Saturday, July 21, 2012

Featured Author: Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar

This week I'm pleased to feature author Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar and share a giveaway sponsored by The Indie Exchange. Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar is a writer who has lived in Qatar since 2005. She has a PhD from the University of Florida with a focus on gender and postcolonial theory. Her dissertation project was published as Haram in the Harem (Peter Lang, 2009) a literary analysis of the works of three Muslim women authors in India, Algeria, and Pakistan. She is the creator and co-editor of five books in the Qatar Narratives series, as well as the Qatari Voices anthology which features essays by Qataris on modern life in Doha (Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing, 2010). Her research has been published in numerous journals and anthologies.

She was the Associate Editor of Vox, a fashion and lifestyle magazine based in Doha and a winner of the She Writes We Love New Novelists competition. She has been a regular contributor for Variety Arabia, AudioFile Magazine, Explore Qatar, Woman Today, The Woman, Writers and Artists Yearbook, QatarClick, Expat Arrivals, Speak Without Interruption and Qatar Explorer. She hosted two seasons of the Cover to Cover book show on Qatar Foundation Radio.

Currently Mohana is working on a collection of essays related to her experiences as a female South Asian American living in the Arabian Gulf and a novel based in Qatar. She believes words can help us understand ourselves and others. Catch up on her latest via her blog or follow her on Twitter @moha_doha.

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Book Blurb:
Hind is granted a temporary reprieve from her impending marriage to Abdulla, her cousin. Little does anyone suspect that the presence of Sangita, her Indian roommate, may shake a carefully constructed future. Torn between loyalties to Hind and a growing attraction to Abdulla, Sangita must choose between friendship and a burgeoning love.

A modern quest for the right to pursue love and happiness, even when it comes in an unconventional package, LOVE COMES LATER explores similarities between the South Asian and Arab cultures while exposing how cultural expectations affect both men and women. Identities are tested and boundaries questioned against the shifting backdrops of Doha, Qatar and London, England.

Book Blurb:
Thirty years intervene in the friendships begun at the all female Peace College. Sib, the local news anchor with dreams of going national. Mary Beth, the capable, restless mother of three. Kim, the college president who admits male students. Saving Peace is the story of promises made and broken, love found then lost, and redemption sought for the past. Three women. Two choices. One campus.

Book Blurb:
What's it like being the ant in the ice cream? The characters in this short story collection will show you; experience life as they know it as transplants from across the world into American suburbia.

Adapted from real life anecdotes both her own and those of others, Mohana takes us into the world of the South Asian immigrant living the American Dream. Think of her as a cultural translator for those who you may not notice otherwise, living in the margins of our cities. "What are a few inches when you know he will provide for you the rest of your life," her mother would have said, smacking her in the cheek. The sight of his feet, white, broad toes, and clean, short-clipped nails startled her. Americans normally wore their shoes everywhere; they had special shoes to wear inside their houses, shoes specifically for their bedrooms.

Book Blurb:
Called everything from the world's richest to fattest nation, Qatar has been on the breakneck path towards change for several decades. The capital city Doha, is where our family of three has lived since 2005.

FROM DUNES TO DIOR is not the stuff of newspaper headlines (they made their money from oil! Thirty years ago everyone was living in tents!) but real life stories about being a South Asian American who lives here (no, I don't have to cover my hair, and yes, I can drive).

I had no idea that living the life of my dreams (including a husband and precious baby) would coincide with the rapid development of one the smallest and safest countries in the world, an oasis of calm smack dab in the global hotspot of the Middle East.

Book Blurb:
You're trying to write a book; and you're not the next Shakespeare - not yet, anyway. You could be. But no one will ever know if you don't get those marvelous words out on the page (or screen). In easy to do, daily steps and exercises, Mohana breaks down the steps of getting started as a creative writer. From getting past writer's block (excuse of the weak!) to putting that blog to work (every body's got one), the tools of the trade are revealed.

If you've had a story idea in your head for a day, year, (or longer) that it doesn't seem to be writing itself, you may want to take a closer look at this book. Designed as a concise guide for aspiring writers, you'll find here the key principles of how to get started, keep going, and finish a manuscript, all told by a fellow accidental writer who took the long way developing a writer's formula.

Book Blurb:
Imagine a man volunteering to trade in his game nights for heart burn and back ache. Good thing there are women around to ensure the survival of the species. This hilarious look at the journey from high heels to high blood pressure, as a jet setter turns into a bed wetter, is what your doctor won't tell you and your own mother may have forgotten in the years since she was blessed by your arrival.

At our first meeting my future father-in-law waited until we sat down in the Thai restaurant, the oblong menus placed in our hands and the waiter was a distance away, tending to other diners, before turning towards me, his eyes glowing. This was the first time we were all seeing each other after his son had proposed to me. "When will I get to hold my first grandchild?"

For my father-in-law and everyone else, I have a question of my own: When will any of you be satisfied?

Note: All opinions provided on this blog are my own. If a product was given to me for review, the source of that product is noted in the post. Bookstore links are generally affiliate links and I do earn a small amount for each purchase. Other affiliate links will be noted in the post.