Sunday, April 13, 2014

Author Interview: Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar: An Unlikely Goddess: SheWrites New Novelist 2011 Winner

She is a South Asian American who has lived in Qatar since 2005. Moving to the Arabian Desert was fortuitous in many ways since this is where she met her husband, had two sons, and became a writer.  She has since published eight e-books, including a memoir for first time mothers, Mommy But Still Me; a guide for aspiring writers, So You Want to Sell a Million Copies; a short story collection, Coloured and Other Stories; and a novel about women’s friendships, Saving Peace.


Her coming of age novel, An Unlikely Goddess, won the SheWrites New Novelist competition in 2011.

Her recent books have focused on various aspects of life in Qatar. From Dunes to Dior, named as a Best Indie book in 2013, is a collection of essays related to her experiences as a female South Asian American living in the Arabian Gulf. Love Comes Later was the winner of the Best Indie Book Award for Romance in 2013 and is a literary romance set in Qatar and London. The Dohmestics is an inside look into compound life, the day-to-day dynamics between housemaids and their employers.


After she joined the e-book revolution, Mohana dreams in plotlines. Learn more about her work on her website at www.mohanalakshmi.com or follow her latest on Twitter: @moha_doha.


Welcome Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar!

Your real name and pen name?
They’re one and the same: Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar

Please share some of the best memories of your childhood
Having jet lag at the age of 5 was surreal; I was the only one awake in the house and didn’t know why I couldn’t fall asleep.

About your education:
I have a PhD in English Literature and love teaching university students.

What career did you plan during your education days?
I always wanted to travel and meet people when I was younger but I wasn’t sure how I would get there.

What languages you can speak and write?
I can speak English, Spanish, some Tamil and Arabic. English is the only language I can write.

What is your biggest source of inspiration in life?
Everything I see around me raises questions about people and why they behave the way they do; how will traditional people decide how to live in the modern world? What makes a woman leave her baby to find personal happiness?

What hurts you most in this world?
The abuse of the most defenseless – women, children, the elderly – I despise those who prey on the weak; it’s an abuse of power.

When did you start writing? What is the purpose of your writing?
In 2000, I wrote my first short story in a Masters creative writing class. I write to explore ideas or questions that keep persisting.

What are your forthcoming writings?
I’m working on a novel set in 1975 Laos that follows the journey of one couple as they flee the conflict to immigrant life in the United States.

What are your future plans?
I have a sequel planned for my novel set in Qatar, Love Comes Later and am working on the paperback version of The Dohmestics for release this June.

Your dream destination on Earth?
Australia has been on my list since 2009.

Your favorite time of the day?
I am a morning person. I love the time before the rest of the members of a household wake up.

Your zodiac/ sunsign?
Virgo.

Your favorite color and why?
Red because it’s full of a passion for life.

Your favorite celebrity and why?
Oprah Winfrey – she has inspired and empowered so many women.

Some quickies: Sun or Moon, Laughter or Smile, Morning or Evening, Coffee or Tea, Mountain or Sea, Long Drive or Short Drive, Silence or Conversation, Water or Fire, Air or Earth, Mars or Jupiter, Tulip or Rose, Red or Blue, Left or Right, Glance or Stare.

State your signature line/ tagline/ best quote
Mother. Scholar. Wife. Doing it all but not all at the same time.

The last line of your autobiography would be…
The best is yet to come.


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