Mala Kumar, the author of The Circumstance of Marriage, was born just outside of Los Angeles, and grew up in the suburbs of Richmond, Virginia. She is now an international development professional who has called New York City home for five years, and has been lucky enough to work in, live in and travel to four continents.
Your real name and pen name?
Real name: Mala Kumar
Pen name: N/A
Please share some of the best memories of your childhood
Playing soccer (football) after a long day at school.
About your education
Grad school in New York City was one of the best times of my life.
What career did you plan during your education days
International development - it came true!
What languages you can speak and write?
I'm a native English speaker and writer. I also speak, read and write French with professional proficiency.
What is your biggest source of inspiration in life
All of the dynamic people I have met over the years.
What hurts you most in this world
The level of abject poverty so many people still face on a daily basis, especially compared to the total wealth of the world.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced? How did you overcome it?
Being who I am where I grew up was very difficult. I'm glad I found my niche.
If you had to live a day of your life as one of the living or dead personality, who would it be and why?
I always wondered what it would like to be a straight white guy, so I guess any famous straight white guy would do - maybe Brad Pitt?
What is your favorite genre and why?
Of books? Anything that is well written does it for me, though of course as of late, I have read quite a few south Asian fiction books that have really inspired me.
When did you start writing? What is the purpose of your writing?
I started a travel blog when I was in grad school - that was my first attempt at public writing. I have also written a lot for previous jobs at the United Nations and other development institutions, which I think really honed my ability to make a point. Given the breadth of my writing, the purpose can range from poverty reduction, to making friends laugh, to anything in between.
Which of your work has been published so far? Would you like to share a synopsis of your work?
I have a lot of writing available to the public. See http://malakumar.com/writing for a few highlights.
What are your forthcoming writings?
I already know what my second book will be. Details to come!
What are your future plans?
In life? Probably refocus on my professional life and dating life. Beyond that, whatever the tides may bring...
How much real life goes into a fiction writing?
It depends. For The Circumstance of Marriage, a lot of the emotions and sentiments are real, but nearly none of the events are true.
Is high level of imagination important to have for an Author?
Yes and no. I think some of the best writing is telling an other mundane scene or story in a new and engaging way. Not all authors need to invent the Sci-Fi world.
Your dream destination on Earth?
I'd love to see east Asia. China is introducing a new high speed rail that will connect the far corners of the country; I'd love to see a country as ecologically diverse by train.
Your origin of birth and other countries you have visited/ stayed. What best things you liked in these countries around the globe?
I was born and raised in the States. I now live in NYC. I've been all over the world - highlights include living in France and West Africa. See my travel blog for more info: http://maladumonde.blogspot.
The last line of your autobiography would be…
"Indeed it was."