Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Straight Chatting from the Library: Mohanalaskshmi Rajakumar

Mohanalaskshmi Rajakumar has stopped by The Library today as part of her virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Mohanalakshmi will be awarding a free ecopy of An Unlikely Goddess to one randomly drawn commenter at every stop, and a Grand Prize of a $50 Amazon GC will be awarded to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


What is the favorite book you remember as a child?

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett is the first book I remember wanting my own copy of because I needed to know how it ended. I think it was 3rd grade or so. In my family we didn’t buy books, we got on the wait list at the local library whenever a new title was out. But this one I managed to persuade my parents to buy a brand new, my own copy of. I read it in about 3 hours.

What is your favorite book today?

Oh goodness. What a difficult question. I was so pleased Alice Munroe won the Nobel Prize for Literature recently; she is a hero of mine and I’ve read almost everything she has ever written.

Tell us about your current book in 10 words.

Sita is looking for love in all the wrong places.

What are you reading right now?

I was reading Slash and Burn by Colin Cotterill; part of a detective series set in Laos with a seventy year old main character. Exactly what I needed while writing my book set in Laos in 1975.

What books do you have on hold at the library?

Well nowadays I order 6 months in advance because we live overseas: I’m waiting to get into Mindy Kaling’s memoir Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? and Lean In. I do like non-fiction to let my mind roam.

Do you have any bad book habits?

Only if reading one than one a time is frowned upon (I know by lots of people it is).

Not by me. I normally have a book in the living room, one in the bedroom, one that stays in the car, and one in the..ahem...reading room. Not to mention the Nook! And, speaking of the Nook, e-Reader or print? and why?

Both. Depends on the book, if I’m traveling, and why I’m reading it. Readers have more options now than ever and I think that’s fantastic.

Dog-ear or bookmark? (don't worry—Librarian Judith won't hold it against you—much)

Both! For those pages that stop your heart, dog-ear. To keep your place as you go, bookmark.

Least favorite book you've read this year?

Charlotte Grey by Sebastian Faulks. Everyone you like dies. Those who survive shouldn’t have.

Favorite book you've read this year?

I did love Alice Munroe’s newest collection Dear Life which was out earlier this year. I do love Junot Diaz as well, This is How You Lose Her was one of the most creative books I’ve ever read. Amazing storytellers, both of them.

When do you do most of your reading?

I try to read at least a chapter a night before going to sleep. If not, a few pages.

Favorite place to read?

In bed! Or a sunny day on the porch.

Favorite genre?

Literary fiction but I have been known to dabble into romance and paranormal. The non-gory suspense can also get me turning pages.

Do you loan your books?

I do because I never read the same book twice; though there have been a few I wish I had back, because the sight of them makes me smile.

Favorite book to recommend?

Depends on the reader really and what type of fiction someone is interested in.

How do you keep your books organized?

I had a spurt this summer and lined them up by author, then the colors of the cover. I’m a Virgo. We love order.

Re-reader or not?

Not, I’m afraid. Too many good ones out there.

What would make you not finish a book?

I’m guilty of finishing to the bitter end. Except Orhan Pamuk. Snow bested me. I surrendered.

Keep books or give them away?

Give away. Especially to libraries, teachers’ lounges, or other places that can use them.


Sita is the firstborn but since she is a female, her birth makes life difficult for her mother who is expected to produce a son. From the start, Sita finds herself in a culture hostile to her, but her irrepressible personality won’t be subdued. Born in India, she immigrants as a toddler to the U.S. with her parents after the birth of her much anticipated younger brother. Her father’s academic ambitions take the family all over the United States, as he chases grant funding at universities in several states. His financial challenges make life at home stressful for Sita, her mother, and younger brother – but the women of the family bear the brunt of his frustrations – both physically and emotionally. Hers is a South Indian family, from Tamil Nadu, one of the most conservative states in the subcontinent.


Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar 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 a baby, and made the transition from writing as a hobby to a full time passion. She has since published seven e-books including a mom-ior 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 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 or follow her latest on Twitter: @moha_doha.

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  1. Great interview! I loved the personal anecdotes, but *not* a re-reader?? I think, besides my sister, you are the only one I've ever heard of, lol. Thanks for sharing.

    ilookfamous at yahoo dot com

  2. It's the last day of your tour and I have to say, I enjoyed meeting you and following you around these past weeks. Your book sounds good and it's on my books-to-buy list.

    kareninnc at gmail dot com

  3. A great 10 words. It has been a fantastic tour thank you.