Author Series: Ashok Subramanian
I am Ashok Subramanian. I live in Chennai, a city in the South East coast of India, with my wife Gayathri and son Anirudh. The city is famous for its automobile industry, Santhome’s Basilica Cathedral, Marina Beach, Long Beaches and temples.
I am an entrepreneur and an investment banker. I run an investment banking company based in Bangalore and Chennai. My passion is to enable businesses to succeed and provide more jobs, while focusing on sustainability and impact equations of the society.
I am engineering graduate (majoring in Electronics and Communication) and postgraduate in Management from the prestigious Indian Institute of Management Kolkata.
I spent about 18 years in Corporate, leading technology businesses and then moved on to advice on Strategy. Once I realized that strategy cannot do much without capital, I started my Investment Banking Venture in 2016.
What initially got you into writing?
I started writing on August 11, 2011. Its an interesting date, close to the birthday of a close friend of mine, who was a writer as well. It all started with a cup of tea. I used to write blogs first in Blogger. I was running 3 blogs till 2015. A runner’s blog, a short story blog and a business blog. I dismantled them in 2016, as I started writing in Linkedin. In 2018, I switched to medium. Most of my books’ manuscripts come from these writings.
I used to write poems when I was commuting in Mumbai. Then, it turned out to be a book during COVID, as I had the time to scrub and compile some of the poems. Eventually, I self-published them in two volumes. A two-volume sequel is now in manuscript stage.
Who are your biggest influences and why?
Ms. Poornima Laxmeshwar, who worked as a content writer turned poet, that inspired me to elevate my level of poetry. George Orwell , William Wordsworth are some of my other inspirations. I am supported by friend Ms. Shweta Hitesh Joshi in review, consulting and editing matters ( she is my sounding board), and Mr. Anirudh Narayanan on the video and digital promotions.
Are you traditionally published or self-published?
I prefer self-publishing for my initial books. I am a polymath – so from manuscript to editing, to designing covers to handling the software for publishing, I prefer a hands-on approach. Self-publishing also gives me the opportunity to learn lot of things including the publishing and promotion process.
I would turn to traditional publishing for specific manuscripts. The advantages of traditional publishing are obvious. So, for me, the choice is case by case.
How important is writing as an art form in the world, today?
In the world of visuals, writing has its place.
Do you have a set process when starting a new project?
I have a pipeline of manuscripts that I have built over the years. I normally do not rush at things, but make some progress on two active manuscripts every day. It could be creative-writing, editing, publishing or promotion.
My ideas come from random sources, but mostly people around me who derive some sort of impact on me. I recently added two projects to my pipeline – one came in a sitting and I could draw an outline, while another was inspired by another person, and it is like a semi-fiction, leaning on a biography of a friend, I know.
What has been your favourite book to write and why?
I enjoy writing both short stories and poetry so far. But my major projects are novels. Couple of them would be my magnum opus.
Which genre do you enjoy writing in?
I like writing character and contemporary fiction, and poetry.
Is writing your primary source of income?
I am investment banker and financial professional. I write while I travel, at night and over the weekends.
I write a blog, a poem review, or a piece for my manuscripts, or edit the finished ones for at least an hour a day. It adds up. I do not have a challenge making that time so far.
What advice can you give our readers, should they wish to pursue writing?
It takes one thought and one typed / written word; one sentence later, a writer is born. If you have done it, then you can add one more sentence. Then you become a writer. The joy thereafter is the discovery of the writing process. Each one can carve their own path.
What does success mean to you?
Life is like a Chinese box. You open one box, another pop out. It is a mysterious journey towards a definite end. So, success is to give the best for each day, and going to bed with the expectation to do more every day. There is a concept called ‘Die Empty’ by Todd Henry.
What projects are you currently working on?
I am currently working on two volumes of my book. Poetarrati Volume 3 is ekphrastic poetry in collaboration with a few artists. Poetarrati Volume 4 is a sequel of Poetarrati Volume 2, a narrative poetry sequence, forming a story line. Two new genres under creation.
I am in the editing phase of my short-fiction anthology, based on characters in Mumbai, India.
What are your hopes for the future?
My hope is to make it happy to bed every day. Giving each day my best, setting aside my inhibitions and setback and wake up again the next day to give it my best shot.
I hope to write and contribute to future volumes of Poetarrati, and also complete the pipeline of 7 manuscripts I am sitting on.
Lastly where can people find you?
'Medium' is my blog and website: https://medium.com/@author_ashok
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