It is raining debut authors on the scene these days. The latest author to take the publishing world by storm is Ankita Verma Datta with her debut novel, Trust Me Not. The book, a socio-political thriller, has been garnering positive reviews across platforms, giving the author the much needed encouragement any first-time writer would need.
In an interview with Writers Melon, Ankita Verma Datta talks about her writing, herself, and her book, Trust Me Not.
The Inception of the Idea:
In a time when new channels are conducting political debates to the point of oversaturation, they don’t realize the effect they have on viewers. There are many who take it at face value. But there are others, like Ankita Verma Datta, who understand the nuances and turn their thoughts into bestselling books.
“The idea to write a book was not a pre-meditated or planned one. One day while watching a political debate I got this strange feeling that every issue has various angles. As a passive audience we tend to mentally digest whatever is thrown at us, whether it’s by conventional media or social media. We are somehow losing the capacity to think for ourselves. I wanted to share this idea with all and thought that it could be conveyed to a larger audience, through a book. And even then, when I first designed the concept for the book, it wasn’t in the political-thriller genre. All I wanted to do was a pass a message and do it while keeping the reader entertained.
As I progressed, the subject turned more intense than what I had expected. Most people like to read about love, hope, beauty and goodness but it is the dark subjects which engage the reader and leave an impact and evoke them. As an author I knew I had to be as honest as possible. If my book is able to engage the reader while tackling an intense subject then I think it serves its purpose. So, in the end I was happy with the final product. I would like to add that ‘inspired to write’ sounds very heavy to me. I think I was ‘motivated’ to write.”
The Journey from Advertising to Becoming an Author:
Advertising is as creative a job as writing is. Ankita Verma Datta’s experience in the advertising industry handling a wide range of clients including political campaigns helps her say that it was a fun ride all the way.
“It was an industry that suited me fine, apart from the crazy hours, as it gave me a tremendous opportunity to observe and grow as a person. In any case I was always a ‘people watcher’. In fact, Trust Me Not is more about the flaws in us humans and how it affects the way we think and react.”
Ankita has now moved towards the commercial side to handle the business of a large Asian chemicals company in India. When asked about how it affects her, she has this honest answer for us.
“It is very demanding on my time and I have to juggle schedules to pursue my passion for writing. It also meant re-inventing myself and prioritising things. Surprisingly, it brought more structure to the way I treated my time. In being an author, I feel I have found my final calling. But I guess I will always have that marketing and advertising person in my mind. Because I am always thinking of my readers and how I can make my writing more appealing to them. And it covers everything, from the book’s core message or offer, its packaging and staying true to the genre, while identifying the reader’s mindset.”
‘Trust Me Not’ and Research:
For a socio-political thriller like Trust Me Not, research and fact-checking are of utmost importance. Ankita Verma Datta tells us about how the book was born – the main factors being deep instincts and keen observation of people.
“However, I did need to get inside the working mechanisms of bureaucracy, corporates & politics and how they can come together to form a nexus with media and public relations to create a very believable picture, which might not necessarily be true. In the current times of media over-exposure, both online and conventional we are constantly bombarded with information input. So, choosing the right from the wrong becomes tricky, when every argument seems convincing. You cannot trust anything passively, without analysing it yourself, in light of the real facts. The title Trust Me Not is not just restricted to the characters of the book, but to its overall message about current times.”
Ankita Verma Datta –The Author Travels:
Ankita Verma Datta is a true-blue traveler. It is very essential to her as a person, she says. She loves exploring the food, culture, and history of the place and rents places instead of hotels whenever possible. When asked about her favorite destination, her answer is instant.
“My favorite destination till date is a small fishing village called Isetwald by the Lake Brienz in the Jungfrau region of Switzerland. The serene peace and quietude of the place was deeply touching. And even though it was a while ago, I can close my eyes and relive the experience, whenever I wish to.”
The Impact of Experiences:
Everyone’s experiences have a hand in shaping their life and personality. Ankita Verma Datta is no different.
“I’m quite a human sponge and get affected by every little thing, in all manners possible. For example, if I see a kid who is exceedingly happy to get something as basic as candy floss, then it makes my day. Or if I see someone asking for prayers for their ailing family member on social media, I actually pray for them. Very basic things impact me very deeply. And I really don’t know if this is good or bad, because I am so caught up in these little things that any one experience having a ‘profound effect’ to cause a life-changing impact is lost on me. I think I am stuck in a conundrum.”
Making a Heavy Topic Readable:
It is not an easy task to write a difficult topic and yet make it easy-to-read. But there are other elements in a story that make up a good read. Ankita Verma Datta elaborates on the importance of these elements:
“I always believed as a writer, that if the characters of the book are interesting then the book becomes interesting. Because interesting characters will be unpredictable, flawed, and will eventually get into tough situations. I am not trying to play down the importance of a good plot, because without that the story falls flat. But good characters will keep the journey of readers from one point to another, interesting.
Also, as writers, we are always tempted to show our might with words and many of us do occasionally fall for this temptation. But the true power of a narrative lies not within words but in the art of spinning them into a believable, real, living, and breathing story. I kept the language flowing and described the scenes as visually as possible, attempting to give the narrative a cinematic quality. So, it felt good when many of my readers wrote to me saying that reading Trust Me Not was like watching a movie. Because that’s exactly what I had in mind.”
‘Trust Me Not’ – The Message:
“Staying true to your beliefs in the face of endless treachery and even personal threats, will ultimately lead to decisions you will not regret later. Sometimes these decisions are difficult. But if you have the conviction in yourself, then they are easier to live with. In the end, there is no fixed formula for whether good wins or the evil. It all depends on how you react to situations and whether you have the right moral compass.”
Ankita Verma Datta and the Future:
Many authors have a full-time job while writing on the sidelines. Ankita Verma Datta is the same, and intends to continue juggling her work schedules to create enough time-space to write because she “does not have the luxury of being a full-time writer.”
“I am currently mid-way through my second book-project in the similar genre of socio-political thriller. At this point, I can safely say that I would love to continue in this genre as I am totally comfortable with it. In future I see myself trying pure thrillers or mystery genres as well. But social issues will always be a part of the subject matter of my writing.”
About the Author:
An Economics graduate from Mumbai University and trained in advertising communication & marketing at the Xavier Institute of Management / Communication, Ankita Verma Datta has spent more than a decade in advertising industry, handling a wide range of clients before starting her own communications consultancy in 2003. Apart from marketing & advertising, she also loves curating antique Portugal houses in Goa and ‘hobby-breeding’ Tibetan Mastiffs. An ardent nature and animal lover, she spends her time between Mumbai, Lonavala and Goa. ‘Trust Me Not’ is her debut fiction novel and she intends to continue writing socio-political thrillers with current relevance, in future too. She writes to evoke and entertain.
Connect with Ankita Verma Datta at:
Featured Image sourced from author’s Facebook page.
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
Release: October 2017
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