After Hours: A marketing consultant's story

Meet Seema Punwani, a partner at global consultancy R3, and also the author of fiction book Cross Connection. Guided by her love for storytelling, Punwani (pictured) first discovered her passion for writing approximately 10 years ago, with the simple act of blogging. Fast forward to today, Punwani is now a published fiction author, who also manages a day job working as a pitch consultant for some of the biggest brands.

Amidst the hectic nature of her job, writing a book wasn't easy, Punwani admits. Her title Cross Connection took almost two years complete, and an additional two years to publish. Besides being a consultant for the marketing industry and an author, Punwani had to also balance her time as a mother, and a student at LASALLE College of the Arts where she was taking a Masters in creative writing.

She, however, wasn't daunted by the task at hand and negated the pressure of juggling by being laser-focused on priorities. What was however challenging was to put herself in both the female and male protagonists’ shoes given men and women can look at the same situations with a different lens.  “It can seem a lot, but actually if you just manage your time, and if you're following what you really want to do, then it is all possible,” she said, adding that people should not be afraid to overlap different aspects of their lives.

As long as their motivations are right and their passion is there, everything is possible, she explains. 

Cross Connection started out as an innate need to tell a story, and Punwani was inspired by the notion of having second chances in life. “I realised that I really enjoyed that experience of sharing my story, or sharing something I’ve heard about, or sharing someone else’s experience and giving a point of view,” she said. 

The book features characters Sama and Zehn, who find their way back to each other after a long time of being apart. Besides romance, the book also deals with sensitive topics such as depression and divorce.

“All of us go through some dark phases in life, and I wanted the story to be a source of motivation that shows you can go through tough times, and still emerge on the other side. You can have that second chance that you need and deserve,” Punwani said. She added that through Cross Connection, she hopes that readers would see that it is never too late to start something they are passionate about.

Another interesting perspective that Punwani said she developed while writing the book is to see the world through another's eyes. For example, through this journey she realised that the role of an urban man today is by no means easy. As compared to men of previous generations where they are mostly responsible for earning money and putting food on the table, men now have to play much more prominent roles in the family. 

Currently, Punwani is finding time to write her second book, which is based on her own point of view of life in Singapore as an expat.


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