A different writer: Chat with Tuhin Sinha

Author Tuhin Sinha speaks about the difficulties of writing from a women’s point of view and trying to experiment with different genres. Here is what he has to say…

Sometimes description is not required, as the name is enough to carry the person’s credentials and subsequent praises that follow. Tuhin Sinha belongs to the new crop of writers who have managed to remove the tag that you must come from a literary background to write a novel. A complete advertising and communications management background, he has come up with his own style of writing, from his debut novel, ‘The Edge of Desire to Of Love and Politics‘, ‘That Thing Called Love‘ and ‘22 Yards‘. Yes, he has written for daily soaps as well but we would like to talk about his best-selling books. Tuhin was in town for the first ever Pune International Literary Festival and he spoke to The Punekar about his writing and being accepted as a novelist.
How easy or difficult is it for a writer like you to reach the readers?
I always tell all writers that your focus has to be on telling your story than on what the audience is expecting. You should write what you really want to read and not what the world wants you to. Who would have imagined the Shiva trilogy three years ago? You should not remain far away from your passion. Play to your strength than what the readers want. Once you go for publishing, then you can think of marketing tactics and so on to reach the readers. But this dilemma (of writing for yourself or readers) is similar to an actor – should you be an actor or a star. I like to be a star who can write. The clarity should be there. I don’t want to be that writer who sells but cannot write and his grammatical errors are picked on. We are in a market-driven mindset and there are writers who want to sell maximum copies and are not into grammar, etc. It all depends upon your personal choices and how you want to sell your book.
If you have to describe your genre, what would it be?
I have experimented the most amongst my contemporaries. But I am moving towards two genres – Young Fiction and Political Thriller. I will be taking big risks in balancing the two genres. It is going to be a huge experimentation but at the end of the day, you have to make moolah. If things hadn’t worked out for me, then I would not have managed to churn out the same things.
A lot of young writers especially from the non-literature background get flak from critics for everything, from language to the method. Is this flak all genuine?
I think it is an outdated debate. It was more in vogue three years back. After the success of Amish’s books and others, I think this debate has no relevance. Now even a top-notch publisher like Penguin is focusing on contemporary fiction. I have been getting phenomenal reaction from women after reading ‘The Edge of Desire‘ which was a huge risk considering I had written from the women’s point on the trauma of a rape victim. It was quite complex to write but the reaction was encouraging. My marketing strategy does not come at the cost of my writing. I am quite satisfied with the response.
Out of the four books, which has been the toughest to write?
I did not find any tough to write. The challenge is to get the woman’s mind when you talk about topics, certain aspects and so on or which people are not aware of and one has to put it in fiction.
In terms of readers, do men and women react differently to your books?
Men usually enjoy the book while women read in depth. For example, in ‘The Edge of Desire’, the lead character behaves differently in a situation where she has been raped and her supportive husband does not trust her anymore. She tries to commit suicide. She is an educated rape victim and I have put forth her trauma. Women found it authentic and difficult to understand of how a man could write the issues. I had merged two of the above mentioned genres.
Will we be finding a different Tuhin Sinha in his next book?
Now I am kind of settling down in what is expected from me. My next is going to ‘The Edge of Tower‘ – a sequel to ‘The Edge of Desire‘ and it will be out in December. Also coming soon will be a sequel to ‘The Thing Called Love‘. The third book is a non-fiction narrative which is still in initial stages.

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