Gritty female journo at the centre of a whodunit

Nischinta Amarnath’s debut fiction, Victims for Sale, is based on incidents she had encountered as a journalist

Published: 06th February 2018 10:38 PM  |   Last Updated: 07th February 2018 04:33 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

CHENNAI: For Nischinta Amarnath, fondly called as Nish, the journey of authorship began early. She was a student at Stella Maris College when she published her first book The Voyage to Excellence in 2005, which chronicled the success stories of India’s 21 female business leaders. Having worked as a freelance writer and journalist with popular media houses in India and abroad, Nish’s diverse professional, cultural and geographic experiences add depth to her writings. She has also published another non-fiction book titled Citi and its Scuffle with the Watchdogs in 2014. Stepping into fiction writing for the first time, her recently released book Victims for Sale is a crime and psychological thriller, set in London.

Released by Harper Collins last month, Victims for Sale unravels the struggles of a young female journalist who joins hands with the police to unearth a massive sex racket to defend the rights of differently abled women. It was inspired by real incidents that Nish encountered as a journalist. “I spoke to multiple people while working on a potential story. The revelations and discoveries catalysed the birth of this novel,” she says.

Her intent was clear — to combine a strong compelling fictional narrative with a social message. The genre of the book, however, was decided only after the story was finalised. “I wanted to choose a genre that would do justice to the story,” she says. The story is narrated through the main character, Sandy Raman, a South Indian girl, whose father is a priest at the Brihadeeshwar temple, Thanjavur. “Sandy is a small-town girl, who has been thrown into different circumstances and eventually transforms into a confident person,” says Nish.  

And though it took her over 10 years to write the book, Nish says that Sandy’s character has remained the same. Nish laughs, “Yes! This book has been a constant for me for an almost an entire decade!” she shares. Nish started writing the story in 2006, and as she travelled around the world for her education and work — London, Scotland, Mumbai, Chennai, New Delhi, Washington DC, California — the book followed her. “In hindsight, all of the moving around has really informed me as a writer, and contributed directly to this book,” she says, explaining that a lot of research went to the book, which she attributes to her journalistic background.

Commenting on the difference in writing for journalism and fiction, she says, “Journalism is about being factual and accurate, while working within certain contours. But with fiction, you have the freedom to be creative, to create your own world, characters and even control situations!” Nish is now working on two more novels.

The book Victims for Sale  will be launched on February 9 at Odyssey, Adyar at 5.30 pm followed by a discussion with the author. Entry is free for all. For details, call: 9444367633

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