at my life and wondered that I have met such interesting characters then why not write about it?

Getting a publisher’s nod is generally quite an adventure for most of the debuting writers. You have a publication in a market very different from most of the writers on The Tales Pensieve. Do share with us your adventure (or misadventure) in the run-up to be on a book cover.
It was not easy to get my debut novel published as most publishing houses rarely give an opportunity to an upcoming author. Moreover,it is quite competitive in the US as you usually have the agents  marketing your work to the publishers. It’s a very lengthy procedure, and in my case I wanted to work directly with a publisher, hence never chose the agent route. In the beginning I had some self-publishing offers from an Indian publisher as well as an American publisher but I turned down both the offers, as I was not in the favor of paying someone to publish my work. Additionally, they were demanding obscene amounts and I wanted my work to be published only if someone found it worthy of the same. After a year’s struggle I was able to find a publisher (Pegasus Books) who liked my work and wanted to publish it.

How accepting is your current market to writers & their tales especially from a different culture? Like you and your story?
So far, I have always had a positive response from  US based publishers who are always fascinated to hear stories from the exotic other lands like India, as the culture is completely different and they become aware of various unique and interesting aspects through such stories from an alien culture. Moreover, they love to market it even to the Indian community here as well as in London and other places. My publisher did the same and the book was launched globally to cater to all the communities.

Your book is on Amazon but I hold a paperback of the same too. So what do you think about the eBook and Paperback equation? Where is it going?
Currently, in US and other Western markets, the eBooks have completely changed the Publishing World. They are cheaper, easily available via a simple click on your kindle, and more popular than the paperbacks. In US a lot of popular book chains like The Borders, Barnes & Noble among others have suffered huge losses due to the limitless sale of the ebooks which are now eating up the market share of the paperbacks. Hence, the publishers take out both the versions as some people still prefer a paperback. My personal preference is still a paperback; however, I would prefer an ebook while travelling as it is handy. However, In India the paperbacks are still popular as not many people are tech- savvy or comfortable with the kindles. Also, everyone cannot afford to buy a kindle so they still prefer the paperbacks as they are cheaper in India unlike in US.

Arty FactsYour protagonist just like is from a small town and lands up in big city Delhi; how much of she is you or vice versa?  

Well, to confess the truth she is exactly like me as most of the writers pen down a story based on their own experiences, often reflected through their characters. It is easier to write about various characters if they reflect a part of you or of people close to you or those who have been in some sort of relationship with you in the past. Talking about the similarities between Aarohi (my protagonist), and me – Both of us started our career by working as an Arts coordinator in an art gallery in New Delhi, and love gossiping, and abstain from indulging in unethical practices and dishonesty. People who know me might glimpse themselves in one or the other characters in my book and might not approve of it, but that’s the reality and the negative aspect of being in a sort of relationship with a writer.

Share with us your favorites as a reader.
My favorites list is endless. However, the books that I cherish the most are: Shantaram, The Help, Devil Wears the Prada, Everyone Worth Knowing, Passion India, Two States, Chasing Harry Winston, You Are Here, among others.

An Indian protagonist in a story set in India but published in the US. Do you have plans to get the book to India using Indian retailers? 
The book is already available in India via Amazon, Bookadda.com and a couple of other websites. However, making it available through the retailers would only happen at the nod of my publisher, Pegasus Books and I don’t know much about it.

What is next on the literary front?
I am currently editing the two sequels to Arty Facts  which I plan to finish by this summer. Also, I have some other story ideas which I will start penning down soon. I really want to get my work published through some Indian publisher as well and am planning to approach them soon. It would be a pleasure to have my book published in my native country.

Your words of wisdom for newbie writers.
One should never get disheartened or lose hope and always keep trying. If you have confidence in yourself, and your writing then your work will definitely get published.

Know the Author: Goodreads

Arty Facts: Goodreads | Facebook | Review the book